Xu Xiaoxi

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Xu Xiaoxi
Xiaoxi Xu Headshot, director of Ni Jing, Thou Shalt Not Steal, Desire Street and Mei Mei.jpg
Portrait 2014
Born (1981-11-18) November 18, 1981 (age 37)
ResidenceChengdu, Sichuan
EducationNYFA - Los Angeles MFA
OccupationFilm Director, Scriptwriter
Years active2009–present
Notable work

Xu Xiaoxi (Chinese: 徐小溪; born November 18, 1981 in Chengdu)[1][2][3] is a Chinese film director and screenwriter. He belongs to a new generation of filmmakers from China that are educated in the West. Since 2010 he co-directs all his films with the Spanish director Roberto F. Canuto and together open a film production company in China, Almost Red Productions.[4]

Xu Xiaoxi obtains some international recognition after receive some awards in international film festivals and, due to the distinct personal style of his movies, Xu Xiaoxi is considered in some circles as a promising figure in the Chinese industry.[5]

Biography[edit]

Xu Xiaoxi was born in Chengdu, Sichuan. He was influenced into filmmaking since childhood, since his father was a Cinematographer in those times. He bought him a video camera when he was only 8 y/o. He remembers to start writing stories and record it with his friends. After High School, he wanted to travel and experience different cultures. He moved then to South Africa to study Fine Arts, majoring in Painting at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Xiaoxi gains experience and good skills in drawing, painting, photography, and video art. He worked as a video artist in his final year project The Fluxus of ID, a tribute to Maya Daren. He used video images as the prime means of expression regarding perceptions of cultural identity in a globalaized world. In 2006 he received the bachelor's degree of Fine Arts.[6][7]

Xu Xiaoxi with Roberto F. Canuto in the set of "Mei Mei"

After graduation, Xiaoxi decides to persuade a Filmmaking career and continue his international experiences, so he enrol in a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) - Filmmaking at the New York Film Academy of Los Angeles, Universal Studios (Hollywood). There, he directed many short films in celluloid and digital format and collaborate in many others mainly as Cinematographer (most notorious was Toto Forever, obtaining a nomination for Best Cinematography from his Academy at the Kodak Cinematography Scholarships Awards).[8] He graduated in 2009 with the feature film Desire Street.[6]

From 2008 his films join the festival circuit and achieve some awards. This films where created with his usual collaborator, Roberto F. Canuto. They meet as they study the same Master in Los Angeles. His two graduation projects became the most notorious films, Mei Mei (Year One graduation) and the feature Desire Street, co-directed with Roberto F. Canuto (Master graduation). Desire Street receives awards at "Asturian Film Festival 2014 " and a Special Mention for Best International Feature Film at "Mix Mexico International Film Festival 2011", together with other nominations and special screenings. During the postproduction of “Mei Mei” the director started the collaboration with the composer who would become part of the team and signature of his work since then, Andrea Centazzo, Italy's top orchestral percussionist and a reference in the Avand Garde contemporary music.[9] Andrea Centazzo composed the scores for all his movies since then: Mei Mei (2009), Toto Forever (2010), Desire Street (2011) and Ni Jing: Thou Shalt Not Steal (2013).[10]

Xu Xiaoxi in the set of Desire Street (co-director and Director of Photography)

Back in China, Xu Xiaoxi and Roberto F. Canuto founded officially their own production company, Almost Red Productions, where they alternate the fiction narrative projects with commercial/advertisement works. In 2013 they released the Chinese and Spanish production short film Ni Jing: Thou Shalt Not Steal. This film won the Best Film Award (Riverside Saginaw International Film Festival, Michigan, USA), Best Actress Sherry Xia Ruihong and Runner up Short (Asturian Film Festival, Spain), two nominations in the GAVA Awards 2014 as Best Short and Best Screenplay, together with other nominations and international screenings. In addition to the fiction works, Almost Red Productions creates commercials and collaborates with some non profit organizations, like Concentric Circles, company that aim to improve the health system in poor Rural Areas of China.[11]

His film Floating Melon was released in late 2015 and he introduced the project as the second part the trilogy, "Invisible Chengdu", together with Ni Jing: Thou Shalt Not Steal (2013), Floating Melon (2015) and his new film Sunken Plum (2017).

Floating Melon was filmed in his hometown, Chengdu, and with non professional actors. The World Premier took place in Spain at the 53rd FICXIXON, Gijón International Film Festival in November 2015 and in China at the Art Gallery Shujingtang Alley Art Space in Chengdu (Sichuan) in June 2016. It received an Audience Award at the 15th Aviles Acción Film Festival (Spain)[12] and the Audience Choice Award and Best Cinematography Award (Guo Yong) at the III Asturian Film Festival of Proaza 2016 (Spain).[13] In the first 12 months after the release it has been presented in over 40 international film festivals in Europe, America, Asia and Africa.[14]

Picture of the film Advent, with David Soto Giganto

In 2016 he directs his first film in Spain, at the hometown of his collaborator, Roberto F. Canuto, Asturias, using the language of the region, the Asturian language, titled Advent (Ad-vientu), a psychological mystery drama film. At the world premiere of Advent that took place at the 54th Gijón International Film Festival, obtained the Audience Award Dia D'Asturies for Best Short Film.[15]

Sunken Plum, the film that completes the trilogy "Invisible Chengdu", will be released in 2017. It is a melodramatic comedy with touches of mystery and social realism (with a mix genre typical of the directors). The film uses non professional actors and the filming took place in Sichuan, mainly in downtown Chengdu, the lake “Bai Ta” and a remote village in the mountains of Sichuan, “Nan Bu”.[16]

Filmography[edit]

Xu Xiaoxi has directed many shorts and a feature film, but most of his works remain unreleased. Before attend the Master of Fine Arts at NYFA, he directs documentary shorts and experimental works, as the video art The Fluxus of ID, a tribute to Maya Daren. During his masters he directs projects in 16mm Film, Red One Camera and other Digital format, like Rope, The Meal or Lila and his first year graduation film, Mei Mei. His master’s graduation feature film Desire Street (co-directed with Roberto F. Canuto) was the work that bring more attention, awards and international recognition until 2013, when produced under Almost Red Production in China, also co-directed with Roberto F. Canuto, the trilogy El Chengdu Invisible, including Ni Jing: Thou Shalt Not Steal (2013), Floating Melon (2015) and Sunken Plum (2017). The first productions of Xu Xiaoxi in China attracts media attention, with press interviews and TV coverage. In 2016 he released the Spanish film Advent.

"Invisible Chengdu" trilogy (2017)[edit]

Invisible Chengdu (aka El Chengdu Invisible (Spanish)). Roberto F. Canuto and Xu Xiaoxi's trilogy of short films filmed in Sichuan and using the local language of Sichuan, Sichuanese Mandarin. This set of films reflects the underground scene of Chengdu. It includes "Sunken Plum" (2017), "Floating Melon" (2013) and "Ni Jing: Thou Shalt Not Steal" (2013). The trilogy tell stories about people normally segregated and that have to survive in the shadows of the Chinese society, that is against diversity and individuality.[17]

Sunken Plum (2017)[edit]

Sunken Plum (Original Chinese: 沉李; pinyin: Chen Li; literally: "sunken plum") is Roberto F. Canuto and Xu Xiaoxi's latest short film, to be released in 2017. Produced by "Almost Red Productions" (China) in association with "Arkadin Ediciones" (Spain). It is a melodramatic comedy with mystery elements and tells the story of a transgender woman who works in a nightclub in Chengdu. She gets a visit from her cousin to let her know that her mother is deceased. As the only son, she feels obligated to return to her birthplace, but can not appear as a woman in front of her family.[18]

Filmed in October 2016 and partially produced with a crowdfunding project, and co-produced between Spain and China, the film uses non professional actors. The film is expected to be released in Spring/Summer 2017.

English poster of Advent

Advent (Ad-vientu) (2016)[edit]

Advent (Original asturian Ad-vientu; Chinese: 等候; pinyin: Deng Hou; literally: "waiting") is a 2016 Spanish and Chinese co-production psychological drama film, written and directed by Roberto F. Canuto and Xu Xiaoxi. It is the first movie of the directors filmed in Spain.[19]

Advent was shoot in Asturias, with locations in the medieval center of the city of Avilés, the historical Cemetery La Carriona and some beaches and walkways of Carreño, mainly in Perlora and Xivares. It is spoken in asturian language (something unusual in the Spanish cinema).

Advent is a psychological mystery drama film that tells the story of Suso, a dazed young unemployed man that tries to discover the identity of an unusual girl, who he spies on a secluded beach, as she reminds him of his dead mother. She runs throwing herselfoff a cliff, but it will not be the last time that she crosses his path. The main character is performed by David Soto Giganto, an actor from the "Youth National Company of Classic Theater" and in the rest of the cast we find actors mainly from the "Dramatic Art Academy of Asturias", like Ici Díaz, o Beatriz Meré, together with other experienced actors as Lidia Méndez o David Blanka.[20]

The premiere of Advent took place at the 54th Gijón International Film Festival on the 25 of November 2016 and the film obtained the Audience Award Dia D'Asturies for Best Short Film. It will start the international festival circuit in 2017.[15]

English poster of Floating Melon

Floating Melon (2015)[edit]

Floating Melon (Original Chinese: 浮果; pinyin: Fu Guo; literally: "floating fruit"; Spanish title Sandía amarga) is a 2015 Spanish and Chinese co-production drama film written and directed by Roberto F. Canuto and Xu Xiaoxi. It is a low budget independent short movie that tells the story of Xiao Cheng, when he finds his lover dead in his bed, after a lethal drug reaction. In the dark roads of Chengdu, Xiao Cheng, scared of the consequences, send a message asking for help to his friend. She thinks that the best solution is to hide the body, but when they return to the apartment, they found the unexpected.

The film has a strong film noir influences and it is performed by non professional actors and it includes themes very delicate, often censured in China, specially the representation of the homosexuality in young people, a community that need to protect themselves due to the lack of protective laws in the country. The story is partially based in true events, but the atmosphere is close to the Film Noir genre, to reflect the only situation where queer people can express themselves, community that needs to live in the shadows of the night in the Chinese society.[21] It tells the story of Xiao Cheng, a young Chinese guy that ask for help to a friend to resolve a big trouble, the guy with whom he spend the afternoon is dead on his bed from the effect of a drug, not something the Chinese authorities look kindly on.[22]

The world premiere of the film we held in Spain, at the 53rd Gijon International Film Festival in November 2015.[23] It received the audience award for best short film, Asturian section, at the 15th Aviles Action Film Festival [24] and at the Audience Choice Award for Best Film and Best Cinematography at the 3rd Asturian Film Festival of Proaza.[13] In China the film premiere was held at an art gallery, Shujingtang Alley Art Space in Chengdu in June 12, 2016 and the reactions where very positive.[25] The premier in China was held relatively underground (due to the censorship laws of the country).

English poster of Ni Jing

Ni Jing: Thou Shalt Not Steal (2013)[edit]

Ni Jing: Thou Shalt Not Steal (Original Chinese: 逆境; pinyin: Ni Jing; literally: "adversity"; Spanish Title Ni Jing: No Robarás) is his first film produced in China by his company Almost Red in co-production with Spain. A naive Chinese girl is forced to confront betrayal after she awakes in a remote forest covered in blood.[26]

“Ni Jing” received some awards: Best Short Film in the World Premier at Riverside Saginaw International Film Festival 2013, Best Actress (Sherry Xia Ruihong), runner up Best Short Film, and a nomination for Best Actor (Yinhui Wan) at the 9th Asturian Film Festival, 2014. The Ni Jing” Spanish premier took place at the prestigious FICXIXON, Gijón International Film Festival in 2013. The critical reactions from the various presentations were very positive:

  • Fenixnet Entertainment News in China: ’'"The film represent very truthfully the local society of Chengdu and the good communication among the directors, that belong to different cultures, creates great results".[27]
  • Sichuan Daily News (lead newspaper of the region): ’’"Audiences at the press screening were captivated for the atmosphere and the rhythm of the film" [28]

Ni Jing: Thou Shalt Not Steal is now playing in the International Festival Circuit (as August 2014)

Poster Desire Street

Desire Street (2011)[edit]

Desire Street is Xu Xiaoxi and Roberto F. Canuto’s first feature film, produced as a graduation work in their Master of Fine Arts at the NYFA in Hollywood. The story follows three family members (mother, daughter and son) as they try to survive their loneliness and obsessions by going through different sexual experiences and relationships with a prostitute. The reference of the directors was the Mexican melodramas of the 1960s. They exaggerate the representation of the characters to accentuate the irony that is a basic element in the story, creating many situations of comedy. At the end of the story the family became the main reference for the individual survival. The reception at film festivals was very good, scoring positive reviews and awards (Best Film at Asturian Film Festival in Spain and Special Mention Best Feature at Mix Mexico International Film Festival):

  • Jury conclusion at “Mix Mexico International Film Festival, 2011”: Desire Street has "a very well structured script, strong story and great characters".[29]
  • Jury conclusions at “Asturian Film Festival, 2014: ’’”Desire Street develops, with technical mastery and a good treatment of the script, the generation gap and the family and sexual conflicts in a multiethnic society".[30]
  • Film critic from Dickie King at ’’MTG.com, 2011: "The characters could be from an Almodovar movie as they seem to need to behave in extraordinary ways in order to draw some sexual, psychological advantage... The use of subjective camera movement, composition and mirrored reflections are effective in conveying a real sense of false perceptions... The collaborations of Roberto Canuto and Xu Xiaoxi make them the future wave as these two engaging directors bring together fresh insight with redesigned camera work." [31]

The premiere of Desire Street in Spain took place in 2014 at the "Asturian Film Festival" (obtained a "Best Film Jury Award" and a nomination for "Best Actress: Alejandra Walker"). In China was screened at the "Contemporary Art Museum A4" of Sichuan also in 2014 .

Mei Mei poster

Mei Mei (2009)[edit]

‘'Mei Mei’’, his first year graduation film at “New York Film Academy”, was written by Xiaoxi and Roberto F. Canuto. The Film premiere at Hungary's Slow International Film Festival, a successor to the 32-year-old prestigious Hungary Film Festival born of the Film Art Initiative. Mei Mei was screened in late August 2009 to an international crowd and was received as one of the festival's finest.[32] After the screening the reactions were very positive, and it was received as one of the festival finest works. Some of the media mention that Mei Mei is a "beautiful and heartbreaking love story".[33] In addition to the festival selection, the film received a nomination for Best Cinematography at the Kodak Scholarship Awards 2009, in representation of NYFA from Universal Studios, Hollywood. The director of photography of Mei Mei was the filmmaker and usual collaborator of Xu, Roberto F. Canuto.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Xiaoxi Xu Celebrity". movie.douban.com (in Chinese). Retrieved 8 August 2014. 1981-11-18
  2. ^ Lorenzo, Claudia (June 12, 2011). "Roberto F. Canuto & Xu Xiaoxi Directores de Cine". www.lne.es (in Spanish). La Nueva España Newspaper. Retrieved 8 August 2014. Xu Xiaoxi (Sichuan, China, 1981)
  3. ^ "China-Spain coproduction wins award at a Festival". danlan.org (in Chinese). Danlan. May 26, 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 1981年11月18日
  4. ^ "Roberto F. Canuto, director de cine y guionista". Elrollohigienico.com (in Spanish and English). El Rollo Higienico, Revista de Arte y Cultura. September 30, 2010. Retrieved 4 August 2014. Roberto starts his collaborations with Xu Xiaoxi in early 2008.
  5. ^ King, Dickie (January 2011). "Desire Street (Review)". MTG. Archived from the original on January 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2014. The collaborations of Roberto Canuto and Xu Xiaoxi make them the future wave as these two engaging directors bring together fresh insight with redesigned camera work.
  6. ^ a b "Interview of director Xu Xiaoxi & Roberto F. Canuto". www.haowenzhang.net (in Chinese). Hao wen zhang. Retrieved 8 August 2014. April 4, 2010
  7. ^ King, Dickie (January 2011). "Roberto F. Canuto & Xu Xiaoxi Interview and Bio". MTG. Archived from the original on January 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Xiaoxi Xu's "Mei Mei" Accepted To Hungary's Prestigious Slow Film Festival". www.1888pressrelease.com. 1888 Press Release. November 4, 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  9. ^ Harris, Craig. "Andrea Centazzo Bio". AllMusic.com. All Music. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  10. ^ "Interview Roberto F. Canuto & Xu Xiaoxi". www.elrollohigienico.com (in Spanish). El rollo higienico, Revista de Arte y Cultura. October 25, 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2014. Llevamos colaborando con Andrea Centazzo desde 2008 y esta es nuestra cuarta película con él
  11. ^ 成都小伙携手西班牙搭档 方言短片获国际大奖 [Chengdu & Spain partnership achieve international Awards]. sichuandaily.scol.com.cn (in Chinese). Sichuan Daily Newspaper. January 10, 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  12. ^ "Premios 2016 (awards 2016)". Avilés Acción Film Festival Website (in Spanish). Avilés Acción Film Festival. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Awards Floating Melon". IMDB. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  14. ^ "Floating Melon Release Info". IMDB. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  15. ^ a b "'Ad-Vientu' se hace con el premio del público al mejor cortometraje del 'Día d'Asturies', en el FICX ("Advent win the Audience Choice Award "Dia DAsturies" at the 54 Gijon Film Fest.)" (in Spanish). La Vanguardia (Newspaper). Europa Press. 28 November 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  16. ^ "Finaliza el rodaje de la película astur-china 'Sunken Plum' (End of shooting of the Asturias-Chinese film "Sunken Plum")". Asturias Mundial (in Spanish). 9 October 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2016. El filme, una comedia melodramática con tintes de misterio y realismo social (haciendo gala de una mezcla de géneros típica del cine de los directores)
  17. ^ "Roberto F. Canuto finaliza un nuevo rodaje en China (Roberto F. Canuto end a new shooting in China)" (in Spanish). La Nueva España (Newspaper). 11 October 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2016. La película representa la última parte de la trilogía "El Chengdu Invisible", formada por Ni Jing: No Robarás, Sandía Amarga y Sunken Plum, que narra historias sobre personajes habitualmente marginados, que deben subsistir en las sombras de una sociedad, la China, contraria a la diversidad y la individualidad.
  18. ^ "Even filmproductie over transseksuelen in China (a film about transexuals in China)". China2015.nl (in Dutch). 7 November 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2016. Het verhaal over een transgender vrouw die werkt in een nachtclub in Chengdu. Onverwacht krijgt ze een bezoek van haar nicht die haar verteld dat haar moeder is overleden. Als enige zoon voelt ze zich verplicht om terug te gaan naar haar geboorteplaats, maar kan niet als vrouw voor haar familie verschijnen.
  19. ^ "Completada la posproducción del cortometraje en asturiano 'Ad-vientu' (The asturian film "Ad-vientu" en the post-production)" (in Spanish). Europa Press. 7 August 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  20. ^ ""Ad-vientu", un cortometraje astur-chino ("Advent, an Asturian-Chinese short film)" (in Spanish). "La Nueva España" Newspaper. 7 August 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  21. ^ Alderiques d'asturies (9 December 2016). 53 FICX – Nacho Carballo y Día d’Asturies (asturian) [53 FICX - Nacho Carballo y Dia de Asturias] (Video interview) (in Spanish). Event occurs at minutes:10. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  22. ^ "Floating Melon". IMDB. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  23. ^ "Sandia Amarga". Gijon international Film Festival. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  24. ^ "Premios 2016 (Awards 2016)". Aviles Accion. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  25. ^ "Floating Melon Film Premiere". Zaomengshe Website (China) (in Chinese and English). 12 June 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  26. ^ "Entrevista a Roberto F. Canuto & Xu Xiaoxi". www.elrollohigienico.com (in Spanish). El Rollo Higiénico. October 25, 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  27. ^ Chao, Bin (June 24, 2013). 微电影《逆境》成都试片 [Ni Jing Press Screening in Chengdu]. News.ifeng.com. Fenixnet Entertainment. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 该片在成都实景拍摄,对白以四川方言为主。虽然内容十分“接地气”,但这对跨国组合在创作中却非常默契
  28. ^ 成都小伙携手西班牙搭档 方言短片获国际大奖 [Chengdu & Spain partnership achieve international Awards]. sichuandaily.scol.com.cn (in Chinese). Sichuan Daily Newspaper. January 10, 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 《逆境》在成都小酒馆试映,如同悬疑片的节奏让现场影迷眼前一亮。
  29. ^ "'Desire Street', del gijonés Roberto F. Canuto, mención al Mejor Largometraje Internacional en el Mix México". Europa Press. Europa Press. 26 May 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  30. ^ "Palmares del 9 Festival de cine Asturianu 2014". www.asturias.com (in Spanish). June 15, 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2014. trata con gran maestría técnica y con un buen tratamiento del guion sobre el choque generacional y los conflictos sexuales y familiares de una sociedad multiétnica.
  31. ^ King, Dickie (January 2011). "Desire Street (Review)". MTG. Archived from the original on January 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  32. ^ "Xiaoxo Xu's "Mei Mei" Accepted To Hungary's Prestigious Slow Film Festival". www.1888pressrelease.com. 1888pressrelease. November 4, 2010. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  33. ^ "Mei Mei". lesmedia.blogspot.co.uk. Lesmedia. Retrieved 2 August 2014.

External links[edit]