Interview with Filmmaker Ching Juhl (MY YANG GANG DIARY)

MY YANG GANG DIARY was the winner of BEST POLITICAL DOC at the May 2021 DOCUMENTARY Feedback Film Festival

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I followed Andrew Yang’s presidential campaign and the people who supported Yang, known as Yang Gang for about one year. I recorded many events; in sunshine, rain, snow, and over the summer and winter. I was very touched by the spirit and dedication of the Yang Gang, and I wanted to share that with the world. My motivation for making the film was to showcase Yang Gang and to spread the word about the Humanity First Movement.

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

At the beginning, I covered the events like a video jurnalist. After reading Andrew Yang’s book “The War on Normal People”, I became a member of the Yang Gang. The filming took place over 13 months and the post production took another 7 months. All together this film took about 20 months to complete.

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

May I use three words? They are Passion, Inspiration and Dedication.

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

Each stage of the making of this film had different obstacles. The most difficult challenge for me was deciding how to tell the story. I shot about 200 hours of footage and conducted over 50 interviews in 12 cities. I wish I could focus more on 4 or 5 characters, but I met so many Yang Gang during the movement that character development was a challenge. The reason I named the film “My Yang Gang Diary” was because I wanted to bring the audience along to experience what our journey was like.

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

I really appreciate the audience feedback video. Thank you for producing it. The audience’s comments are sincere, articulated and compassionate. It was heartwarming for me. I am thankful that our film reached more people who wanted to know Andrew Yang better.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I love capturing events with video camera. I remember buying my first video camera after winning a music competition in late 80’s. Since 2009, I made more than 600 videos and posted them on my YouTube channel – Juhl Media. However, a video is not a film. For me, a film includes good storytelling, excellent audio/lighting, fine editing and great soundtracks.

After many years of video with no directions, I enrolled in a Digital Video Production course at New York University in 2008. I learned how to write, shoot, adjust sound, edit, lighting and the whole shpiel. Since then I have made many short films and 3 feature length documantaries.

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

I like all genres of films, but my favorite is documentaries.

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

FilmFreeWay, an application/website, provies great resauces for filmmakers to apply for film festivals, as well as for film festivals to pubicize their programs. The plateform is very easy to navigat.

9. What is your favorite meal?

My favorite meal is fish filet in spicy marinade cabbages with bamboo shoots, mushrooms and mung bean noodles.

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

Two projects in mind, one, is to make a film about Andrew Yang’s Race for NYC Mayor 2021. Two, is to create a music themed film.

My background is classical music. As a violist, I have played with many professional symphony orchestras and chamber groups. I also backed up for Rod Stewart, Dionne Warwick and Perry Como. I would like to make a documentary that focuses on classical music, especially for the viola.

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