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19th ÉCU Film Festival, Paris

"All the main crews and casts join this film for free and were using their spare time, so it is also extremely for us to make the schedule."

Festival Screening:


April 13, 2024  
still on location2.jpg

Continuous occult accidents happened in a hospital in downtown Shanghai before dawn. Three nurses of ICU were trapped in different spaces one by one by mysterious power and left no answer of surviving. After the last resident doctor on duty being anaesthetized, a patient on life support system in ICU became the next victim of Azrael… Sunrise, all the secrets come to be revealed on the roof with the first light from the very east.


Hi Vincent, thank you for taking the time to talk with The New Current. Are you looking forward to screening I C U at ÉCU this year?


Yes , very much. I am so excited to have the first round feedback from the real audience just in face.

Will there be any nerves ahead of your screening in Paris?


Sure, this is because ICU would be a little bit difficult to understand throughly for any audience who don’t live in China , not only due to its non-dialogue, but also due to its highly related with the multiple complicated realities and backgrounds of current China.    

How important are festivals like ÉCU in continuing to champion and supporting independent films and filmmakers?


I think it is a very important stage for any independent film maker, especial for those who dare to challenge the rules and trends of the motion picture industry which had been circling back and back again in the past ten years.


Can you tell me a little bit about how I C U came about, what inspired your screenplay?


The seed of the story originally came from my six months of waiting outside ICU with my father inside before he was gone. Being the only son, I suffered so much from wandering along the alley day by day helplessly which made me think over and over again on questions like: real meaning of death, ultimate aim of healing , ethical trap and legal dilemma, the charge-free medical system for high-level members of communist party … But, we are not allowed to discuss any topic related to medical system or Euthanasia here in China. So I decided to plant my thoughts into a film and deliver them with a silent story. To make my speech attractive, I combined various elements like thriller, suspense and black humor together. All the props are information-giver which makes this "ghost" story a puzzle game. I wish those who may watch this film could understand whom I stand by and which I stand for.


What was the most challenging scene for you to shoot?


The opening and ending scenes which both start with a long shot. These two long shots are extremely hard to take not only because its super long length and three hundred meters high angel, but also because its special location which is in a restricted zone  that just two hundred meters away from the exact centre of Shanghai downtown and the world famous spot ---the Bund. Moreover, the most difficult part is not where to shoot them, but when to shoot them. Based on the script, the timing of the first shot and last shot should be in the midnight and right before the sun rise from the very east. We need very good luck to accomplish the two shots well ,especially the last one. Actually, we did shot twice for the last shot which mean we eventually have another shooting over-night just for the sunrise scene one month after we wrapped. We had no choice but used body-doubles to finish that scene since some of the cast were not available by then already. Fortunately, I am happy with the shooting by that day because the weather was perfect and finally we had a beautiful ending shot.       

When working on a film like this how much flexibility with the screenplay do you allow yourself and your cast?


Actually we have to be very flexible while shooting. Because we don’t have enough budget for prep and rehearsal. All the main crews and casts join this film for free and were using their spare time, so it is also extremely for us to make the schedule. Finally, since the location is the most priority, we adjust everything according to the hospital availability and requirements. It took me three years to find a large hospital willing to offer the sponsorship of the location and equipment of ICU.   


How important is the creative collaboration between you and your team when working on a short like I C U?


Like I mentioned above, we have to adjust and manage almost everything on set during the shooting which was both challenging and full of fun. It was impossible for us to realise my script 100% with the conditions we had, but we tried our best .

Looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?


If  I had a chance to shoot this film again with enough budget,  I will build a more professional team. We did waste much time due to some crews on set who are just volunteers without experiences .


How much did your previous experiences prepare you for making I C U?


I  had experiences on how to shoot fast without enough prep, my three credits before are all low-budget films. But it was still challenging for me on ICU because we did not have enough crews and half of them had no experience on professional film shooting. 


Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?


It is my dream since I was a high school student. I fell it is the only thing worth my whole life to do .


Was there any one film that you saw growing up that sparked the filmmaker inside you?


Apocalypse Now , it is the most impressive film I watched since I was a kid. It is very special which taught me that film could be a kind of  power. 

What would you say has been the most valuable lesson you’ve taken from making I C U?


Making your team and cast as solid as possible , then try all your best , no compromise.  

Is there any advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?


Make sure you make up your mind ,then just do it.

And finally, what is the message you would like your audiences to take from I C U?


To think over the real meaning of our life, cherish it , enjoy it , then let it go.

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