SHP+ continues on the issue of minor representation of female filmmakers in China. Women’s Perspectives is a series of articles where we interview women filmmakers to give exposure to their name and their work, but also talk about their dreams, challenges and realities of being a woman in the industry.
Young directors are making now waves in the Chinese advertising industry. Many careers have skyrocketed during the pandemic due to closed borders where the industry needed to look inward for local talent instead. Angie Su is, and isn’t one of them.. On one hand, she was born in China, started studying filmmaking here, and did spend most of her time last year shooting in Shanghai. On the other— her career didn’t only start here and she interested in projects overseas, so she does not like to describe herself in the limiting terms of a local director. “I don’t think of myself as a Chinese director, based in China or LA. I want to explore the world, to shoot different things in different countries”, she says. Seeing her reel and understanding her creative values, it’s clear she has a lot to offer as director, not only in China but the world.
Angie Su on set
在目前中国的广告行业，年轻一代导演正在成为时代的弄潮儿。在全球疫情的影响下，封闭的边境迫使整个行业开始关注本土人才，不少人也因此获得了难得的机遇，职业生涯如虎添翼，一飞冲天。而Angie Su却与他们不同……一方面，她的确是根正苗红的中国人，在中国出生，在中国学习电影拍摄，去年也是大部分时间都在上海拍摄；但另一方面，她的事业也不仅仅只在故乡发芽，海外的项目，她也很感兴趣，因此她不愿局限自己，不愿为自己贴上“本土导演”的标签。她告诉我们：“我不认为自己是在中国或洛杉矶工作的中国导演。我想探索这个世界，在不同的国家拍摄不同的东西。” 在看到了她的作品，了解了她的创作价值后，我们深切地感受到，作为导演，她的才华不光是中国的，也是世界的。
“My aesthetic”, “vision”, “experiment”, “storytelling”— like many ambitious young directors in China, Angie holds these characteristics in high regard. Beyond keyword descriptions, Angie is a director who amplifies her style with imperfection, embracing a diverse look and feel. She works hard, but refuses to glorify overworking 24/7, in favor of some form of work-life balance. With a busy schedule and projects flowing her way, now Angie’s also a director who gets to be a picky. In her words, any kind of project consumes a lot of time and energy. So why not just pick the one, where she can somehow show her interest, passion, or explore something new? And so she does.
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For Angie, whose imagination runs in wild, surreal terrains, advertising is a great forum to execute ideas right away. She started in 2016, right after graduating with an MFA degree from Artcenter College of Design in California. She says, she knows herself very well, and from early childhood Angie knew she was a storyteller. She envisioned herself a writer first, but later studying filmmaking, combined both. “A lot of the times I just rewrite the script, no matter from the client or from the agency. That’s one of the first things I’ll ask, joining the project— how much freedom and trust will there be”, Angie shares. Today, her reel is dominated by trendy commercials for mobile phones like Realme, OPPO, imaginative cg worlds of commercials like Bosie, Pepsi, Bilibili, and an occasional stylish food arrangements. The kind of brands that need to stand out, allowing the creatives to chase something unique.
Angie是个想象力狂野，热爱超现实主义的人，对她来说，广告是将创意变为现实的绝佳方式。2016年，刚从艺术中心设计学院（Artcenter College of Design）获得艺术硕士学位的她便开始了工作。她说，她非常了解自己，从孩提时代起，Angie就知道自己是一个讲故事的人。她最初对自己的规划是当一名作家，但后来学习了电影制作，两者就可以兼得了。
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“很多时候，我会重写剧本，不管剧本客户提供的，还是代理给到的。这是我参与项目前，要确认的第一件事，即这个项目会给我多少自由和信任，”Angie分享到。如今，她的作品主要是时尚的手机广告，如Realme, OPPO，或是富有想象力的CG广告，如Bosie, 百事, Bilibili哔哩哔哩，以及偶尔时尚的食品拍摄。这类品牌需要脱颖而出，所以乐于看到特立独行的创意人。
The food metaphor is not accidental. Angie has also experience as a food stylist, and apart from brands like Adidas and Gucci, whom she’d love to collaborate with in the future, she also seeks to get good use of shooting with food again. Her aim is to shoot touching stories, and she’d like to do work for a good cause projects like wildlife protection. Like most commercial directors, she would also like to shoot a feature film somewhere down the road. Angie’s list of aspirations are endless, but for now, she’s known the most for her CG works.
Achill Studio EP Mika, shared in our previous interview that Angie’s experience with CG was crucial to pull off a project like Bosie, where both the budget and time was tight. Everything this director says, she can realize— that’s how Mika described Angie. Low budgets don’t scare her off a project, sometimes she even ends up enjoying the result more. Angie elaborates:
When we ask about her experience as a female director, Angie’s immediate response is quite common for a new generation filmmaker— to date, she hasn’t felt much unfair treatment. It’s almost an afterthought, that only comes to mind when asked directly. Sure, there were more women in her classes both in China and the US while only a few are still in the industry. Indeed, she has came across some stereotypical image of a female directors as “more tender, more sensitive and detail-oriented”. And indeed, she has sometimes experienced prejudice on sets in China where a cinematographer communicated with an EP, chasing to ignoring her. But Angie, like many young directors who live through another global push for gender equality, moves forward without dwelling on any of her negative experiences. She shares:
Today, in times of content over-saturation, maybe even more so.