Luc Ke Lu

Motion Pictures & Television / MFA

I was born in a typical Chinese family, who influenced me to become a typical Chinese boy - introverted and obedient. But inside lived a boy with a fount of creativity and imagination. Drawing was the means to express them, as well as my buttoned-up feeling. Drawing was my connection to the arts. That connection was unbreakable.

When we moved to Shanghai in 2003, we eased into a better life, But the ties to the town we all grew up in was suddenly gone. A part of my parents and I died. But that loss was short-lived. In college I discovered hip-hop dance. It introduced me to yet another powerful way to express myself. The freedom and passion I felt was intoxicating. I practiced and trained like an athlete, and began competing in events. I loved the community of hip-hop dancers. It gave me a sense of belonging.

In late 2013, I had the chance to sign on as one of the producers for a stage play, The Devotion of Suspect X, which was adapted from a Japanese novel. I took on the roles of marketing, and set design, in addition to producing. I felt a rush of unprecedented satisfaction after we finished the six-day run. In that first blush of accomplishment, I decided I needed to further explore my creativity. I thought directing would best do that. But that required schooling. One year later, I slipped into my window seat on a plane bound for San Francisco, where I began the next chapter of my life.

That journey led me to direct my short film, Boogie. The story is about a talented dancer who loses his soul in his quest to vanquish his foe and win the ultimate dance title. I know what it's like to lose a part of me, to lose my way, when competing for the brass ring. I think everyone can relate to the singular pursuit to be the winner of something that matters. And everyone can relate to figuring out how to find the way back to who you really are.

Boogie Rage took a long time to make. There were many bumps along the road. But the end result was well worth it. The acclaim I gained by winning the awards for Best Director and Best Short Film awards at the NXTUP fest validated my determination to express myself visually using my own distinct film language and vocabulary. Just like dancing, in making this film, I found my highest form of expression.

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