Cannot duplicate FEMALE DIRECTORS, will not reject commercial films
- Interview with Director Yang Mingming

Born in 1987, Yang Mingming graduated from Academy of Traditional Chinese Opera. FEMALE DIRECTORS, a short film directed and starred by Yang, seamlessly integrates extremely true performance with fictional plot using a disruptive creation concept and filming approach, representing the latest and coolest creativity of young directors. The film became one of the top 10 independent films of the year, taking various major youth film exhibitions home and abroad by storm. In 2015, Yang edited CROSSCURRENT, a feature film directed by Yang Chao, which won the Outstanding Art Contribution Award in Berlin Film Festival. GIRLS ALWAYS HAPPY, Yang Mingming’s first long art film written, directed and starred by herself, entered the shortlist of the Panorama Section of the 68th Belin Film Festival, and will be screened in the 42th Hong King International Film Festival.


CFMGIRLS ALWAYS HAPPY has received very good feedback from domestic media. How about the response from overseas?

Yang Mingming: There happens to be an article in SCREEN, where the film is compared with LADY BIRD. Maybe this way foreign audiences can understand the film better. But I am not proud of it.


CFMYou think they are different?

Yang Mingming: Yes. LADY BIRD is very Western; there is not much pain shown in the film. I think it is still on the survival level, and there is nothing much spiritual. Besides, I feel that Lady Bird is living a good life, not miserable at all.


CFMYour short film FEMALE DIRECTORS had a production budget of RMB2000. For your first long film GIRLS ALWAYS HAPPY, you have a formal production team and a producer, and you have now brought it to the exhibition. What difference do the two films have in terms of creation?

Yang Mingming: I cannot duplicate myself for another FEMALE DIRECTORS. It was a film completed in a unique approach, with two girls exchanging cameras in shooting. It was an attempt in aesthetics, and a successful one, but I don’t want to repeat myself. GIRLS ALWAYS HAPPY has a production team and is larger in scale, which means I need a longer preparation period, more work, and communication with the team. Everything needs to be done in a formal way.


CFMWere there more restrictions then?

Yang Mingming: There were definitely restrictions, but you want more money and more time. Then it all comes to how you manage the optimal allocation of resources with this much time and money. There bound to be regrets. But if you lose the chance, you lose it forever. Therefore, you need to try your best within the controllable scope.


CFMFEMALE DIRECTORS is completely an attempt in aesthetics, while tells a story smoothly. Moving forward, will you use more commercial and market-oriented subject matters for films?

Yang Mingming: I don’t reject commercial films. But if I make commercial films, I will choose what I like. Also love films, for which I can perhaps do a better job.


CFMIs there any difference in the creative environment for domestic art films between now and before, do you think?

Yang Mingming: I think it is getting better and better. There is a lot of venture investment nowadays, and some people are willing to invest in art films. But the sources of capital of the investor can be an issue. I hope the majority investor can be from inside the industry so that the director can have much room for creation.


CFMWhat was the biggest support you got during the shooting process?

Yang Mingming: The biggest support was from the producer. He, of course, also negotiated with me. But he normally gave me the all the scenes I wanted. I think he tried his utmost.


CFMWhat was the thing you needed but could not get?

Yang Mingming: I needed a more professional team to help me in the preparatory period, including scene selection and many trivial stuff, so that I could do a better job in preparation. I spent a huge amount of my energy in preparation, and was exhausted when I started the actual shooting.