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The Wasteland: An award winning short

ADA, a loving mother and devoted wife, was cheated on by her rich and powerful husband. He took full custody of the children after the divorce. SAM is an introverted single man who is tired of getting bullied by life. He falls in love with his neighbor Ada, but their lives take another turn for the worst as tragedy hits their work lives as well. In a desperate attempt to end their pain, they drive up to the Wasteland to to end their life. When they arrive ADA realizes that she cannot go through with it, she does have something to live for after all. SAM, however, is unshaken, he means to end his life. After a long talk, they share their deepest secrets and truths with each other so that they can each find peace with their choices. The Wasteland is an award winning short film, directed by Tuchi Tian.

Yuchi Tian’s passion for the performing arts started early, when she began writing stories for the stage and screen while still in high school. Her love for theater led her to a course of study at the prestigious Shandong University of Arts in Jinan, China where her stage experience expanded beyond writing to both acting and directing. After receiving her BFA from Shandong, she continued her studies and received an MFA in Dramatic Writing from Shandong’s graduate theater program. After graduating from Shandong, Yuchi recognized that her true passion was film, so she left China for the United States to purse an MFA in Filmmaking from the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. While at NYFA, Yuchi wrote and directed several of her own short films and worked on numerous other films as a crew member. Her extensive production work across various film departments has given her a tremendous amount of film production experience. In all of her work, Yuchi strives to combine the visual poetry of cinematic images with the dramatic and intimate poetry of human relationships, in order to create work that is visually stunning while remaining entirely reflective of both the beauty and tragedy of human experience.

How did you start making films and what was the first film project you worked on?

I learnt some sills in my university, that was so impressed to me. Then I decided to come to Los Angelas to study what exactly is the film industry system. The very first film is DRIVING SCHOOL, after I came here, I got the real first film is THE WASTELAND.

What was the inspiration behind the making of "The Wasteland"?

Actually, I was planned to find a cheaper location, when I saw this area, this story just coming up. Few years I had kind of ‘suicide tendencies’, also my friend and I experienced ‘cheating in marriage’, we talked about it a lot. I put some stories in the original script, but I have to move them out because of the time limitation.

What is the most challenging aspect of being an independent filmmaker in the film industry?

I think the biggest thing is keeping create stuff and passion.

How difficult is it to fund indie short films?

Luckily, this one is my family support me. But others, I have to get money from all the jobs I took.

Please name three of your most favorite directors. How have they been influential in your work? Wong Kar-wai Andrei Zvyagintsev Krzysztof Kieslowski I love telling story slowly, it makes me feel the characters, gently put me in their word.

How did "The Wasteland" go into production and how did you finalize the cast and the crew?

My friend helped me produced this film. We drove to many places to scout(far away from city)asked multiple car stores to rent, even some cars parked on the street, we asked. Budgeted every single thing. We didn’t know much about pre-production that time, we tired our best to learn and explore new things. I found my cast on casting website, we held many times auditions for it. Some of my friends came to help me, I also hired some crew. I asked around, for this part of crew, analyze their reel, go to the set they are working on to check how do they work. They’re fantastic! We’re still keep in contact.

How was the film received by your audience and film festivals and what is your plan for further distribution of the film?

I remember after my film released in school, my friend who already had years work experiences on film industry told me, this film is the most ‘film’ film he watched recently.

What do you recommend to other filmmakers regarding the making and the distribution of independent short films?

Making film from your life, your heart, also find a good location. Another important thing is, working with people who professional or they are kindred spirit.

What is your next film project and what are you currently working on?

I have my own feature script, right now I’m preparing my first feature film for next year. At same time I’m writing a short film, making commercials.

Why do you make films?

I wanna people hear me, hear my story, hear female’s voices.

Watch the trailer of Wasteland:


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