Interview with Director Yantong ZHU (MY MILK CUP COW)

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK for the Short Film MY MILK CUP COW:

Matthew Toffolo interviews director Yantong ZHU:

Matthew: What motivated you to make this film?

Yantong: My Milk Cup Cow is made as an graduation film of my MA in Tokyo University of the Arts. I thought that it is the best time for me to make this film, which I thought for many years, make a film about father. I was inspired by my father a lot when I was a child. I think he showed me what the best father did for a child. I wanted to turn my memory into something, that’s why I started to make this film.

Matthew: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

Yantong: About 2 years.

Matthew: This film feels so much like a real life story. It has a documentary feel to it. Is this based on your real life?

Yantong: Yes, it is based on my childhood with my father. We are in a single family at that time, but I remember my father gave me a very happy childhood with full of imagination. That story about the cow is real, I hated to drink milk when I was a child, so he pushed me and told that lie. I tried to make this more like a story, not just a documentary of my childhood, which maybe not enough for a film. So I created some lies in the script actually, I think they’re more suitable for this animation.

Matthew: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Yantong: Animation project usually goes slowly. We draw every frame of every movement…it was kind of hard. Sometimes I forgot what I wanted to do at the beginning, lost in so many frames. But we have a good professor Mr Koji Yamamura, who is also a great animation director, he always helped us to find out what we really want to do, it is very important. I can’t thank him enough.

Matthew: How is the film scene in your city and country?

Yantong: It is still the 1980s in the SouthEastern part of China. I went there and took some pictures, it really changed in city parts, but countryside it is the same as my childhood.

Matthew: What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Yantong: I thought it was great. I never have a chance to record audience comment, so I’m very happy that people from Toronto gave me such single-hearted comments.

Matthew: What film have you seen the most in your life?

Yantong: It is hard to say. Yuri Norshtein and Priit Parn are my favourite animation director. And I like films of HOU Hsiao-Hsien and Ozu Yasujiro. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is my favorite one recently.

Matthew: What is next for you? A new film?

Yantong: Yes, I’m trying to make a children’s book as well. I don’t know maybe it will become an animation too. I’m trying to make both of them.

    * * * * *

Deadline FEEDBACK Toronto Film Festival:

– FULL FEEDBACK on your film from the audience. Garner an audience feedback video on your film.

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