The film has been selected by the 36th Cinéma du Réel in the section of International First Films Competition.
On a steamy summer day in July of 2012 with a temperature climbing above 40 °C , I started to teach photography at Lingzhi Elementary School in Wuhan, China with a group of 23 “migrant children” aged 8-12, since then both the children and me used cameras to explore. Lingzhi is known as the “rooftop” school, because its classes are held in a worn-down, four-floor apartment building with a rooftop playground for about 200 students. All of them are “migrant children” who are originally from rural areas but come with their job seeking parents to urban cities in search of a better life.
When those children migrated to the most populous city in Central China from the tranquil countryside, most of them fell in love with the bustling city, Wuhan at their first glance. They were intrigued by the city life, and tried to get away from the poor family and the genetic past. They were ambitious about the future and had various dreams. Nevertheless, they had to endure miserable living conditions due to the low income of their families and a discriminatory household registration policy known as Hukou. The distance between the innocence of hopes and the brutality of life seems to remind that - would their dreams become pipe dreams?
I was always astounded by how mature children could be. The world in their eyes may be not too different from the one in the adults’ eyes. Their conduct and thoughts may be strongly influenced by the surrounding environment and the society. So I decided to make a film with migrant children. What appealed me was not the modest living conditions they confronted, but the country kid's perceptions and interpretations of cities and the nation’s rapid urbanization. With an attempt to capture the inside views of the children, I gave them cameras and let them become their own advocates.
Production: Burn The Film Production House
Length: 88 min
Shooting Format: HD
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Language : Chinese Dialect
Director: Shengze Zhu
Producers: Zhengfan Yang & Shengze Zhu
Cinematography: Zhengfan Yang & Shengze Zhu
Sound Mix: Siya Huo
Editor: Shengze Zhu & Zhengfan Yang