Cannes Winner Qiu Yang on the Outsize Impact of Small-Town Stories

“I’m hoping to tell stories that will echo with everyday Chinese lives, so a small town with nothing special is the perfect place to tell them”

“Fucking amazing!” was filmmaker Qiu Yang’s two-word acceptance speech upon becoming the first Chinese director to win the top Palme d’Or prize at Cannes Film Festival in May 2017. With his new short She Runs, Qiu has just scored his second Cannes win in three years, taking home the Leitz Cine Discovery Prize for Short Film  last month in France.

Despite his headline-grabbing success, the 30-year-old auteur prefers to keep the film industry at arm’s length, and maintains a refreshingly humble focus on his craft and his hometown of Changzhou. The small-for-China city of 4.5 million in southern Jiangsu province is well removed from the high-rise hustle of megacities like nearby Shanghai — “a city with no characteristics,” in Qiu’s words.

Born in a lower-tier Chinese city and educated at the Victorian College of the Arts in Australia, Qiu offers a distinctive perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing young directors in China today. “I believe there’s a wave of cultural awakening happening in China, and hope maybe this could be the beginning of something new,” Qiu says, before acknowledging that, “Chinese arthouse films are struggling between artistic pursuit and regulatory pressure.” Continue to read the full article on RADII.


-This article first appeared on RADII China