The director Yiwen Cao is a young female filmmaker, who wants to give people mental power from her films. She is good at using suspense plots and real scenes to let audience feel what the main role suffers in films.
Besides, she is very warm hearted and amiable. Though some people may not recognize her gender by judging her appearance at first glance, she is willing to use this feature in movies to show people gender is not a big deal. The essence of human being is the same.
A Chinese young female awards winning filmmaker, is known for Chubby Café (2019), Dao Meng Mei Ying (2018) and Astrall Story(International Cooperation). Became the cover person of magazine Filmmaker Life(August,2022). This is her first time to be a director.
Your project takes a part in our festival. What is your project about?
Invader and Defender is a one-take animal short documentary. It seems like a story that onlyhappened between two pigeons. But some people think pigeons also represent human:
A wanderer intrudes, a defender hates.
Food is enough, but can't take away.
Fighting is on certain, winner you don't say.
Around and around, nothing indeed stays.
What were your requirements for actors to take a part of your film?
It’s a totally impromptu performance of nature: directed by earth, acted by two pigeons, just recorded by me. I am just lucky enough to watch the scene and introduce it to people.
How did you communicate with the cameraman?
As the camerawoman, I was afraid to bother these two lovely actors. I was so indulged in their performance and tried my best to keep quiet. For me: doing nothing is the best thing. I totally respect these two pigeons and appreciate what they perform. In my film, they have 100% freedom of performance.
What locations did you choose for your project? And why?
It is on the balcony of my home. A friend of my father gave us 8 pigeons and we wanted to set them free. But the white pigeon refused to go. So, we fed it on the balcony. Then a wild grey pigeon came to steal the white pigeon’s food. The white pigeon fought with it immediately. Thus, their little war made the one-take short documentary Invader and Defender.
Though it is just a short animal documentary. But it has sufficient dramatic conflicts. The grey wild pigeon is an invader. And the white pigeon is a defender. The two actors acted their roles very well. Besides, the plots are not boring. There are at least three twists in the short. You can see these two pigeons are not only brave, but also have intelligent quotient, even strategies. What’s more, it is a one-take animal documentary. Unlike most of animal documentaries, animals only show you their daily lives. This short has plots. You can find many common traits between pigeons and human. That’s very rare. And only can directed by nature.
The short animal documentary wrote and directed by nature. People can do nothing but record it. Thus, I want to show audiences some aspects of animals that people may not know, like they have strategies. To let people realize that animals also have feelings and intelligent quotient. And the nature is powerful. Human beings should respect nature and live with animals peaceful.
At what festivals have you had success? Has the film already premiered? If so, where?
Since I like Invader and Defender so much, I will not screen it casually. I will select festivals for it carefully. And in this way, I will not disappoint two pigeons actors.
To encourage people, especially women to get well educated and be independent. Nowadays, there are too many people suffer from mental illness. I want to heal people and give them positive power. I believe that we can make the world be much more beautiful.
Which movies are your favorites? And why?
Maybe will be my next movie Awaken. Some people think it is feminism. But I just want to show a world that men and women both be happy and equal. I hope it will encourage many people.
What topics do you like to deal with in your work?
I would like to talk about healing. Because I want audiences to benefit from my films. The best way to face problems is never avoiding. I will screen some common pains of modern people. And show the world how could we overcome them and be really positive.
What genre do you like to shoot and why?
Feminism, suspense and comedy. I often mix these elements up.
I have planned 5 years for my next film Awaken. It shows some pains of gender unequal. But I will use a brand-new way. Unlike other films, they only pour difficulties and pains to audiences. I will show audiences an extreme society and then offer a solution. I want to heal people by offering solutions, not only describe pains.
How has COVID affected your film life?
Yes. Actually, we planned to shoot the next film Awaken in 2022, but COVID changed everything. But there is an old saying in China: Misfortune might be a blessing in disguise. We will keep improving our project and show the world aunique perspective.
What do you do if you're not thinking about a movie? What are your hobbies?
I like reading Chinese ancient books, like traditional philosophy and Chinese medicine. Though sometimes I am not thinking about films, I still keep trying to heal people in my way.
The feminism film Awake. I believe that people, especially women will get positive energy from it. Hope audience will like it!