The Dreams of Jinsha made its East Coast Premiere at The New York International Film Festival (NYICFF) 2011. 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 year’s 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.
Sara Barton: How does it feel to have your film premiere at the (New York International Children’s Film Festival)
It 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 children’s
innocent thoughts and hope that our works will continue to be enjoyed by
Sara Barton: What was your inspiration for this film?
The inspiration for The Dreams of Jinsha came during a visit to the Jinsha Museum. Viewing cultural relics dating back 3,500 years ago, exquisite beyond 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 lightning with this
feeling, which moved me immensely, and in that instant, I “passed through time”, like Xiao Long in the film.
Sara Barton: What drove you to become an animator?
I’ve liked 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.
Sara Barton: 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
Sara Barton: 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?
This scene 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
Sara Barton: 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 influenced 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.
Sara Barton: What’s next for the future?
We are 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.
Sara Barton: Will the film be released in the US?
Regarding the screening of The Dreams of Jinsha in the US, we are currently in talks with a US distribution company, so watch this space!
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