The Dreams of Jinsha, made its East Coast Premiere at The New York International Film Festival (NYICFF). Five years in the making, it’s mainland China’s first hand-drawn animated film. It was one of the 15 films to qualify for the Best Animated Feature at this years Oscar’s. The film is a blend of Chinese history/mythology in a time travel fantasy adventure- as Xiao Long, a young boy from Bejing, is hurled back in time to 3,000 year’s to the Jinsha Kingdom and finds himself at the center of an ancient prophecy. Xiao must make the difficult choice of risking his life to save the Kingdom of Jinsha. It’s an epic masterpiece; a visually breath-taking film inspired by the works of the legendary Hayao Miyazaki. Thanks to the wonderful people at NYICFF, Samurai Beat Radio was given the opportunity to an exclusive with the director Chem Deming.
SB: How does it feel to have
your film premiere at the (New York International Children’s Film Festival)
gave us a lot of encouragement that American children who watched The Dreams of Jinsha at the NYICFF
enjoyed the film. They liked Xingxing,
the dog in the story, very much, and asked several questions about him, such as
what breed he was, and if they looked after a dog would they then be able to go
back in time to ancient civilization. And this also gave us a lot of new
creative inspiration. So in our future works, we hope to make use of childhood’s
innocent thoughts, and hope that our works will continue to be enjoyed by
SB: What was your inspiration for this
for The Dreams of Jinsha came during
a visit to the Jinsha Museum. Viewing cultural relics dating back 3,500 years
ago, exquisite beyong comparison, I could sense the high-level civilization of
that age. Humans, animals and nature growing together, gradually becoming
glorious through a beautiful process. I felt struck by lightening with this
feeling, which moved me immensely, and
in that instant, I “passed through time”, like Xiao Long in the film.
SB: What drove you to become an animator?
drawing ever since I was young, and after many years, I finally had the
opportunity to use the art of animation to realize the dream within me. The Dreams of Jinsha was my first film,
so it was this film that turned me into an animator.
SB: Over the years studios have preferred
to create 3D animated films; recently 2D animated films are making a comeback.
What are your thoughts on this? Which method do you prefer? & Why?
2D and 3D are
just different forms of showing film images, and as different artistic
techniques, they can exist together, and both have their advantages. Just like
photography and paintings, during the early stages of photography, there were
people who predicted that paintings would be replaced. However, it remains that
paintings still have their own space to exist. I have always believed that,
whatever display style one chooses, the key is to see what style most suitably
fits the film’s content. Personally, I prefer 2D, because of its brushwork and
SB: In one of the scenes Xiao Long notices
a piece of paper on his desk is floating in the air. 3D animation is usually
used for this type of effect.How were you able to do it in 2D animation? What
was the process?
depicts Xiao Long’s fond memories of
Jinsha City. First of all, we observed the motions of a piece of paper floating
through the air to figure out the movements and directions. Only through
deciphering the directions of the changes of perspectives, could we create a
SB: Several critics have noticed that your
film has many similarities to Miyazaki’s work; would you say he’s been an
artistic influence? Also are there any other artists who’ve influence your
I think that
the standard of “beauty” is the same around the world. I like Miyazaki’s works,
they’re very beautiful. Spielberg’s films I like even more – he puts more
thinking into the dimensions of human nature.
SB: What’s next for the future?
already working on a series of follow-ups to The Dreams of Jinsha – a second
film entitled 《天鹿回家》Tianlu
Huijia (English title
yet to be decided), and a television series version of The Dreams of Jinsha. In the meantime, we also have a plan to bring
out film-related memorabilia and books bearing the film’s name. For example,
the first book of the film’s book series is already out.
SB: Will the film be released in the
screening of The Dreams of Jinsha in
the US, we are currently in talks with a US distribution company, so watch this
Thank you Mr. Deming, it has been a pleasure. We look forward to seeing The Dreams of Jinsha released in the US.
Translated by: John Burton