In 1995, the Chinese government officially introduced the first three Hollywood films ever picked up for distribution: True Lies, Forrest Gump and The Lion King. Seeing movies that had nothing to do with war, with defending the country rattled me in all the right ways. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Hanks became my childhood heroes. I started to care about movies from then on. But never did the thought cross my mind that one day I would be involved in the making of a movie.
A friend I met at the university spent his days watching only art-house pirated movies he downloaded onto his computer. That’s when I came to know Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Luc Godard, Frederico Fellini; Terence Malick, Gus Van Sant, David Lynch. Their movies, and movies of many more directors since then helped me dip my toe in the filmmaking water.
I bought a camera on my first month's salary of my first job, and by one week’s time, was proficient in using it. I started shooting stories with my friends – John Cassavetes-style. But discovered that I what I loved most was editing the footage, shaping a story out of it in the editing process.
Of course, I follow my directors’ leads, and cajole them into viewing alternative cuts when appropriate, as all good editors should do. But I also continually test myself to tell a story in ways that radically differ from one another – a far cry from what I ever could have imagined doing in China