Please tell us about yourself. How did you start your career, and how did you get into the world of filmmaking? What are some of the projects you did before making ‘#7?
I am Chun Sun, an interdisciplinary artist from China. Film is a medium I use as part of my creative expression. After sharing some of my works on Instagram, I started receiving invitations for exhibitions and film festivals, marking the beginning of my artistic journey. "#7" is my debut film.
As a filmmaker, who or what are your influences, especially from your own country?
I have Chinese characters in my films. However, my works aren't directly influenced by Chinese cinema or other specific sources. Instead, they draw more from the realm of sci-fi, technological advancements, and individual experiences within society.
Since my childhood, I've been captivated by science fiction literature. My works reflect my contemplation on the intricate relationship between humans and technology, as well as the global trajectory of development. My aim is for everyone to derive their unique emotions and reflections from my works, transcending mere appreciation of aesthetics from a foreign context.
What is your vision as a filmmaker? What types of stories you endeavor to tell through filmmaking?
My vision is rooted in the aspiration to employ the medium of film as a means of delving into the complexities of societal dynamics and the intricate interplay between technology and humanity. My focus revolves around narrating speculative future stories through various mediums, akin to other science fiction works. Though seemingly portraying the future, these stories actually delve into the challenges of the present and the essence of human nature.
Your film ‘#7” is quite experimental in nature, and its topic (the ability to reproduce is now extended to elderly and LGBT) is really innovative and fresh. What made you want to make this film?
This opportunity led me to start contemplating the latest research project of Dr. Susana from Leiden University in the Netherlands. She is using stem cells from urine to create organs like eggs and uterine tissue to assist older women in extending their fertility. She had previously collaborated with the artist CJ to develop female sperm. These discoveries sparked a deeper reflection within me about these technologies. Beyond focusing on the reproductive rights of older women, there are also broader reproductive needs for other groups, such as the LGBT+ community.
Interestingly, a male actor, after understanding the background of my script, asked me how this differs from cloning. I believe that ethics should be one of the significant distinctions. This question prompted me to engage in profound contemplation about these advancements in the field of reproductive technology.
Could you tell us more about the themes you wanted to explore in your film “#7”? Can you discuss the significance of having elderly and LGBT participants take on the role of carrying and giving birth to the next generation in this society?
From a data perspective, we can observe that the world is grappling with a significant aging population, which poses a genuine crisis from societal, economic, and human reproduction standpoints. Besides respecting and safeguarding the reproductive rights of women of childbearing age, extending the right to reproduce to others is a novel way to achieve true equality through technology. This represents genuine equality, and, from another perspective, it also signifies progress in feminism.
Please tell us about the production, and the difficulties you faced during production. What are some of the challenges you faced?
The biggest challenge for my first experimental film was undoubtedly the budget. I borrowed a friend's studio to complete my shooting, and both the actors and crew were my friends as well. I am immensely grateful for their support!
How was the film received at film festivals around the world? Please tell us about your festival run.
This film was nominated for 9 awards at 6 different film festivals. It was screened at the Anaya Theatre Festival in China and exhibited at art exhibitions in Rome, Venice, and New York.
What project(s) will you be working on next?
I recently completed the first phase of the project "New World Organ," which is also my sci-fi-related art project. It includes a short film featuring a fictional advertisement for selling future organs. For the rest of this year, I will continue to work on the next phase of this project through film and other visual art forms as I prepare for my solo art exhibition. Next year, I intend to craft an extraordinary experimental film, with the theme continuing to center around sci-fi subjects.
You can reach Chun Sun via Instagram: