After two intense weeks, the trip comes to an end. The idea of ‘China’, the place where Vivian had been adopted from 15 years earlier is now no longer an abstract idea to her. Vivian has experienced the country’s intense blasting heat, the furious rains – and incredible generosity of people there. She’s been caught in the exciting bustle of the World Expo and felt the serenity of a newly planted field in the southern countryside. She stood on the spot where she was once left as a 4 day old infant and sat in the orphanage courtyard where she played as a baby. She shared meals, chores and bleary overnights with Shumin, a 14 year old girl like herself but who was adopted by a local family near Jiujiang. She meet Deng Hua, a young woman who she spent her entire childhood and teenage years in an orphanage. Deng’s thoughtful, emotional responses to Vivian’s many questions about her experiences gave Vivian another nuanced perspective of life in China for abandoned girls.
And then somehow, it was the final day of the trip. Just a little time left for some whirlwind shopping (Vivian is after all a teenager!) and a last semi-formal dinner to celebrate the incredible adventure Vivian and Hubert took with the film’s crew. Then they boarded their flight at Shanghai’s airport to be met 16 hours later by Eve, still wistful she had not been able to make the trip, but delighted to hold her husband and daughter again in her arms.
So is the trip really over? The physical voyage may be finished, but for the participants in this documentary, the emotional journey has just begun. Vivian and Shumin have plans to keep in contact with each other, and our crew will be doing follow up filming this fall to see how their meeting has impacted both the girls and their families.
And what about the crew? The exhausted production crew’s adventure is over, but the post-production team’s odyssey is about to begin! The footage from China arrives in our Montreal office next week. We’ll start sorting through it all, logging it and working on an outline to figure out how 50+ hours of raw footage will become a compelling one hour documentary… stay tuned for the next challenges!