Deciding to be in a documentary is not an easy decision. But once you’ve committed and been filmed, another challenge await : the film’s release. Suddenly everything you did and said is now up for everyone to see on the big and small screen. What’s it like?
We checked in with Vivian and her family, now that the film was broadcast on television in Canada. For Vivian it was a nerve wracking experience. When we requested holding an advance screening at her high school, Vivian flat out refused. She told us it was one thing to have your friends watch it on TV at home, quite another to have 400 people gathered in an auditorium watching you up close and personal at your best and worst.
But overall, the experience has been immensely positive. The public screening the family participated in showed the family how positively audiences react to their sharing of their emotional journey back to China. And more positive reactions continue to flow in. Says Eve, Vivian’s mother, “We continue to have great feedback on the film from friends – friends of friends, acquaintances, and people we hardly know, like the woman who serves at Hubert’s favourite deli counter, who have seen it. Everyone comments how sensitively and respectfully the film makers handled the topic, and how moving they found certain parts.”
Scenes that might seemed potentially embarrassing to Vivian have also turned out to be touching, funny moments that people particularly mention. Says Eve “Vivian in the market is definitely the crowd favourite, though Hubert with the carrying poles and the Vivian and Shuming’s lipstick session are close seconds!”
Shuming’s family (the adopted girl Vivian meets in China) has received a copy of the film, which hasn’t yet been released in China. But as the father of the family, Mr. Zhu, works in the construction trade in Shanghai for many weeks at a time, he hasn’t yet been back to his home village to watch it with Shuming, his wife and extended family. We hope to have news of their feedback in a near future blog post.