Interview with Filmmaker Haowei Zhang (POST (COVID-19) ERA)

POST (COVID-19) ERA, 3min., USA, Fashion
Directed by Haowei Zhang
This fashion film is the collaboration with jewelry designer Hankunyu Wei, which expresses the jewelry artist Hankunyu Wei’s thoughts and reflections on the aftershocks to human society after the end of COVID-19.As the COVID-19 inevitably hits the workings of the world, each and every one of our lives is marked. Even though masks are no longer a necessity and people’s lives are gradually returning to normalcy, the dramatic changes in life over the past few years are like a wound that reminds humans to think about life, bondage and distance.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?
The emergence of the epidemic has changed our lives forever. At first, I did not anticipate that the epidemic would change our lives so profoundly. By the time I realized it, our lives were completely unable to go back to the way they were. People are highly adaptable creatures. The government also made a lot of measures to bring order back to people’s world. But no matter what, the existence of the epidemic is like a scar, and even if the wound heals, there is still a part of our lives that is permanently altered. I want to explore the habits that have been subliminally changed in the world after order has been re-established.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
About one month. I need to admit that I am not a person who will give action immediately. I’m always looking forward to a better story or a better idea. So before I start acting, I usually have a very long period of reflection to let my ideas sink in. But this experience was different. Because it was a collaboration with a jewelry artist. She needed this fashion film to complete her work. Our team, including me, was actively pushing this project because of that.

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

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
How to balance the presentation of jewelry with the expression of the theme. Because this is a fashion film, not a pure narrative film or documentary. I need to take up the expression of the theme of the post-epidemic era from jewelry. Especially because this theme is actually very grand and very specific. Almost everyone in the world has been affected by the epidemic. So I thought for a long time about how to find people’s resonance in this global issue.

The issue of budget is also something we need to face. This fashion film was self-funding, so we didn’t have a huge budget, which meant we needed to be very efficient with our budget.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
Touching. It’s actually like the epidemic where people have gone too long without getting together to communicate. The film hadn’t been shown publicly before this festival. When I saw people’s comments, the real faces, the feelings and comments from the heart, gave me a feeling of excitement and emotion.

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
When I was about to enter college and needed to choose my major. I’ve always wanted to be a storyteller. I have a strong curiosity about people, about society, about this community, and wanted to keep asking questions. I realized at that time that maybe film was the best vehicle to carry my inner curiosity and desire. Film incorporates too many narrative tools, such as story, music and photography.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
In the mood for love. In fact, I am not a person who will watch the same movie over and over again. However, Wong Kar Wai’s movies are like a burning cigarette. Every time I watch this movie, it’s like I’m entering an elevator that’s going down forever. And there are too many details in this movie to observe and think about.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Some meeting or talking between filmakers. Because film is teamwork, it is crucial for filmmakers to build up their network within the industry.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
I think this platform is very helpful for filmmakers like me. You can easily find information about film festivals and choose to participate in them on this platform.

10. What is your favorite meal?
Chinese food. Hometown food will always be the most delicious to me.

11. What is next for you? A new film?
Maybe a new film. I have a couple of ideas for new films, but they are still in the process of being scripted. And I’m also looking for funding for a future film. So, I’m looking forward to my next step being a new movie.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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