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Xueou Yu highlights Chinese Underground Music in new film

Film, for Xueou Yu, is about maximizing life’s experiences. As a producer and director, she educates and entertains her audiences, allowing them to feel emotions that they may not have felt before immersing themselves in her world, or opening themselves up to learning about an issue they had previously sheltered themselves from. That is just why Yu finds it is such an important medium, and with this approach, she has quickly risen to an internationally sought-after producer and director.


“To me, as a filmmaker, my responsibility is ‘giving answers.’ What I mean is, usually I have some questions about life, but after watching a good film, my questions can be answered. I believe a filmmaker can give answers by making films and I want to do it to make audiences feel a sense of relief. It’s a medicine for my life,” she said.

Throughout her esteemed career, Yu has shown audiences time and time again just what she is capable of. Films like Vincent, Donna, Asa Nisi Masa, and Check have gone on to immense success at many prestigious film festivals because of her efforts and vision. No matter the project she takes on, Yu ensures to be a positive leader for her team and to create works of art that impact viewers.

“Making a film is a collaborative effort and a director is the core in a team. I love working with people, every time I learn different things from different people. A director is creating an entire film from nothing, a totally new world. When people watch your work, it’s like a knowledge exchange to me. You learn from people and people learn from you. If I can get one person to feel they get something from my work I am happy,” said Yu.

Last year, one of Yu’s more recent projects saw great critical acclaim. Her film Ka Ka Ka Ka is about a conspiratorial choir that tries to establish absolute power by destroying the individuality of the Boxmen Troop. Although the choir seems to have accomplished their goal, chaos threatens to erupt at any moment.

Yu was inspired to write this film because of a radio station that often plays Chinese underground bands’ music. One day, she was listening to it and heard a song that she felt very close to, titled “Ka Ka Ka Ka” from a Chinese band called Birdstriking. She decided to create a film that would double as a music video for the song, as she finds there are not enough music videos produced for Chinese underground bands.

“I love the concept of the song. There’s a lyric in it that says, ‘clocks on the wall seem to silence’ and that really resonated with me. The change in the history seems to silence. This brought the idea of history as an absurdist dance. Also, history can be repetitive. The band sings this song ambiguously that you can hardly understand the lyric without reading it. Which to me emphasizes more about the ambiguous part of the history. I can draw the image right away when I listen to it,” she said.

Working on the film was a fun experience for Yu. She came up with the concept by listening to the music and meditating. While on set, everyone was in a good mood from the relaxed atmosphere, always laughing and dancing, and for that, it was extremely memorable for Yu.

“There are not many music videos produced for underground Chinese bands, it felt meaningful to do this because the underground band has many beautiful songs which can go with music videos to promote them. I hope this can be an encouragement for this amazing band. This is a project where we have many actors involved. Many of them gave me sparkle when on the set. One of the core messages that I want to convey from this music video is the difference actions between individuals and group. They totally helped me to bring this idea to life,” she said.

Ka Ka Ka Ka premiered at Silver Sound Showdown 9 Music and Video festival at the Brooklyn Bowl on Jan 17th, 2018. It went on to screen at several festivals, taking home awards at the 2019 Rome Independent Prisma Awards, Top Shorts, Independent Talents International Film Festival, and FilmQuest. The success was inspiring for Yu, who has since been invited to work on many independent videos for bands in her country. She is proud to promote their songs.

Written by Annabelle Lee
Photo by Sissy Wang
Published Mar. 1st, 2019

Xueou Yu highlights Chinese Underground Music in new film Reviewed by JaamZIN on 7:40:00 AM Rating: 5
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