High school filmmaker releases LGBTQ film on mainstream Chinese video platforms

By Ji Yuqiao Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/19 22:57:47 Last Updated: 2020/7/19 14:57:47

Photo: Courtesy of Ran Yinxiao

On July 13, film Forbidden Love in Heaven was released on Chinese streaming platforms. The film is notable not only because it focuses on LGBTQ issues, but also as it was made by a high school senior during his spare time.  

Ran Yinxiao, who actually graduates from high school this month, directed the film, which portrays a story about two gay men forming a family. The film, which the director says was made to call on equal rights for the LGBTQ community, is currently streaming on several mainstream Chinese video platforms including Tencent Video.

This is actually the second film about the LGBTQ community that Ran has made. When interviewed by the Global Times, Ran, an 18-year-old student from Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, said that he wanted to show the public the story of how same-sex lovers establish a family.

"I wanted to demonstrate that they can have their own family just like heterosexual people," the young director said.

Based on a true story 

Photo: Courtesy of Ran Yinxiao

According to Ran, Forbidden Love in Heaven is based on a true story. After reading an article about a child and his two fathers in June 2019, he was deeply touched and decided to adapt the story to film.

The film was also personal for him. 

"Some of my friends are members of the community and I can understand their difficulties," he explained.

In the film, a taxi drive, who is gay, finds a child living on the street and decides to take him in. Later, he meets the owner of a local bar while drinking there, and the two men fall in love. Eventually, they move in together and, with the child, form a family. 

Ran said that he wanted to ensure that, except for the makeup of the family, it is just like any other ordinary family, where there are warm hugs, fun and quarrels, and most importantly, deep love.

One of scriptwriters for the film is a member of the LGBTQ community so much of the interaction between the two lead characters are true to life. 

"Neither of two actors is gay, but they gradually were able to get along naturally during the shoot," the director said. 

"Once they had to perform an intimate scene, and as that day was the birthday of one of actors, the other actor sent a cake to him and both of them performed well in that erotic scene."

Bumpy road   

While shooting on the film, made in a month with financial support from his family, was relatively smooth, the release has been somewhat bumpy.

According to Ran, one platform focusing on LGBTQ content promised him they would try their best to promote the film, but that fell through, much to Ran's disappointment. 

After putting the final touches on the film, Ran uploaded it to several mainstream video platforms including Tencent Video, Youku, Bilibili and iQIYI. While iQIYI has chosen not to release the film, it has debuted on Tencent Video and Youku, while self-made content focused Bilibili has told him it will be released on Wednesday.  

When asked why these platforms have allowed a film with such theme to be launched, Ran said that it might be because his film is "not just a simple love story," but discusses a realistic social problem.

So far the film has earned more than 150,000 views across all platforms. Feedback has been mixed, however. 

"My film moved many members of the community and struck a chord with them, so they gave positive feedback, but since my filmmaking skills are still not mature yet, there have been those who don't like it."

Ran said that he has chosen film art as his major for college and will strive to become a better director. 

"When I get more experience, I will produce more touching LGBT films to help the community."


Posted in: FILM

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