Interview with Filmmaker Siye Tao (SHATTERED RIPPLES)

This short film tries to recap the personal experience of a dancer, whose old house and the associated memories are overshadowed by the fast-going urbanization. On a bright sunny day in the near future, when skyscrapers erect from the ruins, will we forget all the textured past?

Interview with director Siye Tao

1.What motivated you to make this film?

My question started when I saw demolition of old houses and the urbanization that followed, which took place in many cities in China nowadays. The old houses where people used to live have been replaced by shopping malls, office buildings and high rise apartments. I wanted to know the fate of these old houses and the people who lived there. The cinematographer Qing-Wen Yan and I visited many places in Shanghai where old neighborhoods are being remodeled. When we walked into a building (that is, the one we filmed Shattered Ripples), something touched our hearts, and we felt that we had to film something here.

So, everything happened spontaneously without a script. We didn’t decorate the room and we left the place as it was. What appeared in the film was the original appearance of the room, including the chair, the bricks, and the dust.

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

The shots of dances took us only a day, but the rest of the work including the smoke and the snail took a few extra days. Then it took us about a year to finish the editing and sound design.

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

Tenderness, and hardness.

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

Like what was mentioned above, this film idea happened spontaneously without a script. So, we simply followed our instinct and recorded the empty room with my dances. Technically, the most difficult thing was to make a decision between B&W and color. I also love the color version, but I have to make a choice.

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

I was nervously excited. The audience were very kind toward my film. Their interpretations extended what I wanted to say, and I am glad our film left plenty of rooms for that. The audience raised many good points that I didn’t realize.

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

During my college years, I used to make short videos for my dances and other related events.

Later on, when I met different talented people (the cinematographer, the music designer, my dance students, my colleagues, etc.), I naturally thought it’s a good thing to bring their talents together. And so, we started to make dance films.

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

Coraline, an American stop-motion film written and directed by Henry Selick.

I can always find something new when I watch it.

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

Thanks for the very kind intention. I was very glad to learn what different audiences think of my work. This is the biggest surprise brought to me by this film festival. I hope other festivals will do similar things: exchange ideas on a platform like this one.

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

This is a mature platform that allows me to submit my works to different art festivals in the world. I love it.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Chinese hotpot? Cheeseburgers? It depends on the day, really.

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

Continue to make dance films and to ask questions. My next work will come out in 2023.

Director BIO:

Siye Tao is an educator, a choreographer, and a dancer, who is currently based in China.

As an choreographer, her works have been shown on stages, public TV channels, museums, and arts festivals.
As a dancer, she has performed at Festival d’Avignon in France, National Centre for the Performing Arts of China, Beijing Modern Dance Festival, Power Station of Art, Shanghai Museum of Glass, and Guangdong Modern Dance Festival, etc.

She has been working on a public screen-dance series with people who had no previous dance experiences, and questioning “Why not dance everywhere and any time?”





By matthewtoffolo

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

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