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FILMING WITH SIHAN CUI


The award winning Sihan Cui talks upcoming feature film, her short film that's out and a project that is yet to be released.

We want to praise you for your work! You are so talented. What are you working on right now that you can tell us about?

I’m working on a feature documentary film, “The Wave”, on the theme of female Chinese labor immigrants' living status.

In China, labor migration is providing vulnerable groups of immigrants. Many Chinese have the impression that overseas migration means wealth and a better life. However, the life of Chinese immigrants overseas is not as glamorous as people think. The two characters in this film: Yi and Mei, are all labor immigrants who have working experience abroad. Yi is working as an escort in Taiwan. Mei once worked for three years in Japan as a labor immigrant through a fake marriage. This is their story.

The film is still in the post-production.

Who do you share your work with first?

I usually would share my work with my friends who are also great artists first. I have a group of friends who always share work-in-progress with each other to get feedback, in order to further improve the works based on the feedback and modification suggestions. I will polish the final work after several rounds of this back and forth. So naturally, my friends will always be my first audience.


How long does a project usually take from start to finish?

For a short film like my award-winning documentary “Flushing”, it usually takes more than2 months from having the idea to having the final cut. This kind of non-linear narrative short film’s structure and material are relatively scattered, and it requires more effort in conception and the organization of materials. Therefore the time spent on the shooting is slightly less than that of traditional linear narrative. For example, my documentary photography project "After365 Days" is about telling a family story, so I need to spend more time getting the access and shooting. "After 365 Days" took about 4 months from start to finish.

Is there ever a piece of work you regret putting out and a piece of work you regret not putting out?

I have struggled on if I should publish my documentary photography project “After 365 Days" or not. On the one hand, I think this could be the gaze of a lens. I'm not sure whether the family should expose their vulnerability to the public eye, even if I have their permission. On the other hand, I think their struggle and what happened to them should raise awareness among society. People need to know what people who are “silenced” in society have experienced and what we can do to prevent such tragedy from happening again. Especially after the gun violence in Atlanta, I feel that more people should see the stories of labor immigrants and their families.

Give us all your links!

Personal website: https://www.sihancui.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/echocui99/