SAI MAN (SIMON) ZHAO, DIRECTOR OF 'WE THE PEOPLE?'
4-TIME NOMINEE BEST STUDENT FILM, BEST FILM (MEDIUM-LENGTH), BEST YOUNG FILMMAKER + BEST DIRECTORIAL DEBUT
Inside the Vision of Sai Man (Simon) Zhao: A Candid Interview on his Film 'We The People?'
Delving into the inspiration, themes, and filmmaking journey of the 4-time nominee at Lonely Wolf International Film Festival
As the four-time nominee at Lonely Wolf International Film Festival in categories such as Best Student Film, Best Film (Medium-Length), Best Directorial Debut, and Best Young Filmmaker, Sai Man (Simon) Zhao's directorial debut "We The People?" has garnered significant attention. This experimental, short, student film created at The Governor's Academy follows a person searching for his dream club, but a series of intense conversations ultimately leads to reflection on the purpose of his behavior and the faces of this world. We had the pleasure of conducting a detailed interview with Simon Zhao to learn more about his filmmaking process and vision.
When asked about the film's inspiration, Zhao stated that the genesis of the idea came from the Covid times. He explained, "My original idea for this film was to show a world of inequality where the authorities decide what people can have and their so-called 'inalienable rights'." He wanted to create a world where people could think about their lives without too much emotional attachment, which he believes to be the essence of entertainment and film.
Zhao faced numerous challenges during the production of this film. "I filmed this film with one hand because the other hand was broken at that time," he shared. To overcome this, he set the camera at a steady location and relied on fast cuts to hide the shots' instability.
One aspect that sets "We The People?" apart from others in its genre is its fast-paced "music video" editing style. Zhao says, "I enjoy the change in pace within my film, and incorporating rock or metal music should also make my films stand out."
As for the themes and messages of the film, Zhao explained that the central theme revolves around the importance of anti-authority and the unequal distribution of individual rights in modern society. "There are many pieces of subtle rebelliousness in my original envision, and I wanted to remind my audiences of the power that they have," he added.
Creating "We The People?" has significantly impacted Zhao as a filmmaker. "This film is the first film that
I have done and created entirely. It gives me a much clearer view of my ability and how it differs from my