‘The Comeback’ is the fifth in the series of Shot on iPhone CNY short film - an online film highly-anticipated and hotly-debated annually by Chinese netizens.
The vision is to outdo the monster we did last year. The film idea derived from a simple observation - with the off-the-chart results from last year, we recognised netizens love a good BTS, they savoured the breakdown of the shooting process, the challenges, the tricks, the moves which brought us to: “What if we make a film about making a film?” And that would also make our prerequisite BTS even bonker: A film about a film making a film. Boom! That meta line sold itself, what's next?
After months of scouring through the (cluttered and often amusing) Chinese net for a worthy insightful story to be told through this meta lens - a bleak story about an almost vacant village with 15 elderly left caught our attention immediately. All we need to do is to make this rather heartbreaking news into something - not celebratory (that wouldn't be right) but something feel-good and upbeat - as they say, let’s put a positive spin to it.
By sheer luck, no. Persistence, we came across even more great articles, source of inspiration - China's successful Mars exploration with Tianwen-1. Boom! 网红景点 (Internet famous), Boom Boom!*
We then tapped into mainland Chinese directors for this unique story of a forgotten village, Zhang Meng stood out for his unique perspective and storytelling, and more importantly as a Shot on iPhone film, an amazing cinematographer Lou Dong. And with them, we threw in some nostalgia, a spoonful of dieselpunk and a pinch of kungfu. The end product is a multi-genre movie about making a movie that mixes up Hollywood sci-fi, traditional Kung Fu action and nostalgic feel-good comedy & a kick-ass Behind the Scene, both to inspire and encourage everyone to never stop believing in their dreams — even if that dream is as far away as Mars.
*The events depicted here are fictitious. Any deemed outrageous creative process is merely intended to keep this write-up as poetic and effortless as possible.
“A young stunt-double, who dreams of being behind the camera not just in front of it, returns home for Chinese New Year to spend time with his father while nursing an injury and escaping his perceived failure. The villagers celebrate his return as the ‘big director’ and he is reluctantly convinced to help the village create a movie of their own, to make their unknown village ‘internet famous.’ What it really does is bring the villagers together as they craft and create a movie set on Mars — writing the story, making costumes, building sets and setting up stunts — and reignite the young man’s belief in becoming a director and fulfilling his filmmaking dreams.”
“The Comeback” was produced in association with Apple ad agency TBWA\Media Arts Lab Shanghai. It features an original score by Varqa Buehrer.