Jing Niu will be joining us with her film Departing. Here are some questions to let you get to know more about her!
What is your connection to the South?
I am connected to the South through food: all-you-can-eat Buffets, backyard BBQ’s, Sunday night Church dinners, and of course Take-out restaurants. I grew up in Durham, North Carolina; the South and its ways raised me. Also (something that Southerners across the globe understand), hot sauce is my first language.
Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
When I was six, my family and I migrated from Szechuan, China to the American South. I spent a large part of my childhood working in and getting to know people in the take-out industry. I wanted to make a film that painted a picture of my migration journey, but also I wanted an excuse to visit the factories that mass produce take-out products like soy sauce packets and fortune cookies.
How did you start making films?
I started making films in high school with my close friends. We made exquisite visual films without words that featured stand-offs between bizarro characters like bubble-gum wizards, pajama panted cowboys and the Hairy Beast. In art school, I started making weird films by myself, before I even knew that there was a genre just for video/film experimentation. Now I mix my video making with other mediums and I produce work such as audio-documentaries, plush sculptures, word and photo essays, Twines, and digital fan zines. At the core of my film arts practice is a DIY aesthetic and approach.
Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
This film was shot in places like China, Tibet, the US, and on a cruise to the Bahamas. The scenes in which I’m dressed like Chinese Royalty from the past I got by sneaking onto a Chinese action movie set and pretending to be a movie extra.
What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
I am really really looking forward to reconnecting with my film friends who work in the South and seeing what kind of films they’ve been making!
Why should someone see your film?
One should watch my film only if they enjoy contemplative, wandering epic poems that blur distinctions between categories, that jump between the past and the present, and that feature elusive heroines. One should watch my film only if they are ready to move beyond mainstream understandings of what films are and what films can do.