Whenever Film Editor Yiqing Yu takes on a new project, it is like embarking on a new adventure. Going through the footage provides a rush, figuring out how to put all the pieces of the puzzle together to create a true masterpiece. Her craft is a combination of artistry, problem-solving, and storytelling. Acting as the final screenwriter in a sense, editors function as the hands of the director, shaping the film into the best version possible. It is this sense of creativity that drives Yu, and why she loves waking up and getting to work every day.
“I enjoy the adventurous aspect of editing as well as the collaborative part of being an editor. One cannot emphasize enough the importance of communicating with the director, producer, and cinematographer when they are in the post-production process. Filmmaking is a team effort, and the editor is a crucial element to tie all the creativity together and make the story shine on screen,” she said.
Yu has a vastly impressive and versatile resume. She recently worked on the documentary First, We Eat, which dives into the impact of COVID 19 on the California Chinese community through the eyes of a Chinese restaurant, keeping herself busy during the pandemic. Last year, the film Jane that she edited also premiered on Hulu, available to its 38.8 million subscribers. Other accolades include taking home the Bronze Award for Best Editing at the Independent Shorts Awards for her work on Under the Flag, and working closely with the well-acclaimed music video director James Lees (his work has screened at Sundance, European Film Academy Awards, SXSW, Clermont-Ferrand, Seattle, AFI Fest, Hot Docs, Cork and more), and Gustavo Dudamel, the Music and Artistic Director at LA Phil, to present videos of live performances from LA Phil musicians and guest artists like Andra Day, J’Nai Bridges, Kamasi Washington and Chicano Batman.
Working with notable filmmakers is no new experience for Yu, who teamed up with Oscar-nominee Majid Majidi (Children of Heaven, Color of Paradise) on the film Chase the Wind. Majidi produced the film and it was directed by the award-winning Chinese filmmaker Jiangzhou Ren, whose previous film Deep in the Heart was exhibited and shown in 17 film festivals worldwide in 2015, including the Venice International Film Festival and Warsaw Film Festival, and won 12 grand awards. It was also the highest scoring Chinese film in 2015.
“Working with Ren on this project was a rewarding opportunity. We shared stories about our experiences working in the Chinese and American film industries, and were connected by our passion of telling universal stories about human emotions and relationships through films,” said Yu.
Chase the Wind follows a boy named Xiaoshan, who lives with his alcoholic father on the mountain and takes care of his poor family by himself. However, his father Dachuan does not appreciate him. While Xiaoshan is trying to pursue his dream of being a track runner for the Olympics, he and his father are bonded by a series of events that occur along the way. When their relationship finally becomes closer than ever, Xiaoshan suddenly falls into illness, and this tragedy unfolds into a big secret.
“It’s a story about family and love, and it’s also about chasing your dream. I always strongly relate to family relationships, possibly due to growing up in Asian culture,” said Yu.
On set, Yu had two roles, both as the editor and the assistant editor during the intense shoot. She worked long nights, backing up the footage right after the team finished shooting every day, syncing the video to sound files, and organizing all of their media assets. During the daytime, she would edit the scenes shot the previous day. This effort was critical to the team’s time management, and allowed the director and the cinematographer to view the cut before they picked up filming again the next day and determine whether they needed to re-shoot anything before moving on. Yu’s work on set allowed for a more efficient and smoother shoot, and her editing created great rhythm for the film and showcased the story’s emotional strength, making her “irreplaceable” according to Jiangzhou Ren.
Chase the Wind is set to release in theaters in China in 2021 but has already been selected into Shanghai International Film Festival’s Best WIP Projects in 2020. The film has also won the Best Director Award and Best Child Actor Award at the Jin Tong Xiang Children’s Film Festival 2020.
“I am extremely happy for the director and I’m very proud. I hope this early success of our film can help more Chinese indie filmmakers find ways to showcase their talent and their hard work and bring more impressive and high-quality films to the Chinese film industry,” said Yu.
Be sure to keep an eye out for Chase the Wind when it hits theatres later this year. Yu is also currently working on a film called ¡Llámame Chinita!, which tells the story about a Chinese woman who goes on holiday to Ensenada, Mexico to get away from her noisy personal life during the 2020 pandemic, as well as the dramedy feature Your Boy, about a young fisherman from small-town China that reaches for the rap star dream; his unlikely success makes him a viral sensation, but he quickly finds himself struggling to hang onto his celebrity and his sanity. The director and writer of the film, Jiawei Cheng, is working with the acclaimed American production company Shondaland for the development of the script. Yu has a lot on the go, and you’re not going to want to miss any of it.