Hi there! I’m Yash, a queer filmmaker from China, currently based in London. I’ve been selected for the UnionDocs Early Production Lab, an incredible opportunity to develop my debut documentary feature, “Ma, Let’s Fly Together.” But I need your help to make this dream a reality.

Yash Zhang’s UnionDocs Summer Lab Crowdfunding

by UnionDocs

  • $3,500.00

    Goal
  • $85.00

    Raised
  • 6

    Days to go
Raised Percent :
2.43%
Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $
$
London, UK, United Kingdom (UK)

The Early Production Lab at UnionDocs is a month-long intensive residency program, and a precious opportunity for me to develop my first feature documentary film, “Ma, Let’s Fly Together,” under the guidance of mentors and a committed community of fellow filmmakers. As a recent graduate, this is a pivotal moment for me to shape my debut feature. “Ma, Let’s Fly Together” is a work-in-progress personal essay film that follows my journey of reconnecting with my mother, a divorced Chinese woman in her fifties, in our hometown – a place I had escaped seven years ago. Through a train journey that traverses our shared memories, we exchange intimate diaries, revealing layers of intertwined family traumas and personal struggles. Amidst these revelations, I disclose my gender identity and ongoing battle with depression to my mother. This film is a commitment to challenging entrenched gender binaries and patriarchal systems, both within my hometown and across cultures, shedding light on the shared struggles endured by myself, my mother, and countless others.

I dedicate this film to my mother, my hometown, women, LGBTQ+, and the ESEA (East and Southeast Asian) community – to those who share similar experiences with family entanglements, domestic violence, and oppressions from patriarchy. Your support will cover the program tuition, housing, living costs, and travel to New York. I’m deeply grateful for your belief in my endeavors and this chance to foster reconnection and healing.

Please join me in this commitment. Honourably, we received a small travel grant from British Council yet it won’t cover all the expenses and fees. Your support will go towards covering the cost of program tuition, housing, living cost, and travel to New York, making this opportunity a possibility for me. All contributors will receive:

**Credit Acknowledgment: As a token of our gratitude, your preferred name will be mentioned at the ending credit of our film.

**Behind-the-Scenes Access: Become an integral part of our filmmaking odyssey by joining our exclusive newsletter. Stay updated on the progress of “Ma, Let’s Fly Together,” with behind-the-scenes insights and sneak peeks into our creative process. Plus, you’ll be the first to know when the film makes its way to a screen near you.

 

Deep gratitude for your belief in my endeavors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Yifei “Yash” Zhang (he/they) is a queer filmmaker from Tengzhou, China, recently graduated from the Creative Documentary MFA program at University College London, UK.  Their films explore themes of queerness, fluidity, mental health, post-humanism, and trauma. Yash’s works have been selected for labs, pitches, festivals, queer venues, and exhibitions worldwide, including UnionDocs Summer Doc Lab, Edinburgh Pitch, Nowness China (2024), Sheffield Doc Fest (2024), Indie Memphis Film Festival (2022), and more.

With a background in Theatre and Film & Media Studies from Rhodes College, Memphis, Yash’s filmography includes “Thus They Spoke” (2022), “Trees Stay with Andrea” (2023), “No End” (2023), and the upcoming “The Journey of Leaves” (2024).


About the Summer Documentary Labs:

The Uniondocs Summer Documentary Lab are a program for a select group of media artists from the US and abroad. Based in one of NYC’s most exciting neighborhoods, Ridgewood, Queens, the Summer Labs offer a platform for participants to spend the Summer making strides and clarify the creative direction of their projects to attract the potential team members, funders and producers they need to find their way to the finish. An intensive schedule of screenings, open seminar discussions, weekly industry “field trips,” and inspiring artist visits from some of the most dynamic voices across the field of documentary, the SUMMER DOCUMENTARY LABS are tightly structured environments that bring participants into a select group of emerging filmmakers to get challenged and encouraged to think through every aspect of their works-in-progress.

Drawing inspiration from across disciplines, this intensive program should not be mistaken for an industrial, journalistic, or traditional documentary training. Scholar Scott MacDonald highlighted in The New York Times that, “UnionDocs has a healthy sense that the older definitions of what constitutes ‘experimental’ cinema and what constitutes ‘documentary’ are up for grabs.” Much emphasis is placed on workshopping lab participants’ writing about their projects as a way to both clarify the creative direction and attract potential team members, funders and producers. Participants receive focused, honest and helpful feedback on their project proposals from prominent documentary artists and industry experts.

The Early Production Lab in July is for projects about to go into production. Filmmakers have already likely shot some of their material and have access to their subjects and are looking for ways to strengthen their media samples, and pitches and work through the ideas as they approach the production stage and plan for the entire process all the way through to distribution.