2 Local Bai Ethnicity High School Students from Xizhou
1 Documentary Film: “The Soul of the Bai”
1 All American High School Film Festival in New York City
6 Days of Memories for a Lifetime
On Wednesday afternoon in October (the 3rd to be exact), Xiao Juan Yang & Pei Jie Yang, two high school students from Xizhou, stepped off a plane and found themselves in New York City. Prior to embarking on the 15 hour flight, the farthest they had ever traveled was to their neighboring province, Sichuan. The students were in New York to attend the 2018 All American High School Film Festival, where their short documentary film, “The Soul of the Bai,” was to be screened at the AMC Theater in Times Square.
The previous winter, the students had attended the Linden Centre’s pilot Youth Film Workshop. During the workshop students from around China as well as local Dali students came together to participate in a week-long crash course in documentary filmmaking. “The Soul of The Bai” paints a portrait of three Bai locals of different generations in Dali. The film tells their stories within the framework of the traditional tie-dye handiwork and its relationship to the Bai identity. “The Soul of The Bai” was made by three high school students from Yunnan: Xiaojuan Yang, Pei Jie Yang and Henry Tian, and who were instructed by the German filmmaker Daniel Che Herman. Henry is from the AEUA International Academy Kunming and the two girls are from local Wutai high school in Xizhou.
When producing the film, Xiaojuan was responsible for interviewing film subjects, while Peijie did much of the sound recording; both of them also participated in the final editing. They came up with the idea of shooting the tie-dye art of the Bai people as a way to learn their own culture. As the filming progressed, they gradually realized that younger generation of Bai people have a lack of cultural awareness. They want to encourage young generations to explore their cultural heritage and take more action to inherit and pass on their own culture.
It was a whirlwind of a week for Xiao Juan & Pei Jie; they met with Columbia graduate students, toured New York, and walked the red carpet.
Special thanks to the All American High School Film Festival.