Please tell us about your background. Which one of your works is Blue Delusion?
Guan Fang: Director, choreographer, graduated from Beijing Dance Academy majoring in choreography.
Yu Jiayue: Director, choreographer, graduated from Beijing Dance Academy majoring in choreography.
As partners, we have been devoted into the creation of stage works, in a very real sense, Blue Delusion is the first dancing filmlet that we created and recorded.
How did you become interested in filmmaking and how did you learn this art?
We are good at dancing, but relatively unfamiliar to the film creation. Excellent short films can always attract our eyes, catching us into the dramatic bodies, performance or visual sense of film texture. A wish in our heart likes a bud, driving us to make a dance film, expressing dance with the format of film, telling a story with bodies in our way ...
For this art, we feel difficult in learning and mastering the operative techniques, such as the on-site design and operation of photographic equipment and lighting equipment. To make up this gap, we will spend the spare time to watch learn course videos, to make practice and try on some researches…
How long did it take to make Blue Delusion and what difficulties did you have during its production? Was pre-production basically important in your work or did you base your work upon improvisation on the set?
The whole work cost us almost three months of odd hours from preparation to final complete. As we are the independent creator, our team cannot take out regular time to record, for this reason, the time of each scene recording is determined after our discussion and agreement, including the later on editor production, almost occupied all of our times beside the working time.
In the whole production process, we mainly feel difficulties on the operation of on-site equipments and the techniques on later on production, because this is our first creation.
About half of the work Blue Delusion was actually improvised on site. For us, the early preparation and on-site improvisation are both of our main working ways. In early period, we will spend lots of time and energy to explore, seek, and make sure the style, recording plan, levels and paragraphs, recording places and the props, types, directions and dancing sections. But at the same moment, we will also leave some spaces and blanks for improvisation, quickly catching the relationship between characters and scenes depending on the site, layout and status of actors, striving for the “extreme creation” .
Your film has a variety of visual compositions and is visually appealing. How much has been planned for these frames in advance and in coordination with the cinematographer? And to what extent is it the product of ideas on the set? Basically, do you go on stage with a fully prepared plan or do you always leave room for flexibility?
Part of visual effect in the movie including the recording angles was mostly pre-designed before we enter the site. We discussed the plan with the photographer, but on site we might find new surprising and feel the different mood in recording with what we planned. So even though we had fully made schemes and recording plan, we still kept enough space for us and the photographer on improvisation and design. As we also participated in recording, the whole creation and recording process became more flexible and casual.
Is it harder to make a dance film than a narrative short film, especially since we are all dealing with images and music here, and since the filmmaker's hands are tied for characterization?
I am not sure if the dancing film recording is more difficult than the narrative short film, but the difficulties of dancing film recording lie in the difference expression method between the body language and film lines. The body language of dancing is relatively hard to directly deliver an exact affair and the relevant literal contents. Sometimes, it likes a abstract picture, needs some imagination to enable the audiences to understand the contents the film wants to deliver, especially some details. The portrayal of characters is great challenge, meaning a test to the director on how to embody the background, character and inner heart. However, this is also an advantage of the dancing film as it provides more spaces on imagination.
Tell us about the reception and reaction of the people and film festivals to Blue Delusion. What did people think and how did the critics evaluate your film?
Blue Delusion has not been publicized, only shared to some of our friends, but has received their sound feedback. They all like the dramatic components and visual format conception and share the movie review with us. These feedbacks almost cater to what we want to deliver and are added with their own life experiences and thinking, really exciting us. To tell a good news, we have won over 10 awards on the movie festival and about 30 of our other items are joining the appraisal. We appreciate very much for the recognition which is the confirmation to our contribution and great encouragement. For the film review, we really expect to receive the professional judgment from the movie critics after the filmlet release.
What are the toughest aspects of making a film today?
We believe it is how to get rid of the existing movie type template, as most of movie production has lost in the repeated circling of the already existed types, hard to find unique image expression method. But in fact, for any creation that is related with arts, the creativity is always the hardest problem to be breakthrough. Of course, for our independent creators, the fund is big problem, no matter the rent of places and equipments, the grouping and invitation of creation team, all is a great expenditure. We do want to seek the best, most of time we feel helpless, all of our expenditures of creation come from our daily deposit, but our conditions are limited. We hope to create excellent works, but at the same time, we expect to get the support from some platforms or projects. This is what we require and hope.
How do you choose your star cast?
For the formation of the creative team, we first require every team member to have enough passion and love for dance and movies. Besides, we hope that they have unique temperament in their respective fields. Besides, they must be very responsible, kind, conscientious with sense of community, because we always believe that only such a group can collide and create more surprises together.
Who is your favorite actor among the current lot?
Guan Fang: I like Al Pacino best. His eyes always touch my heart.
Yu Jiayue: My favorite actor is Aamir Khan. Every role he created touched me. I teared for him for numerous times because I felt the sincerity and purity. It was very precious to me and deeply touched me.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting a career in filmmaking?
As young filmmakers, I hope that we are sincere, confident, creative and adventurous enough in our creations, and unique taste. We will not be influenced by the news (trends), and confirm our creative ideas.
Do you think that these days writers get their due?
Actually, I think the writer is lucky at present, at least he can create, and the limitations of creation are getting smaller and smaller. Successful writers have created their value, got partial treatment that is relatively free creative space, respect and sufficient creative funds. Young writers are still trying to create their own artistic value. Of course, no one can struggle with capital, but at least we are lucky.
In your view, what is the most important quality of a film director?
We shall have unique taste. I think this is an important reason to determine the artistic temperament of movies.
How do you think the industry is changing?
At present, the presentation forms of films have become more and more diversified, especially in the creation of filmlets. We have seen various visual films with fresh experience, such as dance, technology, VR technology, etc. However, from another side, the films are increasingly seeking after interests, but the films that can really struck people's souls is becoming rare. This seems to be an unavoidable problem.
What projects are you working on next?
We are preparing for the next work, which is a stage work about one hour. Here, we will explore what we have long focused on, hoping that this will be a very creative start, and at the same time, we are preparing for the next dance film, and these two are parallel. This dance film, we hope it will continue to be experimental, adding more wonderful audio-visual elements, and expect and challenge to complete it.