August 13, 2010
Today was a big day: morning at the Adoption Center to pick up the invitation in Nanchang; late afternoon at the orphanage in Jiujiang 2 hours away…
The statement that we are lucky is probably an understatement. Not only were we able to film at the Adoption Center, we also were able to re-enact a couple of sequences, with the participation of the staff there. In the orphanage, after some PR work, we were able to even bring our full crew and gear, including the big boom microphone! We had the assistant director show Vivian and Hubert where she once played, lived, slept, ate. Then we drove to the location where Vivian was found, with the director answering Hubert’s questions. Of course, we did several emotional onsite interviews….
At night, the orphanage director invited all of us to dinner. After each of us had three beers, the Director and I both felt that we should have been friends for a long time…
August 15, 2010
After staying two nights at what I call a crappy hotel in Jiujaing, we moved to a better one this morning. Now, with a breathtaking waterfront view of the Xunyang lake sprinkled with lights in the distance, it makes a perfect match for the mood with which I am writing.
We continue to be blessed with excellent filming opportunities. We captured the great moment of Hubert and Vivian being received by the Zhu family. The initial reactions of the both girls were expectedly timid and sometimes a little awkward. However, it didn’t take long for them to relate to and communicate with each other (with the skilled translation and assistance from Yuan). We captured the moments of Shumin showing Vivian how to prepare food. At one moment, we saw Shumin and Viviean worked in unison to prepare food for the now extended family: both girls set the table for the their parents. They became “sisters” in a matter of hours.
We then went to the village school Shumin had attended. We were hoping that this experience would be transformative for Shumin–to lift her from the unwarranted self-consciousness of inferiority (due in large part to knowing she is adopted) that leads to her lack of confidence and insecurity. We saw that first sign of transformation at the school. She smiled more, and had a more confident look on her face. She showed Vivian how to flip on the single bar and Vivien demonstrated and taught Shumin how to dance…They just bonded so naturally. We saw two happy fathers in Mr. Zhu and Mr. Lum.
A production day can’t be complete without a scene that stands out and becomes etched in one’s mind. Here it is: on the way from the school to Mr. Zhu’s house, we were caught in a shower. Our crew followed the two families (Shumin and Vivian in the front, Mr. Zhu, his wife, and Hubert behind). As the parents walked and made small talk in the rain, we saw Vivian and Shumin holding hands together.
I must admit that I am very proud of this crew.