Patron of la Fabrique Cinéma 2022 de l'Institut français
When looking at yourself now, try to look back as you may be the result of what you have intentionally or unintentionally done over the years.
Ten years ago, The Road to Mandalay was selected for La Fabrique. On 16 May 2012, I arrived in Cannes. The weather was so beautiful that I was tempted to swim in the sea; at least, a stroll on the beach would be nice. Eight days later, I left Cannes without going for a swim or a stroll; in fact, I could not swim but the main reason was that I had endless meetings on top of the master classes. I remember one day I had up to fifteen meetings, talking to people working in all aspects of filmmaking. I learned a lot from the exchange, and it helped me better understand the freedom and the restrictions on filmmaking. Such realisation is especially important for filmmakers like me who insist on having creative freedom while working in a region where countless restrictions are imposed on film. We must be aware of these restrictions and find “freedom” within them.
In the blink of an eye, ten years have passed.
In 2019, I returned to Cannes with Nina Wu. Though I had learned to swim, I still had no time for it, but at least, I went for a stroll, feeling lucky that I could keep making films.
In 2020, the global pandemic stopped me from shooting a new film. In 2021, the political turmoil in Myanmar jeopardised another film set in the country. Meanwhile, as my family and friends back home all had COVID, I felt extremely anxious. Facing the unpredictable world, I felt powerless. Then I came to realise that making films was the only thing I could do for the world, and therefore I began writing a new script. I feel so passionate as if I had transformed back to the novice, sitting in the La Fabrique pavilion, drinking coffee, looking out to the sea and getting ready to face all the difficulties. We are bound to run into all kinds of restrictions, but I believe that we will eventually find freedom within them.
In 2022, Midi Z, patron of La Fabrique Cinéma will be mentoring the 10 directors in the developement of their first or second feature film.
Midi Z was born in 1982 in the border city of Lashio, in Myanmar. Midi Z moved to Taiwan aged 16 to study commercial printing and industrial design, and later learned filmmaking on his own. With his long-term interest in Chinese diaspora and his own relocation experience, he depicts the realities of life struggles in the Sinophonic communities in Myanmar. He has touched on issues such as drug-trafficking, illegal immigration, jade mining, and desperate poverty. His production budget is low and he takes a guerilla approach in shooting in order to evade the censorship of the Burmese government. But his works, full of fresh energy, reveal formal rigour, meticulous narrative structure, and crafted camerawork. Drawing inspiration from his personal experience, he has developed a distinctive style in his authentic, intimate, and compassionate portraits of people.
In 2011, Return to Burma, Midi’s debut feature, was nominated at the Busan New Currents and Rotterdam Tiger Competitions. In 2014, Ice Poison was selected at Berlinale and also won Best International Film at the Edinburgh Film Festival and represented Taiwan as the official entry film for the Academy Awards. In 2016, The Road to Mandalay won the Best Feature Film FEDEORA Award at the Venice Film Festival. In addition, Midi has made three documentaries, including City of Jade, which premiered at the 2016 Berlinale and was nominated for Best Documentary at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards as well as the Taipei Golden Horse Awards and won the Special mention award at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, and 14 Apples, which was screened at the 2018 Berlinale. His latest film Nina Wu was selected at the Festival de Cannes in 2019.
Picture © Seashore Image Productions