Carrying a taboo film, she has been trapped with unimaginable difficulties.
However, she persists carrying on in order to illuminate the public that love has no boundary in terms of gender.
Interview about the short film which features in the Lesbian Group and makes a great coup in several world-class film festivals.
A Women’s Gaze
And the story of Story Chen, the screenwriter and director of the film.
Discusses the international and domestic altitude towards lesbian group
A Woman’s Gaze is a film that features the love between two females. Telling the story between the two antagonists Sara and Cici, this film truly presents the bitterness they suffer when they get on with each other secretly. In order to demonstrate the social pressure and the disrespect that the homosexual group endures in the current society, the film aim to trigger the public’s reflection on this topic.
As soon as the film was released, it immediately won internationally wide attention and recognition. As an unknown new “dark horse”, the film not only was selected into Festival de Cannes Short Film Corner, Tokyo Lift-Off Film Festival and Washington LGBT Film Festival, but also won the Best Short Film Award in the Hollywood International Film Festival LGBT Competition unit.
As the screenwriter and director, Story is a senior year student majoring in Film and television in Tisch School of the Arts of New York University. Even though she is still a college student, she’s quite an early bird. In 2013, she entered the film market of Palm Springs International Film Festival with the film . In 2015, she took part in the shooting process of the popular Chinese film . In 2016, she directed the music video for Chinese popular singer Chen Hong and Yingrong Jiang. She stands out among all the other new talents in the field of film with such fantasy experiences.
Right now she enters the International Film Festival with her latest work, enhancing her artistic effect in the film market. However, from her perspective, what truly encourages her is the acknowledgement and the recognition that she attained for the particular topic of lesbian, neutralizing her disappointment that the film is almost neglected in the domestic film market due to the sensitivity of this topic.
As a new hand, you barely have chance to accomplish a film for yourself. Under such circumstances, why do you choose Lesbian as the topic of the film?
Due to the fact that she is working in a field where lesbian is common, Story has made friends with a lot of lesbians. Driven by her curiosity, Story tries to explore and understand those people’s thoughts, values, behaviors and the different social pressure they are suffering.
Story finds that the relationship between lesbians is not as secret and sweet as it is imagined by the public. Their love is always being subjected, despised and is considered to be abnormal. These social pressures warp their love and make it extremely hard to carry on. Story hopes that she can use this film to truly represent their pain and provide them with the courage of loving others and being loved, thus offering the public an opportunity to reflect on this topic.
What kind of dilemma did you go through during the shooting and the post-production?
The overwhelming difficulty of making a film is commonly known. As a new hand, Story faced tremendous challenges and barriers.
As conscientious as Story is, she conducted casting more than ten times. During the post-production, she also had to communicate deliberately with the actors and actresses. At that time, she still had classes to take in college. Going back and forth between taking classes and shooting, she was really exhausted.
In terms of preparation, Story released that many crew members hardly did anything so she had to prepare for the film herself in terms of recruiting crew members and purchasing props. She recalled one of the shooting experience that she has deep impression on. At that time, the trunk used by the crew had to be returned. However, she got the trunk station only to find that it had already been closed. She had to thus sacrifice her sleeping time and communicate with the stuff while she had to get up at six to shoot in the morning next day.
Commonly, things changes a lot during the shooting process. Sometimes, Story got noticed in the last-minute that the main actresses were absent. She was stressed out but still had to delay the shooting process by rearranging the entire shooting plan which lost her a lot of cost.
Probably because of the sense of mission that underpins everything she does, she becomes stronger in the suffering. When talking about the night which is the deadline of Cannes Film Festival, she describe that as “heart-stirring”. “I could only make it by spending the whole night doing post editing and then going back to school to upload the film at 5am in the next morning
Not until Story knew that the film has entered the film festival did she considered her effort was paid back. However, she did not recognize that the truly overwhelming difficulty was still waiting for her.
Did you ever predict how would the international and domestic film markets react to the film?
The film with such topic are pretty common in the international film market. The audiences are open-minded. That was probably the reason why the film successfully entered the international film festival.
However, the domestic film market is totally different. The fact is that the film was prohibited from running. Story states that she already expected that but she did not realize that the real situation was even more miserable than she previously expected. Several issuing company that she has connected with spoke as one-the subject of this film is prohibited. The film was put on ice. Even the music video of the film did not pass the examination.
Story was so disappointed that she did not expect this film could run in the public theatre any more. However, every time she reminded of the effort that her group and herself put in the film, she felt like she could not resigned to the current condition.
Since you have already predicted the outcome, why do you still insist on making that film？
Actually, the domestic audience are getting more and more open-minded. Many people feel empathy for the love between lesbian and are curious about that. What they need is an approach to get access to this particular group of people in such an isolated environment.
What is more, Story considers this film as her own mission to make the public reflect. The risk of being shut down will not stop Story. She is an artist characterized by her courage and persistence.
Carrying the mission of representing the entire LGBT group, Story persisted on running the film on the screen. Finally, her effort has been paid back.
Story releases that a stuff of a domestic film festival reached her. He told her that her film had already been sent to the film committee and received unanimous praise. Even though her film failed to enter the film festival because of the sensitive theme, the committee gave the film a direct recognition: “the high-quality of this film will undoubtedly win it a prize if it does not touch on this particular theme”. The Hollywood SINOVSION came up with the similar assessment. Even though the film failed to run in the domestic movie theatre, such praise and commend gave Story as well as the entire LGBT group hope.
The film has received a large amount of donation both publicly and anonymously from different people in the society. Story points out that the money is not as important as the courage and the hope that provide for the entire LGBT group.
h o w e v e r
Things is looking up
This prohibited film featuring in Lesbian
After the struggling
Finally come onto the stage
The film has been publicized
On August 25th, 2016
A Women`s Gaze by Story Chen
As an innovator
Will be running in SOHU