After the screening of De Lan as part of the Contemporary Trends, the film’s director Liu Jie held a workshop with the students and Festival guests.
Answering why he set the story in the autonomous region Tibet, he said that he had a connection to this province, that it had beautiful scenery and that many different ethnic groups lived there.
The author said that the majority of the cast were non-professional actors, and that the costumes were authentic, including the depiction of the way of life which had not changed since the eighties to date. He said that the main actor was from Beijing, and that he had spent two months in the province, while the main actress was originally from the area, but she studied in Beijing. Other cast members were from the area where the film was made.
The director said that the great majority of contemporary Chinese films were Hollywood-style blockbusters abounding in CGI, so he wanted to make an artistic film which would teach the people in China more about minorities. He wanted his films to influence people and document the reality of modern China.
The leading actor is an introvert throughout the whole film, and shows emotions only in the end. This was because he did not dare to do anything, despite his love for De Lan and the fact that he in a way found a new family.
Liu Jie also told an anecdote concerning the cinematographer from Germany who he worked with on this film. The greatest difficulty during the shooting was lack of oxygen, because they filmed on an altitude of around 5000 m. On top of that, the DOP was a vegetarian and they had a problem with food, since people mostly ate meet there, and fruit and vegetables were scarce. Often, while filming, the director would postpone the cut so that the actors would look genuinely tired. On one occasion, the director and the cinematographer, carrying a monitor and camera, followed the actors and filmed. Finally, the director was so tired that he plugged out the cables and sat on the ground, while the cinematographer continued following the actors, until they completely left Liu Jie’s field of view.