Interview with Filmmaker Weinpei Li (DRIFTING ON A LEAF)

DRIFTING OF A LEAF, 2min., USA, Animation
Directed by Wenpei Li
If you could have another life, do you hope to become a tree? A little leaf becomes a bird flying in the world. Is it a leaf or a bird? It does not know where its root is. Maybe the root is all this world.

Get to know the filmmaker:

What motivated you to make this film?

“Drifting of A Leaf” was one part of my MFA thesis project. The idea for this thesis came from Italo Calvino’s book, “Our Ancestors.” There were three short stories in this book, one of which was about a tree. Since I was a kid, I hoped I could become a tree or a bird if I had another life. So, I wanted to make an animation about trees.

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

It took about a year from the idea to the finished product. I paid more attention to research, but it only took me about a month to paint and edit it.

How would you describe your film in two words?

I would describe my film as peaceful and naive. Every time I watch it, I feel peaceful. I think it’s because I tell my story in a peaceful way, especially with the wonderful music. I wanted to use a naive and direct way to indicate my idea of the environment. “Look, humans, that’s the end of your green view – in a glass jar.”

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

It was my motivation. I was in a period of depression when I made this film, and it was hard for me to follow my schedule. But when I could pay attention to all the details of this animation, I knew I was very happy.

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

It was amazing. “Drifting of a Leaf” is my first animation that has attended film festivals. Getting audiences’ feedback is so important to me, and I am honored that they like my animation.

When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I would say when I was in undergrad school. My major was journalism, and I made a documentary and a short film in class. That was the first time I made my own films, and I really like this language to tell stories.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I believe there were art films made before the 1990s. I am interested in knowing what filmmakers thought during that time, before I was born.

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

As a filmmaker, I am always looking for ways to grow and improve my craft. One of the best ways to do this is by connecting with other filmmakers. I believe that having more opportunities to interact with other filmmakers would be incredibly beneficial for everyone involved.

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

I am very impressed with the platform. Not only is it easy to navigate and find various festivals, but the interface is also very user-friendly. It is very convenient to be able to search for and apply to festivals all in one place, and I appreciate the simplicity of the website.

What is your favorite meal?

My favorite meal has undergone a huge change this year. I now love any dish made with vegetables that I have planted myself. It’s all because of a new hobby I’ve developed: gardening. It’s unbelievable, but I used to find gardening to be one of the most boring hobbies in the world. Now, all my baby vegetables are growing in the field.

What is next for you? A new film?

Yes! Last month, I suddenly got the idea for my new animation when I was on a train. I plan to finish it soon.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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