Interview with Filmmaker Yijun Pan (RED THREAD)

RED THREAD was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the February 2020 Chicago FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Yijun Pan: Red Thread of Fate is a belief in Asian culture that, according to the ancient myth, the god ties an invisible red cord around the finger of those that destine to meet one another in a specific situation as they are “their true love.”
Involving Asian culture with the American film making technique is always my dream and goal of me for a long time.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

I think it is about two months. Pre-production and production took us about two weeks to come up with ideas and themes, looking for actresses and production design and around two weeks for post-production. And we spend a lot of time on scoring and mixing sound to make sure everything is perfect. Meanwhile, we just finished our new poster for the short film in order to promote the film! Experimental filmmaking gives us a lot of freedom to play with every possibility to make our film as creative as possible.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words?

Visible Love

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Editing and composing. Editing is the definitely one of the hardest part. Thanks to my amazing DP and Editor Anh Vo, he composed the footages we had into an exquisite piece that tells a meaningful story. The challenge of scoring for film is different from just writing a song, you have to create your up and down according to the developing of the film. This project provides us the opportunity to collaborate with our talented composer Gabby Henderson to create such a sweet and sad melody.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I think most of the audience, no matter from this festival or some other festival I’ve screened before, they are amazed by the cinematography and the crispy sound, but they don’t really understand what the short film is about because of the cultural differences. Still, after I explain and also show one of our documentaries short called “The Making of Red Thread,” people realize the meaning behind the story, they gave me excellent feedback!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

Inspired by some of me and my friends’ past relationships, many people will be involved in part of your life, some stay, some go away. The “red thread” not only tie on the one hand. I’m trying to make those invisible emotions such as “love, sadness, pain, and anger…” into something we can see, we can touch, we can feel, no matter where you from and where you belong.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

The Great Gatsby & Atonement

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are your feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

Nowadays submitting a film for different film fest is way easier thanks to a platform like FilmFreeway, our films can be seen by more and more people, I really appreciate that!

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

“Move on” from Garden city movement. This song encourages me so much when I had a tough time in the past. And the music video of this song is always my inspiration for something I want to make!

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Experimental film is the path I’m exploring right now, combining the technique of experimental film making with some other genre such as narrative shorts or music video would be something I want to try! And I’m also thinking about making Red Thread 2.0, develop the original theme with more creative ideas and possibilities!



By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival


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