2014 director Maggie.JPG

Cannes Film Festival
Short Film Corner 2021

MAGGIE LEE 
2014
AUSTRALIA - 18 min

2014 is a magical realism short film about death, life, and farewell. Once upon a time, there was a little whale wants to find the end of the world, during the trip, she meets an elephant, the elephant tells her, only she can decide where her world ends…

 

Hi Maggie, thanks for talking to The New Current, how have you been keeping during these very strange Covid times? 

Hello. I’ve come back to China and the vaccine is taken by majority of people, so it seems there is no COVID anymore. But last year, before I made this short film, Sydney was in lockdown for a while. I just stayed home and took online course.

Has this time offered you any new creative opportunities?

Sure, because staying home has given me more time to watch films and reading. I’ve read Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude and I became obsessed by the story, that’s why I decided to make this magical realism film 2014.

Congratulations on having 2014 part of this years Short Film Corner, how does it feel to be able to present your film at a physical film festival?

I’m so honoured that my film can be involved in film festivals, it’s a good opportunity for me to have more people see what is going on in my mind.

Will there be any nerves ahead of a film festival like Cannes?

Yeah...the waiting time kills me!

What as the inspiration behind 2014?

Oh that’s a long story, I wanted to be an actor before I became a director. Since I study at Taiwan Shih Hsin University as an exchange student in 2016 I change my mind and my directing career start from that period. Because I’ve seen my professor’s project, about memorialise his father, I found that I can also do something for my father. When my father left me at 2014 I had no chance to see him one last time, that’s my repentance forever. So after several years study, through 2 Master’s degree, I thought I finally have “enough” (at least for now) professional skills to make this film.

 

In 2014, the young lady is myself in the film and I also appear in the film as the person who passes the room key of 2014 to her, it’s like I pass her a chance to make my own regret in my own film. I love this part.

2014 poster2.jpg

"Say goodbye when you apart with anyone coz you never know if this is the one last time."

How close did you keep to the screenplay it when you started shooting? 

I think it’s 95 percent at least, I’m satisfied with my short film 2014 because when I wrote the script, there were images one by one in my mind, and we spend a lot of time to find the location, actors, and buy props from China.

But there is still one regret I have. I wanted a prop which is a road sign pointing East, but due to some reason we did not get that before shooting. If you watch carefully you can discover that before she say goodbye to her father she always turn left, because in China, we have an old saying: People died going to the Western Elysium

What was the most challenging scene for you to film?

I think it’s the scene of father and daughter talking with paper cup telephone. We shot that scene 2 times due to the weather and issues with the projectors. Actors were freezing and it was raining the 1st time and a lot of wind when we re shoot part of this scene.

Oh and also about the scene when the young lady say goodbye to her father, the temperature was too high she has no emotion and stress. I hide behind her seat asking her about sad things she experienced when she talk about her little puppy dying when she was young, she started to crying and I just said: Go! Then we finished this ‘goodbye’ scene.

There were so many challenges. Can you imagine that our protagonist has no driving licence? She just knew a little about driving but I like her too much so we decide take adventure but all the shots she driving was shooting on the safe road. Our DP taught her driving and now she says she can get license after shooting haha, she drives very well.

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

The beginning, due to schedule we shoot this scene cursory. I wanted a shot to follow the car then the car turns to left and would be shielded by the tree as we take the audience into the story, but I did not make it.

Have you always had a passion for directing? 

Yeah, although there always have difficulties, convincing the team members to agree on my point, writing stories, looking for locations, actors, blah blah blah...

But I still love to be director! I can build my world and make it visually, it gives me a sense of achievement.

Now you can be reflective what advice would you offer a fellow filmmaker?

Like the slogan? Just...do it! Hahha, just kidding. 

Just one thing, a producer is very very very important for making film. 

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from your film?

Treasure the time you spend with parents, never do things you might be regret in the future. Say goodbye when you apart with anyone coz you never know if this is the one last time.