The motivations behind the heartwarming film “Transplant” by Zheyu Liang

What does it feel like to be a stranger in a country that you’ve lived in for twenty years? Transplant is an observational and reflective documentary about two rootless and tenacious Chinese immigrants who are trying to make a home on foreign soil. Lying somewhere between a dream and a nightmare, they came to the United States in their 40s and faced a tenuous existence in a land that never quite feels like home.
© “Transplant” by Zheyu Liang

What does it feel like to be a stranger in a country that you’ve lived in for twenty years? Transplant is an observational and reflective documentary about two rootless and tenacious Chinese immigrants who are trying to make a home on foreign soil. Lying somewhere between a dream and a nightmare, they came to the United States in their 40s and faced a tenuous existence in a land that never quite feels like home. Struggling with language barriers and the difficulties of life on the alien soil, they arduously try to fit in with American life and often find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place.

Director/Editor Zheyu Liang shared her motivations for making this heartwarming film; “In the 150-year-old large-scale overseas immigration of Chinese people, the United States has become one of the most popular immigrant countries. The Chinese people who arrived in the US as far back as the 1800s were typically railroad workers and other low-income workers. Nowadays, many wealthy Chinese can travel to the United States.

© “Transplant” by Zheyu Liang

But there still remains a large group of first-generation Chinese immigrants who have little education and must work hard all day. Language and culture differences are the biggest barriers for them to integrate into American life. This reflective film is not a news profile about the American Dream, it’s about people who live along the periphery of that dream and it will serve as a meditation on what it means to be rootless and a perpetual foreigner.“

Transplant has a special place in Zheyu’s heart as the stories contained in the movie remind her of the time when she first came to the United States. Just like many people whose mother tongue isn’t English, the culture difference and language barrier were also challenges for her. Especially in the context of filmmaking, this profession demands lots of collaboration and communication to execute well on a shoot, an interview, an editing session, etc. Sometimes she found herself having a hard time expressing exactly what sheI wanted.

Compared to English speakers, during her first year of study at UCLA, she often had to spend twice as much time and put in so much extra work to keep up with her cohort. So she could deeply relate to her subjects’ stories and wanted to make a film to highlight these lived experiences that often go unseen.

Zheyu Liang at Dances with Films Festival

Resonated with many people as well, the film Transplant was selected and screened at Austin Asian American Film Festival, Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, 16th Chinese American Film Festival, CineAsian Films, Chinese Documentaries International Symposium and Screenings and many others. It was also the semifinalist at the Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival.

Over the next few years, Zheyu plans to continue making more films that shed light on underrepresented communities and give global audiences a better picture of what life in the corner of the world actually looks like.

© “Transplant” by Zheyu Liang

Total
1
Shares
Related Posts
Read More

Regal and Audible Launch Audiobook to Screen Program Featuring “The Boys in The Boat”

Regal and Audible, an Amazon company, collaborate for the first-time bringing movies and audiobooks together for their respective audiences. Amazon MGM Studios' The Boys in the Boat, in theaters this Christmas, is the first title they are working on together, offering the first chapter of the audiobook and a special Audible promotion to complete the listen.
Read More

MHz Choice Sets “The Sea Beyond” U.S. Premiere for October 17

The smash hit Italian series The Sea Beyond will finally arrive on U.S. shores this month as MHz Choice sets the U.S. premiere for Tuesday, October 17. The series has become a phenomenon in its home country of Italy, where it is known as Mare Fuori, with record-breaking ratings and a fervent fan base. MHz Choice has acquired the first four seasons of the series from Beta Film for U.S. and Canadian audiences, and will premiere the first season with two episodes each week beginning October 17.
Read More

Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Celebrates “The New New York” During Tribeca Festival

Bulleit Frontier Whiskey presented the latest chapter of the Bulleit Pioneer Project — its multi-year commitment to championing and amplifying those breaking new ground in culture. This time around Bulleit joined forces with long-standing partners Tribeca Festival and UnitedMasters to spotlight New York's creative talent. "The New New York" event brought together emerging pioneers spanning film, music, food, and drink — hailing from across the five New York boroughs — during the Tribeca Festival weeklong festivities.