Yixuan Tu

INDEPENDENT SCREENWRITER & DIRECTOR

Your project takes a part in our festival. What is your project about?
My project SUMMER WILL BE LONG tells a story about a man who struggles with love and morality. A man has a secret love with his landlord, a simple but elegant woman. When he finds out that her daughter is working in pornography, he is in a moral dilemma. He wants to do something, to persuade the daughter, or just keep the secret. But he doesn't know in where to stand and how to deal with the matter, because his job is also not such glorious.

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What were your requirements for actors to take a part of your film?
I think in my films it is more important for the actor to fit the character better in terms of appearance and temperament than the actor's acting skills. Skills can be learned, the fitness of of appearance and temperament decides manything. I can tolerate actors being less professional in their technique, because I believe that once I put the actors who fit the characters' appearance and temperament will in the right scene, I would already success in half. At least people will believe it visually. So, to me, the No.1 requirement for actors is "similar to the character". Then actors needs to understand the character, know his or her past life. Know the character, understand the character, then be the character.

How did you communicate with the cameraman?
In my experience, I am a very controlling director. I just tell the cameraman what to shot and how to film, including the composition of the picture and the way the camera moves. As a personal style, I am more restrained in the movement of the camera and the use of montage, preferring long lenses with fixed angles or single motion trajectories. So rather than communicate creative ideas with me, I prefer the cameraman to execute my instructions directly.

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What locations did you choose for your project? And why?
We filmed our project in Chengdu, Sichuan Province in China. The main reason is lack of funds, and we can only afford to film in where we live and work. I think Chongqing or Hong Kong is a better choice, because there is more population density and more older high-rise buildings in those cities, which can bring the sence of oppression and powerlessness.

Why should distributors buy your film?
I didn't think much about this question because it wasn't a commercial project. This is just a very low budget short film for the purpose of self-expression, which contains my perspective and attitude towards life, and I have gained some spiritual healing in the process of creating it.

What expression elements did you use in your project? How would you characterize your work?
I think it's worth mentioning the clock as an image in the film. When the protagonist discovers that the girl is engaged in pornography, the landlord's clock is broken. The protagonist help the landlord fix the clock of his own accord, which also implies that he wants to mend the lives of the three of them. Later, the troubled protagonist discovers that he is not qualified to repair the lives of others and also has no way to fix the clock, so he breaks it. But coincidentally, with a huge impact, the second hand continues to walk. This seems to imply that the protagonist should use violence to solve some problem, but actually what I'm trying to say is that life goes on no matter what.

At what festivals have you had success? Has the film already premiered? If so, where?
To myself, I already won in some film festivals, such as Honorable Mention: Indie Short Film in Paris Film Awards; Best Student Film in Naples Film Awards; Best Indie Filmmaker in Festigious International Film Festival and so on. About this film, it already won the Best Director-Short Film in Portugal Indie Film Festival, and also be selected in Hong Kong Indie Film Festival, Berlin Indie Film Festival, Edinburg Film Awards. They are still in consideration, so it is not premiered yet.

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What motivated you to become a filmmaker?
I have a strong willing about self-expression, and have passion about stories since I was a kid. I think story is the most important concept in human civilization´╝îstory tells people how to live life. And film is a good way to tell stories.

Which movies are your favorites? And why?
Ran, directed by Kurosawa Akira. It is a film based on King Lear, but the film is an Oriental adaptation of the original. I think this film expresses the tragic and grand propositions of ancient Greece in an Oriental way. A story about the fall of the man with power, I think this theme is about all humanity, not only local culture.

What topics do you like to deal with in your work?
As a screenwriter and director, I'd like discuss the Dilemma about human emotion and morality in my film, or show how a person accept his or her life and move on.

What genre do you like to shoot and why?
Drama. It helps me to show problems more seriously and tell stories in a way that is closer to real life without being distracted by other genre elements.

What project would you like to shoot one day, what would it be about?
Maybe I would shoot a Science Fiction film about a man and his augmentor. A robot looks exactly same as the man, helps the man to deal with something the man doesn't want to do by himself. They fall in love with the same girl. I want to discuss the impact of science and technology, especially information technology, on human emotions.

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How has COVID affected your film life?
Due to the impact of COVID-19, some of my film projects have been forced to be abandoned because it is very difficult to produce independent films under strict control measures, and reserved personnel and venues would be cancelled at any time by community. We had to compromise on projects that could still be moved forward, including production costs and shooting cycles. This caused the quality of these film projects to suffer severely, and some of them looked rough, even though the scripts were good.

What do you do if you're not thinking about a movie? What are your hobbies?
Maybe I would become a novelist, or creating manga. As I said, I have great passion in stories, and film is just one way to tell story, there are still other ways to tell story. Although I love film the most among those ways.

What projects do you plan to shoot in the future?
I will still try to make some low-budget drama short films around the themes I talked about earlier, which are the emotional and moral dilemmas of human beings. I think it's a very meaningful way for me to record my thoughts and life. In fact, I still have several short film projects in the pipeline, some of which are about young people's resistance to social reality and then compromise, some of which are pure Eastern love stories.