By Maya E. Rudolph
After his screening series premiering many works from the Getting the Past Out Loud: Memory Projects at New York University, I spoke with filmmaker and Memory Projects organizer Wu Wenguang about the project, a new generation of filmmakers, and his view on screening works in the US. The event was held at the NYU Center for Religion and Media and co-sponsored by the Department of Cinema Studies, with generous support from China House.
Special thanks to NYU Professors Angela Zito and Zhang Zhen for curating the program and arranging this interview with Wu Wenguang.
Wu Wenguang at NYU
dGF: When and how did the Memory Project begin?
Wu Wenguang: The project started last year. It was last summer that we had the opportunity to start this. It was during this time we first started going to villages to conduct interviews. It had to be summer, this was the ideal season for heading off to these villages. So, everyone headed off to their own villages, their hometowns, for these interviews. When they got back, everyone started to edit, give advice, collaborate. This is how we got started.
dGF: The majority of the people participating in this project as filmmakers are pretty young, born in the 80s or 90s. You’ve said that your generation’s view of cinema differs greatly from that of these young people. What do you feel you have to teach one another – what kind of exchange do you have?
WWG: These kids have a lot of confidence, real self-starters. I don’t know if I really can teach them much. We can simply work together. Sometimes, the people in these villages think I’ve taught them how to shoot and what to shoot. This isn’t the case; they’ve chosen how and what to shoot by themselves. What I have to teach them isn’t important. What is important is their own work and how they choose to conduct it.