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Cinematographer Zichen Tang shares emotional story in award-winning film

Zichen Tang grew up loving movies, like most children. They were his favorite form of entertainment, and he dreamed of one day being able to entertain the masses with his own cinematic works. He didn’t have to wait long, as he began experimenting with filmmaking in his early teens, quickly learning how to use a camera, where to find equipment, and how to edit his footage. He began immersing himself in the medium, learning all aspects of filmmaking, from writing to visual effects. However, despite this extensive knowledge, he found his passion in cinematography, and has never looked back.


Now, Tang is an industry-leading cinematographer in his home country of China and abroad. He is known for productions like The Somnium, Prince in a Jar, and The Last Lesbian, in which he won several cinematography awards for his work at many prestigious international film festivals.

“One needs to find their purpose and love in this field. Filmmakers have the most difficult job, but at the same time, the happiest job. Although I’m dealing with problems and uncertainties every day, I feel so happy when we figure out a solution for something difficult, and there’s nothing like the feeling of seeing your work playing on the big screen,” said Tang.

Another of Tang’s award-winning works is the emotional drama Passé. The impactful story follows single mom Andrea as she struggles to take care of her eight-year-old son and her father diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She is overwhelmed from the responsibility of being a caregiver. One day, her father wanders off, and as she fears he is missing, she discovers that he went to get breakfast, still believing Andrea is a little girl, remembering his daughter that way.

“The story is touching and gives people mixed feelings. Although Andrea knows that her father has forgotten everyone but her, she has to face the reality that he doesn’t recognize her as she is now. Connections between family are extremely difficult when someone has Alzheimer’s, and Andrea has to constantly be burying her feelings of losing her father in order to take care of him,” said Tang. “I know people with Alzheimer’s and losing one’s memory is horrible. If someone gets physically sick, at least their family stays with them and takes care of them, but with Alzheimer’s, they can’t remember their family, and that is heartbreaking.”

Passé made quite a splash at film festivals last year, taking home awards at Festigious International Film Festival, Independent Shorts Awards, and Top Shorts Film Festival where Tang won Best Cinematography. His work greatly impresses audiences and critics alike and was a driving force in the film’s success.

“It always comes as a surprise, winning an award, even when you know you’ve done a good job. When the film came out, it felt really good. We were so happy for Vivian, the director. I’m also happy for myself. Cinematography wise, I don’t often do a story and project like this one, and yet I won an award for it,” said Tang.

Working on the film was a delight for Tang, who thoroughly enjoyed working with first-time director Vivian He. As He was new to directing, she leaned heavily on the seasoned Tang, who began helping her in script development. She also trusted Tang’s instincts, relying on him to guide her vision.

“Working with these crew members was delightful. Vivian is a people person. She is funny, and really good at gathering us around and doing our work happily. It’s strange in a way, a person like Vivian shooting a serious story like this,” said Tang. “I also got to experiment a bit with my cinematography. Different from a shooting style I usually do, I went for low contrast and realistic style, and did very little during color grading sessions. It worked out very well and aided in telling the emotional story.”

Be sure to check out Passé to be moved by the emotional story, and to see Tang’s award-winning cinematography.

Written by Annabelle Lee
Published on March 26th, 2019

Cinematographer Zichen Tang shares emotional story in award-winning film Reviewed by JaamZIN on 5:51:00 AM Rating: 5
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