Interview with Filmmaker Li Chiao-Ping (PROVENANCE: A LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER)

Directed by Li Chiao-Ping
A short dance film about a transnational adoptee’s personal experiences struggling with identity, belonging, and inclusion growing up in the Midwest of America. Directed and choreographed by Li Chiao-Ping, dancer Elisabeth Roskopf’s exquisite movement and personal story reclaiming her heritage are captured beautifully by cinematographer and editor Christal Wagner.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Elisabeth’s personal story made it a compelling project, as well as the passion and enthusiasm of both my collaborators, Elisabeth Roskopf and Christal Wagner.

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

In some ways, it was a fairly condensed time frame. From meetings and rehearsals to its first screening, it took about 2.5 months. However, since Elisabeth is a dancer in my company, we have been working together for the past 5 years and the subject of her being a transnational adoptee has come up in other choreographic projects.

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

Shedding, recovering

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

The unpredictability of nature and weather conditions. It was quite cold and muddy still when we were shooting outdoors, in early March.

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

I was really pleased to get responses from people who are not in my immediate circle or community. It’s great to hear what resonated and what landed. I was really happy to have some of my favorite parts echoed in their reactions.

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

It wasn’t until my mid-20’s when I started exploring it and learning more about it. I was a dancer and choreographer first, but disciplinary boundaries are not strict for me; I’ve always been a multi-hyphenate artist. I got more and more interested in dance on screen over time.

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

Of commercial/popular films, I’ve probably seen “Mary Poppins” the most, because it’s something my mother, who has memory loss, and I can enjoy together. I’ve also watched the Maya Deren film with Talley Beatty “A Study in Choreography for Camera” half a dozen times. Most recently, I’ve watched and re-watched “Everything Everywhere All At Once” a few times.

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 actually have not attended very many but am looking forward to a feeling of belonging when that happens!

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

It’s been great so far!

10. What is your favorite meal?

I really love Japanese or Korean seaweed with rice with all the extras.

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

Yes, I’m excited to start on a new project, later this spring, or in the summer!


By matthewtoffolo

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

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