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Avant-garde director Zhang Shanshan depicts the complexity of time in films(3)

2023-09-21 Editor : Mo Honge ECNS App Download
The Foam film still (Photo provided to ECNS)

From China to the U.S.: seeking in spiration from changes

"I started my journey of arts in China. During my undergraduate studies, I delved into traditional film screenwriting, filming techniques, and post-production processes, to explore a variety of themes," Zhang said. 

After obtaining a bachelor's degree in Television Editing and directing at the Communication University of China, Nanjing in 2014, she continued her studies in the United States and started to systematically study experimental films. In 2019,she received a master's degree in Filmmaking at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She moved to New York City after graduationand expanded her creative horizons with contemporary art. Since then, she has combined video art, installation, performance, and space art with higher artistic effects. 

On April 10, 2019, Paradise Program, a narrative sci-fi short film directed by Zhang, premiered at the Parkway Theatre in Baltimore, MD.Thisfilmbuildsupa near-futureworld where human memory can be fully recorded and developed electronically and the program can "think" like a living individual, which in turn gives rise to eternal mental existence.

This film received 10 nominations at different film festivals around the world and won many awards, such as Best Sci-Fi Short Film/Female Director Honorable Mention/Best Lead Actor/Best Art Direction/Editing Honorable Mention/Best Production in South Film and Arts Academy Festival, Chile and the Best Short Film/Best LGBTQ Film in Platonic Film Competition, India. 

The short film has also been screened on the East and West coasts of the United States and in Rome and exhibited in Amsterdam, Paris, and Brussels this summer. During her creation of Paradise Program, Zhang realized for the first time that artists carry significant societal responsibility . and that art should be presented in a more diverse and warm manner. Meanwhile, artwork should also focus on the future. 

Paradise Program Premiere (Photo provided to ECNS)

As a matter of fact, beyond the films Paradise Program and The Foam, she also tried to seek innovation in her experimental short film, NYC Dream. She created the film within six months, reflecting the human aspects of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. In addition, her poetic short film Routine, documentary Snail, narrative short film Tutti, and film Synthetic Lovers, in which she served as director of photography, poetic short film 11,565 Kilometers, in which she served as colorist, and comedy short film Beard Balm,in which she served as the Gaffer,allreceived unanimous compliments from the film crew members and recognition from industry experts.


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