Flowering Season: An Interview with Zhang Hai


Tell us about yourself. What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

小时候学习绘画,大学时期学习平面设计与现代艺术,对艺术形式多样化的探索学习使我从平面设计领域往多媒体、动画、数码影像方向发展,最后被电影这门综合的艺术形态与表达方式深深吸引。那时很喜欢美国导演斯皮尔伯格的《E.T.外星人》、《第三类接触》,影片给了我不小的触动,2004年开始让我有了拍电影的想法,要拍一部中国没有的电影,于是开始创作《大地精灵噜啦》,这是我写的第一部电影剧本,后来改变成了小说。当我们都还是孩童时,都曾在深夜仰望过星空,会指着某一颗星星问:那是哪里?


I learned painting in my childhood. I studied graphic design and modern art in my university. With the experience in diverse forms of art, I can go beyond the boundary of graphic design and develop my skills in multimedia, animations and digital video. Finally, I was deeply fascinated by film, a comprehensive form of art and expression. At that time, I liked Steven Spielberg’s films E.T. and Close Encounter of the Third Kind. I was greatly shocked by the two films. In 2004, I came up with the idea of making a film which was never made. So, I started writing my first screenplay "Spirit of the Earth Lula". Last, this screenplay was adapted into a fiction.

When we are kids, we must have watched the starry sky in the deep night. We would point at a star and ask, “Where is it?”



Talk about your last work. What are some of the challenges you faced during production?

新冠疫情使得很多事情只能延后和放弃。新电影人在找投资上会很困难。在很低的制作预算下,尽可能的去提升质量。很多事情都需要自己去学去做,让自己各方面变得更加专业。


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many things to be postponed and abandoned. New filmmakers can have a hard time finding funding. As much quality as possible on a very low production budget. A lot of things need to learn to do, so that their various aspects become more professional.



What makes you want to tell stories? In other words, what are the themes/issues you want to incorporate into your work?

传统文化与灵性成长。我觉得可以进行多元文化的探讨与结合,比如用西方的观影方式制作一部讲述东方文化与哲学理念的影片。用西方的电影制作与运营经验来开发更多的东方故事与中国故事。


Traditional culture and spiritual growth. I think we can explore and combine the elements of diverse culture. For example, make a film in the way for western audience to tell a story about Eastern culture and philosophical ideas。 In one word, to apply the film making and operating experience to develop more Eastern and Chinese stories.



Please tell us about your vision and your method of approaching a new project?

我希望在未来几年中,不断有新的作品(短片和长片)制作完成。能在国际电影节上有更好的成绩。新的项目会根据现有的条件和不多的预算,我会先找有兴趣的演员,然后和演员一起交流共同来完成剧本。


I hope that in the coming years, new works (short and feature) will continue to be made. Can have better results in international film festivals. The new project will be based on the existing conditions and limited budget. I will first find actors who are interested, and then communicate with them to complete the script together.


Who are your filmmaking influencers? What are the films that were influential for you?

Steven Spielberg: E.T., Close Encounter of the Third Kind, Purple, Schinder’s List and Saving Private Ryan

Alfred Hitchcock: Rear Window, North by Northwest and the Birds

Ingmar Bergman: Wild Strawberries

Federico Fellini: Eight and a Half

Clint Eastwood: Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino

Wu Yonggang: Goddess

Cai Chusheng: The Song of Fishermen

Akira Kurosawa: Dream, The Seven Samurai, In the Woods, Chaos

Hirokazu Koreeda:Our Little Sister,Shoplifters,Nobody Knows

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi:Drive My Car,Wheel Of Fortune And Fantasy

Park Chan-wook: Old Boy

Sang-soo Hong:The Woman Who Ran

Santosh Sivan: Ashoka the Great



How do you think the industry is changing? How has COVID affected independent filmmaking/creation?

COVID给整个行业带来了危机与重新分配资源的机会。新旧的交替。很多影片会因为资金问题和周期问题无法正常进行,片源会大量减少。需要更好的控制成本,保证艺术水平的同时降低成本。


COVID-19 has created a crisis and an opportunity to reallocate resources across the industry. The alternation of old and new. Many films will not be able to proceed normally due to financial problems and cycle problems, and the number of films will be greatly reduced.We need to better control the cost and reduce the cost while ensuring the artistic level.



What advice would you give to aspiring artists? What are some of the things they must follow/avoid?

多去实践和尝试。自信、谦虚。从自己能做的开始。从一个个小的胜利开始。


Practice and experiment. Confident and humble. Start with what you can do. Start with small victories.


Do you think films/stories can bring about a change in the world?

以前觉得会,现在觉得可以改变小部分人和事。


I thought it would, but NOW I think it can change a few people and things.


What do you think people like to watch these days? Has the pandemic changed people's taste?

喜剧、轻快、反映现实生活、奇观另类、灵性有关的影片。

疫情让更多人选择网上观看影片,但是疫情过后大家还是会回到电影院去看电影。疫情让人们的关注点暂时有所不同。


Comedy, light, reflect real life, spectacular alternative, spirituality related film.

The pandemic has led more people to watch movies online, but people are still going back to the cinema after the pandemic. The pandemic has temporarily changed the focus of attention.



Please tell us about your upcoming projects.

《东方圣母陈靖姑》纪录片和《墨香传》周易纪录片都在后期制作中。

《鹤惊昆仑》今年计划拍摄,一部现代中国功夫短片,同时也是电影的样片。一个都市女侠的成长故事。

《双子座》院线电影今年计划拍摄,讲述一位美女作家为了寻找生命意义,灵魂互换的故事。

《心灵归处》院线电影筹备中,一个国际合拍电影,英文对白,一个关于移民家庭在中国的故事。

我们准备在上海做一个短片周的活动,帮助更多的中国青年导演走向国际电影节。


《Madonna of the East Jinggu Chen》Documentary and《The Legend of Mo Xiang》Book of Changes Documentary is in post production.

《The Crane of Kunlun》a short modern Chinese kung fu film that also serves as a sample film. The coming-of-age story of a Kung fu girl.

《Gemini 》 the story of a beautiful writer whose souls swap as she searches for meaning in life.

《The Family Of Soul》 an international co-production film in preparation, English dialogue, a story about an immigrant family in China.

We are going to hold a short film week in Shanghai to help more young Chinese directors go to international film festivals.


IMDb