I am a documentary filmmaker based in Brooklyn, New York. I adore cinema vérité; both watching and creating film is serious leisure and fanatic business for me.
Since graduating from NYU Tisch School of the Arts (with an M.A. in Cinema Studies and a Certificate in Culture & Media), I have worked as a freelance video artist for artistic, educational, and non-profit organizations. I learned ASL (American Sign Language) in connection with a work project, and also because it is such a liberating way to imagine.
I was born and raised in Harbin, China,“the City of Ice and Snow,” an awesome fact that probably makes me relate to “Let It Go” more than I care to admit — “The cold never bothered me anyway.”
What do you do best?
Capturing the most transcendent moments (intimate, vulnerable, and/or inspiring) of human interactions and using those moments to tell stories in a genuine manner without patronizing either the audience or the subject.
What makes you the best?
Empathy, competitiveness, and an awareness of things I don’t understand.
How will you stay the best?
Keep searching for new ideas, working on interesting projects, and learning from many many genuine and talented people with various backgrounds and experiences.
Right now, I’m really focused and touched by the success of the ongoing Kickstarter campaign for my new documentary film “The Ability Exchange.”The film is about a Disability Studies course where engineering students and adults with cerebral palsy learn to communicate, connect and cultivate their abilities by teaming up to make movies together.
Within the first fifty hours of the campaign we reached the original $10,000 goal! It was totally unexpected, and I am beyond grateful and feel empowered. Donations and feedback from the U.S., Canada, Australia, UK and my homeland of China have reassured me that the message of the film - the fundamental human desire to understand and connect with each other, regardless of our differences - can transcend cultural and language barriers.
The campaign is still going strong. We have a new stretch goal, and every $1 pledge or a shout-out can make a huge difference (in case you want to check out what the fuss is about: www.kickstarter.com/projects/beingbing/the-ability-exchange-a-documentary).
What are your aspirations?
Personal: In Chinese, we have a very beautiful saying, “岁月静好”(suì yuè jìng hǎo), which can be loosely translated as “time of peace and tranquility.”That’s an ideal. I aspire to take good care of my parents (though it’s very likely that they will refuse my offer) and tell my children (to be born in…a few years) stories about my grandma, an amazing person who raised me and will remain as the muse of my emotions.
Business: I will apply all my skills and learnings into creating my next documentary project (which will also be my first feature and is currently in development) “Loud Love,”a film about a deaf gay couple in NYC. They run a very successful sign language school with support from an army of colorful friends, and raise two hearing twin toddlers in a unique way that everyone can resonate with. Hopefully, the many layered themes of this project - race, sexuality, deaf, and parenting - can move and empower more people to celebrate life with passion and determination.
Most challenging moment?
The struggle between doing what I’m passionate about in an encouraging environment (a.k.a. the U.S.) and taking on my responsibilities for my loved ones who are thousands of miles away. Last year while I was busy debuting my graduate film“Singing Jade” in France and touring with another film in the U.S., my grandma was getting very sick in China. The film is about aging immigrants and the therapeutic power of art, and it derives directly from my love for my grandma. My family, with their own understanding of my best interests, hid the progress from me until it was late (to me). I flew back and forth twice within one month afterward but still I feel there’s so so much unsaid and unheard between us. That might be the toughest moment of my life as trying to balance personal and professional life in a brutal way.
What fascinates you?
Family, communication (cross-cultural, cross-generational), and identity issues; a good vérité documentary or a Kristen Wiig/Melissa McCarthy comedy (“Tammy”not included); people with self-deprecating humor and untouchable self-esteem.
It is difficult to pick one favorite from these three quotes which guide me and match my cultural (filmmaking in particular) beliefs very well.
"A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it." -Edward Steichen
"Words often feel too confining and controlled. I'm eager to let loose." -Harilyn Rousso
"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart." -Nelson Mandela
D.F. (my rock, my parter in crime, and my complementary half), and my family and close friends who support me no matter what
My bathtub and Paris.
My iPhone 5s, my Canon GH4 and the Kimchi sold in my home neighborhood of Williamsburg.
Beating people at Ping Pong, learning French, and spending way too much time checking the availability of “Pillars of Eternity” expansion pack.