58th Semaine de la Critique | 2019
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In an ordinary Chinese winter, a small city junior high student, YU, tries to quit her school aerobic dancing team.

Hi Qiu Yang, it's great to talk to you again, how's everything going?

It's going well, I just finished the post-production of the short, so it's about to get back to working on my feature project.

What does it mean to be at the Semaine de la Critique 2019 with She Runs?

I think it's a testimony for the efforts that the crew and cast put into making this film. It was one of the most challenging production I have gone through.

As this is your World Premiere does it add extra pressure on you or are you able to relax?

I'm just happy it's going to have a great platform to be introduced to the world, for the first time. And I'm not thinking about anything else, and the film is done, my work is finished. So I'm just going to enjoy the festival and think about the next project.

You're no stranger to Cannes what was your first experience at the festival like?

My first time would be 2015 with Under the Sun in the Cinéfondation competition. It was exciting but at the same time very disorienting. I just finished my university and never really experience such a massive event. We were running around trying to watch all the films and meet as many people as we can.

Can you tell me a little bit about She Runs, how did this film come about?

It's a story of a junior high school girl in a small Chinese city, who's also part of the school aerobics dancing team. But she's also trying to quit the team.

"Pick carefully the people you show your work to for feedback when you’re doing a film."

What was the inspiration behind this film?

The story was inspired by my past, as I used to be my primary school's marching band. And when I was trying to quit the team, it caused a lot of drama as it had been seen as betrayal behaviour to the "team”.

What was the most challenging part of bringing She Runs to life?

All our locations are public own places, schools, hospital etc. It's a nightmare to get them to agree for us to use their places. Because it's China, there's no system to apply this sort of things. We have to use personal connections to get those places, and there's never guarantees. Also working with students, to deal with parents, which is the least problem, but deal with schools, teachers, it was complicated to get them to cooperate with the film shoot.

What was the most valuable lesson you've taken from making this film?

Although the process of shooting the film was complicated, I think I've learned valuable experiences in working with child actors. And it is one of the reasons why I wanted to make this film.

Has filmmaking always been a passion for you?

No, not before I attended my film school.

How much has your approach to your films changed since your debut film?

I see them as a way for me to experiment with new things, both in storytelling, working with the actor, and visual language ways. So it's part of the learning process, to gain all the experience.

Is there any advice you've been given that's stuck with you?

Always have enough sleep.

Do you have any advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker making their debut at Cannes this year?

Just enjoy, watch films and make friends.

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from She Runs?

I'd be happy already if anyone would take away anything.

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