WFF 2015: Jane Hui Wang says elderly couple's dilemma inspired Last Harvest

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      Several Canadian documentaries have chronicled the mammoth social, economic, financial, and physical changes that are dramatically transforming China.

      Yung Chang's Up the Yangtze follows a tourist cruise toward the environmentally controversial Three Gorges Dam project.

      Lixin Fan's Last Train Home followed the annual migration of workers in China returning home for Lunar New Year.

      In Jennifer Baichwal's Manufactured Landscapes, she films Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky as he photographs landscapes around the world, including China, that are radically altered, to the point of becoming unrecognizable as earthly, by industry and production.

      The latest documentary to follow in this area of study is Jane Hui Wang's Last Harvest.

      The film follows and elderly Chinese couple displaced by the massive South to North Water Diversion Project. Among the 800,000 people who the government forces to move (while approximately 250,000 acres of faming land is lost to submersion), the film zeroes in on the personal story of the Xu family.

      At the Whistler Film Festival, Wang collected two awards—the best world documentary award and the Alliance of Women Film Journalists EDA award for best female-directed documentary—for her film at an awards ceremony on December 6.

      At the event, Wang told the Georgia Straight that she became unexpectedly inspired to make the film after she met the couple.

      "I didn't set out to make a film about relocation but I was doing some research in their village and then I met the couple and it's who they are that really, really moved me and I fell in love with them right away, especially Mr. Xu," she said. "He was an extremely trusting, generous, honest, kind person and so I just saw that I really wanted to make a film of his experience of before and after relocation. He was just a beautiful human being so he was the reason why I made the film."

      Wang said she also learnt a lot about parts of China she was unfamiliar with.

      "I grew up in China in the big city so I didn't know anything about rural culture, traditional farming, so making this film has told me a lot about the way of living there…which is quite different from city culture. So it's definitely a very emotional and also a great learning process to me personally."

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