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On the Other Side: Producer Yuanhao Du's Creative Approach

Producer Yuanhao on set

New experiences; there’s a great deal of interest in this, at least for those with a zest for life. Ironically, producer Yuanhao Du has used this to help create a film about death and what happens after. A facet of the making of On the Other Side, which Yuanhao produced, was his decision to invite potential investors to the set to watch the filming. At times, the investors were even allowed directly on set and invited to make suggestions about the shot they would like to create. In doing this, Yuanhao set the table for investors to desire a bit of ownership in the production and simultaneously scratched their creative itch. In thinking out-of-the-box, Yuanhao realized the creative vision that he shared with his cast and crew while attracting a number of financiers into the fold. Many filmmakers see the finances as a difficult part of the creative process and engage in it begrudgingly but Yuanhao fully embraced this, with outstanding results. On the Other Side was an Official Selection of the SDC Film Festival and received recognitions including the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Calcutta International Cult Film Festival, and Semi-Finalist at the Independent Talents International Film Festival. Though he reinforces these accolades are reassuring to him, Yuanhao relates, “I feel the biggest success is that we earned the trust of our investors and got a bigger budget for the following project. We all had a good time for making this film and built positive personal relationships that are incredibly valuable for independent filmmakers.”

Yuanhao has cultivated a reputation in the industry for simultaneously being a “team player” and improvising. He’s a passionate filmmaker who will go to great ends to create a film he believes in. For this producer, bringing potential investors onto the set to experience the production first hand was simply a way to keep the ball rolling in the right direction. Though his crew voiced concern over visits effecting the shoot, Yuanhao reassured them that it would not do so. He recalls, “It’s definitely unusual to have visitors on the set but it doesn’t have to be disruptive. With proper organization, investors were able to come and experience the excitement of movie making without altering our work flow in any way. They were excited, which I think reminded our team how exciting their work actually is. This was very much a win-win scenario. I repeated this process throughout the film, including during editing. This unorthodox approach really helped to raise the level of what we were able to do because I was able to bring so many investors under-the-tent.”

Yuanhao is particularly passionate about the subject matter of On the Other Side and was excited to explore it. The story takes place between two main characters who meet in a bar; an old man who is sick and near death and a young man who is a photographer. The elderly man feels death approaching and has escaped the hospital for one last drink. The young photographer strikes up a conversation and the two share personal stories, devoid of any insecurities. While the dying man sees the events of his life as tragic, the youth slowly persuades him that it has not been such a bad life; in fact, it has been quite a beautiful experience. Realization comes over the ailing old man and he understands that this photographer is actually death in human form, come to take him to the next transition. Producer Yuanhao communicates his ideas about the importance of the story, “I like the idea about the way that how death takes people`s life away. We usually think death is horrible and scary but maybe it`s beautiful. The reason why we are afraid of death is because we can’t let go. The best way to overcome the fear of death is enjoying your life and treasuring the opportunities you have.”

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