It Takes a Village to View A Film

The Film Connects with Featured Chinese Family in a New Way

By Co-Director Changfu Chang

For the past two years, I’ve stayed in touch with the Zhu family. They’re the  family we filmed in 2010 who had adopted a daughter within China. This summer they had the chance to see the completed documentary The Invisible Red Thread for the first time and the results were simply transformative.

It started on July 3, when I met up with Mr. Zhu in Shanghai to give him a DVD of the final film. As usual, Mr. Zhu was working at a construction site in Shanghai while his wife farmed their land allotment 1000 km away in Ruichang, Jiangxi and their daughter Shuming spent her summer holidays off from middle school helping her mother with chores and reading.

It took several weeks until they were finally reunited and could view the film with their family and close friends. Ruichang is a small rural village so many other villagers soon heard about it and showed up to watch it, too.

I wish we could have been there with them experiencing the joy and pride they felt! With all the publicity, there is no doubt Shuming is now like a “celebrity” and well respected in town.  When I first met Shuming a little over two years ago, she was very introverted and humble; she felt inferior for having been adopted. I asked her by phone after the screening whether this is still the case. She said, still in her soft voice but with assertiveness, “No.”  Her father has repeated with delight many times how much Shuming has changed.  Shuming now has a lot of confidence in herself and in her future. Right now, she knows she will continue her education and go to college one day, a lofty goal she didn’t dare consider two years ago.

Shuming also told me that she liked the film very much and was glad to see the kind of life Vivian lives in Canada.  While Vivian and her family in Toronto had the chance to see the completed film this past spring for its Canadian TV broadcast, it took a few months longer for the Zhus to be able to come together.

I and the film’s producers continue to support Shuming financially and emotionally and plan to do so for the long term. Yuan Li (the crew’s interpreter) and Jing Li (our sound person), call Shuming occasionally, checking on her and encouraging her to be the best she can.  These two young women have gone far in their educations and are great role models for Shuming. Yuan just sent Shuming the famed Chinese historical series “China: Five Thousand Years” and it’s now her autumn reading. I am inspired to see other members of the crew also keep up this relationship long after the filming is over.

The Invisible Red Thread continues its theme of powerful transformative connections not only among the people featured in the film and audiences who see it, but the crew who made it! 

 To learn more about Changfu’s other films, check out his website:  

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