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International Filmmaker Wendi Sun Brings World’s Together in Lost

“As a filmmaker from China but who earned a filmmaking degree in the United States, I have a great appreciation for different cultures. I’d like to create more films that present these two different cultures to the world, illuminating how we are alike in many ways, ways that are not always displayed. I believe that film is powerful and can help mankind become closer, abandoning prejudices and leading to greater understanding.” There words of film producer Wendi Sun illuminate a sense of hope that the world is much in need of these days. Tension among different countries and different peoples seems to be on a never ending incline in so much of the world; Wendi believes that film can be the experiential “connective tissue” that provides an opportunity to know those not like yourself. As producer of the film Lost, Sun helped create a story that literally showed people of other cultures in the most bonded of all relationships, parent and child. Written and directed by Zheng Huang, Lost has received recognitions at such esteemed events as the Asian World Film Festival and was screened at the Festival De Cannes.

Producer Wendi Sun

Lost is the tale of Michael, an American boy who grows up in China after being separated from his mother while in the country. Taken in by a native Mongolian named Mr. Wu who becomes his de facto father, Michael comes to think of himself as Chinese, adopting the language and cultural ideas Mr. Wu teaches him. When his mother comes for him, Michael discovers that she has been desperately searching for him all these years and Mr. Wu had hidden the letters she sent. Torn between anger over this and the love he has for this father figure who cared for him, Michael must decide which parent and which culture he truly feels he belongs with. 

The core of this film is the relationship of Michael and Mr. Wu and the chemistry between the two actors portraying them. Producer Sun confirms that this was a challenge and a great success for the production. He relates, “We knew that the actors in both of these roles had to bring the audience into their family situation. We did extensive casting for the role of Michael and we were so fortunate to find Zack, an American actor who not only had the innocent quality we wanted but whom also speaks Chinese and is deeply interested in Chinese culture.” While he may be only somewhat familiar to US audiences, Gangre Mu’er as Mr. Wu is well-known in China for his roles in a number of films such as Little Big Soldier starring Jackie Chan, Flying Swords of Dagon Gate starring Jet Li, Painted Skin starring Zhou Xun, Resurrection starring Yun-Fat Chow, and many others. Wendi confirms, “We were so excited to have Gangre Mu’er in the film. He portrayed Mr. Wu as having this reserved manner and poor expression, firm and indomitable. This is precisely what Chinese parents are like. It was the perfect contrast to Michael’s mother in the story as she is so affectionate and articulate.”

The Mongolian terrain is on display throughout the film with all of its beauty and simultaneous harshness. Primarily shot in the prairies near Ulanqub of the Inner Mongolia Province of China, drones were often used to capture the vastness of the region. Wendi concedes that the area is challenging, noting at least one case of altitude sickness that effected the cast and the filming schedule. The price of such passion and beauty as contained in a film like Lost is not without its physical demands. Producer Wendi Sun notes, “We certainly had to work through obstacles to get the results we attained for this film but I think they were well worth it. Lost is important in communicating that love doesn’t always look the same to all people but its goal is the same, to take care of those you hold dear. Lost is a story of cross-cultural love. Both Mary [Michael’s American mother] and Mr. Wu want to give the very best to Michael. Each has a deep and sincere love for this boy and witnessing how it is offered gives insight into how these two cultures are different but very much alike as well.”

Author: Patrick Wilson
International Filmmaker Wendi Sun Brings World’s Together in Lost Reviewed by JaamZIN on 8:11:00 AM Rating: 5
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