ISA award-winning Chinese director Li Lo-Tien: “I can film anything I want”

Monster City

Monster City

Awarded Platinum Best Film Noir Short and Best Crime Short, “Monster City” is an incredibly fast-paced film shooted in Beijing. A brilliant example of the new independent Chinese film production coming from the hands of a film student.

Li Lo-Tien

Li Lo-Tien

Li Lo-Tien was born in Taipei, Taiwan, on October 4, 1986. He graduated from the Department of Radio, Television and Film of Shin Hsin University and received his Bachelor’s Degree. He graduated from the Screenwriting Department of Beijing Film Academy and received the Master’s Degree. He is a Ph.D. student of the Director Department of Beijing Film Academy. He began to publish novels and short films on magazines and TV during his college years. His short film works include “The Afternoon of June” and “Loss of Temperature”.

ISA: “Monster City”. What it’s about?

Li Lo-Tien: This film describes that Zhang Bing was a frustrated senior student majoring in journalism. He accidentally photographed a murder case, only to find that the murderer had such strong backing as to hide the case from the masses. Eager to uphold justice, Zhang Bing, in order to expose the murder, began to seek help from others. However, in this process, he was crushed by the indifference of others bit by bit and the beast in his deep heart was also awakened bit by bit…

ISA: What did you want to tell to the audience with “Monster City”?

LLT: It is a black film that describes the interplay among city, collective environment and individual’s feeling. Instead of criticizing the society, it focuses more on self-criticism. When creating this role, I unconsciously modeled it after myself.  There was also a beast living in my heart and it was finally awakened. Today, after completing this film, I feel that I have atoned for my sin and got relieved because I finally demonstrated sins in my heart.

Monster CityISA: This is a student film but it doesn’t seem so. How a film student becomes involved in such an ambitious and big project?

LLT: Although it is a student movie, it greatly arouses my ambition to create. Because there will be no restriction imposed on my work. Nor do I have to worry about box office or the pressure of censorship. So, I can film anything I want.

On the set of "Monster City"

On the set of “Monster City”

ISA: Do you have any advice for other independent filmmakers, particularly for the newcomers?

LLT: I think the writer and producer should not show too much concern for his identity or nationality. Instead of constraining himself within the frame, he should focus more on what interests him.

ISA: And now, what’s next?

LLT: I am a Taiwan-born director and graphic photographer living in Beijing. I also visit Chicago frequently. In the future, I hope to develop my career in America.

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