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Daily Inspiration: Meet Yunfan Xu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yunfan Xu.

Hi Yunfan, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Filmmaking or anything related to visual arts was never a significant part of my life. I was born and raised in China. My dad is a businessman and my mom is an accountant. Growing up I rarely went to the movies because I was in a boarding school where no electronic devices were allowed and all you can do is studying for the exams. I did best in Biology in high school, so I thought the natural path for me is to keep studying that in undergrad and go to medical school.

However, I was miserable during my Freshmen year because I found myself unable to sit down and study for exams once I got out of the stifling educational system in China, and no one forces me to study.

The turning point came in the summer after my lackluster freshmen year in Boston College. I got a video camera Sony a6300 for my birthday because I was watching YouTube videos of online creators and wanted to give it a shot myself. I was hooked immediately, and could not stop making videos. When the summer ended and I went back to school, my mind was never in the classroom. All I wanted to do was making videos, not sitting in my dorm and memorizing vocabularies. I started to make commercials, documentaries and my favorite of all, narrative short films because I enjoyed telling a story.

During the pandemic, I shot a 45-minute indie film over the span of three months when I was still in school with Conor Holway, who produced and directed it. After almost a year of post-production, he managed to premiere the film in the biggest theatre room in Boston Downtown AMC 19 and filled all 500 seats. It was a magical moment for me and make me realize the power of the film when you see your work on a silver screen with a room full of audience.

I graduated last May from Boston College, and I am now pursuing an MFA degree in film production with an emphasis in Cinematography because I wanted to take it to the next level and meet more aspiring young filmmakers.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I am not going to pretend to be a victim here because I am incredibly lucky that I have had help from so many people along the way. First and foremost, my parents have been more supportive than I could ever ask for considering I told them halfway through college that I was going to drop my pre-med track and become a filmmaker. They simply asked me to make sure I have given it enough thought and as I confirmed, they fully supported my decision, both emotionally and financially. I have had mentors who helped me with my film school application when I knew nothing about the system and filmmakers who are way more experienced than me show me the ways and get me onto professional sets for the first time after I moved across the country to California. Of course, there are moments of doubt and frustration along the way as they are inevitable, but the filmmaking community has got me to be friends with some of the nicest human beings on Earth

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a director of photography/cinematographer, and also an avid film photographer. I also work as a camera assistant, camera operator, gaffer, and key grip. what sets me apart is that no matter what position I am working as I always give my 100 percent, even when it is not my own project because there is so much to learn, and new connections to make on each set if you pay attention.

Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
making images that tell a story and move people because it always gives me a high that nothing else can compare to

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Image Credits:

Michael Ji

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