Youth Film Salon│Behind young directors is the future of the industry
The “Youth Film Salon” exchange activity of this year's Shanghai International Film Festival was held in Daning Conference Center this afternoon. Diao Yinan, Xu Zheng, Li Shaohong, Huang Bo, Song Jia, Liang Jing and Lyu Xingchen, chairmen of the jury of SIFF Project, were present at the scene of the exchange. The dialogue activities included two sessions: “Chairman Forum: Film Festival, SIFF Project, Young Directors” and “Actor Forum: Actors and Newcomers”, at which all guests discussed the cultivation and growth of young filmmakers from different perspectives. The experience of the predecessors has greatly benefited the newcomers.
A good executive producer can get twice the result with half the effort
Xu Zheng agrees with this very much. He thinks that there are always a lot of problems in the process of making films, “A new director is in great need of the help of an executive producer. The whole process of a film from the pre-development to the post-distribution is actually a very long chain, and it is impossible for the new director to control every link. For a young director, he/she is in great need of an executive producer who both knows the production process and understands his/her artistic pursuits.”
Huang Bo, an actor and director, has also been an executive producer of film in recent years. The “HB+U” new director assistance program launched by him aims to provide high-quality platform and resources for excellent young directors. The film “Back to the Wharf” launched by this program has successfully been selected into the official film list of this year's SIFF Golden Goblet Awards. Talking about why young directors should be supported, Huang Bo said: “It is because to support a young director is to support a group of young filmmakers. Behind every young director is a group of young filmmakers who follow him. They may be photographers, artists and so on, such as Ning Hao of those years, who will gradually become the mainstay of the industry. Therefore, in some sense, the support to young directors is particularly valuable.”
However, faced with some new directors' eagerness for quick success and instant benefits, the predecessors also gave advice. Xu Zheng said straightforward that many young people are not qualified to be a director. He himself has gone through a very long process from a stage actor to a director, and has experienced a lot of tempering and testing. He said that he often met some young people who wanted to be a director after writing a few scripts and was not willing to let others film his scripts, “But as a director, he didn't spend enough time on the scene. He didn't even know how to coordinate the work in each department on scene.”
Besides advice, there was also encouragement. Diao Yinan said that film newcomers will inevitably experience a lot of setbacks, “Most of the young directors are in a state of anxiety and frustration, for there are only a few winners for each award after all. I also often go through these moments by myself. Take these setbacks as encouragement.” As the chairman of the jury of this year's SIFF Project, Diao Yinan also said that there were too many excellent works, but he had to give them up reluctantly in the end. “I think SIFF Project may be the number one among all venture capital programs of film festivals in the world because it has too many candidate projects. For other similar programs, there are 20 projects at most that I have seen. We have read 40 scripts these days, so some of them were read in a hurry. When we interacted with the director on stage, we sometimes felt unsure. But we have made careful assessments on the major units. The project quality of this session is very high. A lot of things can't be given up as a result.” He said that SIFF Project also provides young directors with an opportunity to learn about the future film market, “In addition to the directors' desire to get investment here for their works and pursuit of success, what's more important is that young people have a platform and space for exchange of ideas.”
Huang Bo also said that if film is a palace, then the SIFF PROJECT is the first door, “Whether you can open it, whether you can make it echo and let people behind it hear is a very important step for young creators.”
Touch the actors before touch the audience
In the second forum “Actor Forum: Actors and Newcomers", actors Song Jia, Lyu Xingchen and Liang Jing shared their own experiences of cooperation with young directors. Liang Jing believes that the choice of cooperation with young directors is naturally based on his talent instead of his fame or experience. “So if you choose a young director, you have to choose to trust him and give him all your experience. It's important to help each other. When he/she is inexperienced on scene, we actors need to feed him/her back with our own experience.”
Song Jia gave advice to young directors, “Your creation must be something you really want to express in your mind. No matter big or small, as long as it is what you really believe, it will definitely attract people with the same idea and who understand you.” She said that as long as the actors have some experience, they can see at a glance whether the director treats the works sincerely.
Lyu Xingchen's views are quite consistent with Song Jia. She believes that most of the actors are emotional and easily affected by various factors. She gave an example of a character she had met before. The screenwriter set her character as a person who believed in love very much. But after reading the script, she had a little doubt about the character's emotional motivation. But the director was very confident in his own judgment. After an in depth discussion, she was finally convinced and understood the role more deeply. Therefore, she advised new directors that in the process of creation, the creator must keep unwavering faith in order to infect the actors and build up their confidence.