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Interview: Huang Ruxiang, Yunnan and Utopia

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Ten original films. Ten young female directors. Ten locations in Yunnan Province. This is the premise of the Yunnan Film Project, the brainchild of Chief Producer and local arts matron Lola.

124the project's website#http://www.cinecn.net/enindex.asp#.

Huang Ruxiang, a Sichuan native and photography graduate from the Beijing Film Academy, is director of Peach Blossom Land, the next and third of ten films slated for production. For the project, Huang is teaming up with screenwriter Zhang Cheng, writer of Crazy Stone, the surprise comedy hit of 2006 that was filmed in the Sichuan dialect.

Peach Blossom Land is a 21st century take on the famous ancient story Peach Blossom Grove by Tao Yuanming, aka Tao Qian. In Tao's original, a fisherman unknowingly stumbles upon a hidden utopia, but after leaving the place to show it to others, he can never find it again.

How is Utopia doing in 21st century China? GoKunming asked Director Huang to find out.

GK: When will shooting the film start?
Huang: The film is going to be shot this spring during the time when the peach blossoms bloom, but we're still preparing. We went to Wenshan [in southeast Yunnan] for this project and found a very mysterious place there that looks like the peach blossom grove described in the ancient story. We decided to set the story there.

GK: When and where will the film be released?
Huang: We haven't decided yet.

GK: Who are the actors in the movie?
Huang: There will be many characters in the film. They need to be very special in their appearance and performance. We are looking for them right now.

GK: How much money will it cost to make?
Huang: It's a low budget film.

GK: How did you meet producer [Chief Producer] Lola?
Huang: I had heard from Lola that she liked my film Doctor Zhang very much. And then at the end of last year I came to Yunnan to collect inspiration for the film, and I met her.

GK: You have many artistic interests, what do you like about making films? How is it different than approaching photography or painting?
Huang: I think of film as a church for all people in the Twenty-first century. I'm just a pilgrim among them. Film is totally different from painting and photography. Only through film will I make the audience feel the beauty of passing time in a special setting. The other arts don't easily provide this kind of experience.

GK: How will the film be different from Tao Yuanming's famous story?
Huang: The poet Tao Yuanming described an ideal place called Peach Blossom Grove in his famous story from more than two thousand years ago, it has become a spiritual paradise for the Chinese people. We hope to tell a story with our film by using this metaphor.

GK: If you could escape to Tao's peach blossom grove and live there forever, would you?
Huang: Actually, nearly every Chinese has their own peach blossom grove in their own mind. We don't need to escape to other places.

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