Interview with Filmmaker Josh Li (BAOBEI (BABY))

1. What motivated you to make this film?

During the quarantine I was stuck at home like everyone else. This prompted me to start to reflect on my life. I started looking at the people I knew in my life. But, then I started to question how much of them do I really know? Who are these people that I spend my life with? Who am I? Why am I like this? These were the questions I wanted to answer in the short documentary.

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

I would say it took about 2 months. It went through a lot of takes and retakes. I had never really done a documentary before. I had only done Q and A segments for introducing teachers for the school broadcasting system.

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

Bitter sweet. Its the ups and downs of a life long relationship.

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

I would say finding the right story to tell. I shot hours of interviews, but it had too many storylines. I wanted to honor my mom’s story and her vision of what she wanted to say. So I tried to edit everything together and it made me go insane. Eventually I just decided to stick with one storyline and really hone that story out.

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

I was at a lost of words. I didn’t know that the film was going to be this well received. I am truly humbled by the compliments and the rating the audience has given it. I want to say my mom watched the feedback, and her tears even came out. She felt the audience really understood her throughout the film and resonated with her.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

I think it was a combination of things. But, I truly discovered that I wanted to do this during the quarantine. The quarantine gave me a chance to reflect. I had really liked watching films from a young age. Every week or so our family would go out to watch a movie at the movie theater. My grandfather was also a director and I loved how vocal he was. He is always the smartest, loudest, and funniest person in the room. Plus you would always be interesting in what he would say next.

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

That is a really hard question. I wish I had time to rewatch the new movies I discovered during the film classes I have taken. But the film I probably watched the most in my life is the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I just love how cheery and upbeat it is. It is a mix of genres and it is different from anything Marvel has ever done before. It remains futuristic, but grounded in reality. Each character is so unique and complicated. You can’t help, but like them and root for them. Plus to fit that many characters in one single film and give them all a certain characteristic is truly phenomenal. I love this movie and I think this is the greatest Marvel movie ever created.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I am really satisfied with this win. This experience has taught me a lot. I was hoping to find out what were the parts that the judges didn’t like in order to better my craft. I kinda thought that it was a little too much praise and not enough criticism.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

It was easy to maneuver around the website and view all the other thoughts the other people had. The guidelines and rules were easy to follow. Overall its a great cite.

10. What is your favorite meal?

I am too indecisive to say one certain meal, but I prefer anything that is spicy or full of spices.

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

Currently I got into NYU Tisch Summer School. I am absolutely stoked for that. So I will continue learning and growing as a storyteller. I am going to start on a documentary about my grandpa for sure. The documentary will probably highlight what filmmaking was like during or after the Chinese Cultural Revolution.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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