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Women’s Perspectives: Young DIRECTOR Veda 女性视角: 青年导演戴维


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.


For someone with a brief career in filmmaking, Chinese director 戴维Veda has already reached a significant milestone: she has directed and filmed over one hundred women. But to her, it’s not about quantity; it’s about quality. Whatever topic her work entails, it’s essential to have depth in its investigation and honesty in its portrayal.


There are a lot of women commercials coming out now. Frankly, I’m a little tired of this,” says Veda. “I think it’s good that gender-positive advertising is booming. But they may need to dive deeper into what diversity really means.” For instance, she liked the recent Proya x China Women’s Daily’s commercial “Gender Is Not a Limit, Prejudice Is” , which brings a lot of perspective.

性别正能量的广告题材能蓬勃发展是件好事,能看到在社交平台上,更多广告开始关注并热衷于女性题材。”戴维告诉我们。“但老实说,有时候相近的表达看多了会有一些审美疲劳,现在可能需要的是更加深入地研究多样性、多元化的真正含义。她最近很喜欢珀莱雅x 中国妇女报的《性别不是边界线,偏见才是》广告影片,视角非常丰富。”

Veda was one of the many women in her filmmaking class in Shanghai Film Academy, Shanghai University. In fact, more women surrounded her than men in her university years. Still, she would occasionally question her aptitude for the task precisely for being a woman. “I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle all the hard work that filmmaking requires, such as the long hours, for example. I also knew that there were not a lot of women directors out there,” she says.


Her genuine passion is for feature films, specifically sci-fi. “A lot of my friends tell me, ‘Veda, you’re like a man,” she laughs at their stereotypical perception. “They say that because of my interests—I prefer to talk about my sci-fi movies and invigorative animation than girlish things.”

她平时最爱的是剧情片,尤其是科幻类。“有很多朋友都跟我说:‘ 戴维,你像个男人。’”对于朋友们的刻板印象,戴维一笑了之:“他们这么说,是因为我的兴趣爱好看起来“男性化”一些,我更喜欢谈论科幻电影和热血动漫,而非姐妹之间的悄悄话。”

Veda’s graduate project was the feature-length film With You Stranger (和陌生的你每一天) that reflects upon our relationship with technology—already from a female perspective. Within the genre, Veda’s style revolves more towards futuristic soulful dramas than hardcore space travel, “still, everyone wants to be [Christopher] Nolan,” she jokes.


As her practice matured, Veda learned to perceive the advantages of being a woman, notably the nuances of having a female gaze. “After I graduated, I found that being a woman is actually a gift—you see the world differently, from distinct angles.”


For many recent film school graduates, specializing in different ways of conveying visual stories through social media leads to more immediate work opportunities. That’s what Veda did when she graduated in 2017. At that time there was a lot of resistance to short video platforms, which she believed could compromise the integrity of the narrative and make viewers lose patience with longer works. “For those of us who graduated at the time, short videos seemed like the ‘enemy. But you know what they say, ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer,‘” she laughs. So having finished working as assistant director for the film Wild Grass, Veda joined a social media company in order to know and understand all about it.


Among other projects, she worked on the three-day record of the editor-in-chief and CEO of Marie Claire China, Alex Sun. A bit later, the film caught the eye of the video editor Yuki at homegrown lingerie brand NEIWAI, where she was invited next to work on a series of expository documentaries.


They said they wanted to build a team to work on a project with a ‘human touch’, Veda recalls. “They wanted to tell stories about women, their lifestyle, and their thoughts.”


At NEIWAI, Veda wore several hats, acting as creative, director, and editor. The brand’s advertising strategy relies on self-expression with the goal of female liberation and empowerment. During her time there, she made several films that challenge the rigorous beauty and behavioral standards expected from Chinese women. She touched on topics like breast sizes, body positivity, and inner strength. The difference from other similar campaigns is that the message comes straight from women’s hearts.


Chinese Under Wear Brand Embracing Body-Positivity 呼吁身体自爱的中国内衣品牌

It’s not just about freckles, having an afro, or being fat. There’s more to it. For the NEIWAI Touch series, we interviewed each woman two or three times. We got to know them and their stories very well,” Veda says. She aimed to bring awareness to these women’s lives, not forcibly but pleasantly. Her NEIWAI films are minimal and delicate. They center on the genuine emotions of the women they portray, through their own words, or else through their gestures and marks—a tattoo, a scar, a smile. They can be funny, refreshing, but also heartbreaking at times.

戴维说:“这不仅仅是有没有雀斑、剪个爆炸头或者胖瘦的问题,我们讨论的还有更多。在《在人海里》这个系列中,每位女性都被采访了到了两到三次,因此我们也非常了解她们和她们背后的故事。” 他们的目的是展现更多样的生活方式和观点,不强行推荐或说服,而是愉悦地分享。《在人海里》系列影片是简约而精致的。该系列聚焦于被刻画女性的真实情感,或通过她们自己的语言,或通过她们的状态和印记:一枚纹身,一个伤疤,一个微笑。她们的故事可能是有趣的、令人耳目一新的,有时也是令人心疼的。

When it comes to diversity, you don’t need to be them; you just need to understand them. Sometimes it’s not that you hate something, it’s just that you lack the knowledge, understanding and communication to notice. So we dig out the emotions and stories that are perhaps too small or too common to be noticed, and let people understand and feel all these things. It’s like sharing a book,” she says.


Veda left NEIWAI after the NEIWAI Touch project,but she continues on the quest to portray women with integrity and empathy, now as a freelancer. Her latest commercial is for Dove, a pioneer in the beauty sector for boosting a woman’s confidence through marketing campaigns.

去年年底,《在人海里》的项目告一段落, 戴维如今作为自由职业者,在完善自己想要叙述的长篇故事的同时,也在努力在广告拍摄中塑造真诚且有共鸣感的女性形象。她最新的广告作品客户是多芬,作为美妆洗护行业的先驱,他们一直在通过市场营销活动来帮助女性提升自信。

Still, Veda doesn’t accept all requests for films with the goal of women’s empowerment. She only takes them when she feels confident that the brand’s message is genuine. Such authenticity has become her hallmark. She presents women from a distinctly female gaze, which makes her work refreshing, distinct from conventional advertising.


As for the road ahead, Veda doesn’t have major plans. She “goes with the flow and enjoys the ride.” But there’s one more thing she wants to accomplish. “Since I shot over one hundred women in one year, I also want to shoot over one hundred men. That way, I can know both,” she laughs.

至于未来的道路,除了一直在创作的长篇剧本,戴维还没有什么其它大计划。她乐于“随波逐流,享受过程。”但她说倒是还有一个里程碑想要完成:“既然我拍了一百位女性,我还想再尝试拍一百位男性。那样的话,我的视角或许会变得异常开阔” 她笑着说。

If you are a female commercial director/cinematographer/production designer/ editor, or you know someone who’s suitable for the series. Feel free to share with us the name.




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