We had the good fortune of connecting with Joy Wang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joy, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
Read books for at least 30 minutes before going to bed every day give me immense satisfaction as a filmmaker and a storyteller. What can be more nurturing than learning about others’ lives on a daily basis? With books, I get to hop from one country to another, join various journeys and adventures and converse with great authors of our time. In a way, my life has been expanded and as a result, my heart as well.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
when I inspect myself, I’m looking through those lenses from the eyes of that girl who grew up in both the mountain city of Chong Qing and later in metropolitan Beijing – and who is now a young woman in the United States. The stories I’ve heard over the years, books I’ve read, people I’ve met all become part of me and my works. I love the idea of adding surreal elements into otherwise ordinary life, and my cinematography works always strive to reflect this vision. In “Still Your Son”, we have a shot of the male protagonist who watches a goldfish as it swims away in a lake while he thinks about his father who has recently passed away. (We takes out the goldfish immediately after the shot and the magical creature still lives happily in the director’s home) Being it real or imagined, the shot of something out of the ordinary catches people’s eyes and force the audience to come up with their own interpretation of the unexpected incident. Through my lenses, these imageries arouse emotions, stir up imagination and open up the discourse beyond the movie world. It’s intriguing how we can find our shared humanity via film.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Assuming that we live in a COVID FREE America… A perfect week would start from a meal at the Cheesecake Factory in Redondo Beach right off the plane. Then the next morning, we’ll hang out in old Pasadena, where I’ll tour him/her around the city hall, take some great photos and find a nice little cafe to have brunch. In the afternoon, we can chill in the Arlington garden, read some books, and talk about life. If we have extra money to spend, we can also go to the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden across the street to have some teas and get a bathroom break… Day 3, we are off to laguna beach. I always enjoy walking along its art district and adore the amazing artworks. There is also a Koi fish shop that I’ve been dying to see but are too unmotivated to go there alone. So we’ll make a stop there as well. Then like everyone else, we’ll walk along the seashore, take some amazing sunset photos and finish our cold sandwich. Day 4, how convenient that it happens to be a Sunday! We are now at Melrose trading post, surrounded by mediocre food, friendly people, awesome music, and amazing vintage goods. In the afternoon, we will walk down Wilshire Blvd and possibly stop by Bigfoot crest theatre for a pleasant horror film… Day 5, maybe a day to slow down. We’ll eat dim sum at Atlantic Seafood & Dimsum restaurant, get some boba in the same plaza, and spend a whole afternoon playing boardgame at Tea Station. At night, we’ll have some authentic Szechuan hotpot at Malubianbian just two blocks down. Day 6, after a whole day devouring ravenously, it’s a day for hiking. I’ll take my friend to Chantry Flat National Forest, where we can look forward to the waterfall a the end of the trail. I also love the horses and donkeys that often passed by this trail, I remember having a great conversation with their breeder one sunny afternoon. Day 7, the last day in LA. I guess I should be a good host and take my friend on the Walk of Fame or Santa Monica Piers, but the sea of people would really give me a headache. So I’ll end this trip in the Huntington Library. Although the price to film there mounts to astronomical figures, but they welcome tourist photos. There, I’ll introduce him/her to the most aggressive peacock in Southern California, and we will also pretend that we’ve booked a flight to Japan. Our journey continues… The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to shout out to my mom. (Don’t we all? Moms are great!) Although you annoyed me on a daily basis now that we are quarantining together and always pretend to be a little girl at home, you are the most independent, courageous, and loving woman I know. I won’t say it to your face because I am a self-conscious, embarrassed daughter but yes, I appreciate everything you have done for me. I am very thankful that you brought me to Beijing. Life was hard as a single mom, yet you’ve provided me a carefree girlhood. You continued to support me when I decide to pursue a career in film and had always given me your sincerest praise. Well, now I’m offering a little bit back to you, but obviously, you deserve so much more praise!
The Cat In Me (2020) Movie Stills