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An Interview with Yuchi Tian, Director of THE WASTELAND

When and how did you fall in love with cinema and wanted to become a filmmaker? How did you start your career as a filmmaker and what projects did you work on before making The Wasteland?

Since I was little kid, we watched outdoor films, it rolled into my heart. I start my career with helping friends to shoot project, then making my own things like commercials and MV. My very first short in China: Driving School. The Wasteland has a brilliant beginning, and everything begins with images. The relationship between the two characters, the location, everything. Tell us about working with your actors. How did you choose them, and what made it possible to interact with them so brilliantly and create this beautiful chemistry between them.

I held many times casting for this film. First of all, Rachael and Trevor their looking are very fit in with these two characters. They’re the person that take story seriously, we always talk about what are characters’ background, what do they like, what happened in their life, etc. Rachael also is a writer, she helped me improve my story. When we doing blocking, rehearsal, Rachael and Trevor gave lot of advises and inspirations.

Where the initial idea for the film come from, and how long did it take to develop the idea into the script? How much of it comes from your own experiences?

From my friend and my experience, like 20%. When I saw the location, the whole story just comes up. Not quite sure, maybe one month. What are the advantages and disadvantages of independent filmmaking and working with a tight budget? What advice can you give those who are embarking on the same journey? How can they overcome the challenges they face when making indie films?

You can write what whatever you want, disadvantage must be budget, it’s hard to handle so many people with tiny budget. Do be afraid of anything, just do yourself. Important thing is: Treat people good. Depend on situation, but please remember what do you want from the movie, that will help you a lot.

Short films made in a single location are often difficult to make but are rewarding in many ways. Tell us about the shooting process and working in that location. Was it challenging or liberating to work in one single location?

We had big challenging that time. First of all, lot of crew they didn’t have enough experiences for outside shooting. Only three key position they know what’s going on, which caused many issues. Also this project is under a tiny budget, we can’t offer such nice service for whole crew, like rent RV for clothes changing, always have cold drink, etc. The most important thing is the weather, cloud was moved a lot, we have to follow them all the time. Unfortunately, that area was very windy in April, it bothered us a lot.

We have both of them: challenging and liberating. The good things are you don’t need to have company move which is much easier for production, and you can develop story deeper. But if you work at the same place for long time, your team may feel tired, may lose curiosity, that will cause new problems. Tell us about your festival run, and your experiences of participating at film festivals. Have they provided you with the experience and exposure one needs?

It’s going pretty well, I’ll bring my new film back. Thank you for interviewing me!

What was the reaction of those who saw the film? Was the feedback what you hoped for? They like it, it touched their heart some points. Are you planning to make more short films or are you gradually moving toward feature films? What are your concerns when making films? In other words, what are the themes you believe are important to convey through cinema? Yes, I’m planning for it, I have short and feature. I’m more concern about what are my actors thinking, no matter in real life or in the story. The lives and love. Tell us about your next project(s). What are you currently working on? My first feature film, I’m rewriting some parts of story that based on the draft I have.


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