Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hao Wu, The Road to Fame - West Carolina University, Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, & Hapeville, Georgia

From Filmmaker Hao Wu of The Road to Fame:

I guess it could be depressing when an audience came up to you after a screening of your film, and told you that your film made him depressed. The stories of young people struggling to make it in showbiz was too close to home, he said. He was a college student studying filmmaking at West Carolina University (Cullowhee, NC) and the prospect of becoming a successful filmmaker was looking remote.

I quoted a line from the veteran musical director featured in my film - "Only those who really want this can survive" - and wished him good luck in figuring out the industry, and himself.

And then I was elated. I had done my job right, I thought, that I could move an American youth this way with a story about Chinese kids feeling the same stress in the faraway Beijing. What more could we ask for as filmmakers telling stories close to our hearts?

In Madison GA, much younger audiences watched the film. Fifth graders. They were into performing arts and couldn't stop talking about the film after the screening at the beautiful Madison-Morgan Cultural Center. They had a long road ahead of them, and their optimism was innocent, and pure.

In Hapeville, Georgia, the city held the screening at The Historic Christ Church Building & Carriage House. The atmosphere felt like a cozy community party. One audience said afterwards that The Road to Fame was his first time watching a subtitled film. Now he realized that he'd missed out on a lot of good foreign films.

The Southern Circuit Tour was an intense experience with lots of flying, driving and meeting different people from different states. But for an independent filmmaker, it was such a rare opportunity to see the beautiful land in the south, to meet curious and engaging audiences who embrace good storytelling regardless of differences in language, culture and geography. Many asked me during the tour when I could be back with my next film. I replied soon, hopefully soon.

Upward and onward on the road to storytelling!