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Meet Shincy Kexin Lu of Monday Pictures in West Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shincy Kexin Lu.

Shincy Kexin, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Ever since I was a child, I have always been having a wide interest in a variety of different things and came into knowing many different forms of arts. While everyone was very focused on exam scores in China, I had the opportunity to explore all these expressions. I was a child actor and kids’ TV show host back in my city in China and first had the experience of working with the camera. Later, I was the chief of my school’s own TV station and my producing lessons started here when I learned to run my own programs.

In high school, I was very involved and passionate about socio-economical issues and politics, which motivated me to pursue a degree in economics in college. At UCLA, I was again astounded by the possibility of one’s life and career. I continued my search and graduated from UCLA with a major in economics and minors in film and cognitive science. I debated about my career, and I feared the decision of having to choose one life and give up the others. Through my study at film school at UCLA and the courage I received from my professors and friends, I became a filmmaker, a role that allows a million versions of life and all the experiences that I wish.

Soon, I received an MFA degree from producing discipline from the prestigious American Film Institute. I knew I wanted to create my own stories and have the opportunity to make things happen. Upon graduation, I set up my production companies in China and Los Angeles to support young arthouse filmmakers with their short films and develop long-form projects. We are battling the difficulty of being a young company with a young producer, the industry hierarchy, and the censorship and restriction of creating content and releasing them in China; but we see that the ship of Chinese independent arthouse films will sail in the next few years. The film represents a culture, and the voice and experience of a generation; there is a generation of us that are trying to make changes and to create art.

Has it been a smooth road?
It is not easy to be a filmmaker and have that burning spot in your heart, especially after everything that you have to go through to make a film. We often joke about how we have all other career options and could’ve lived a life with so much more financial security, and yet we still end up on a film set every time, cursing.

Arthouse films are probably the hardest ones to make. There are financial reasons, and the ultimate question of how we should persuade the financiers to give money to the heart of the films, especially now ironically “independent films” almost becomes the synonym for “charity”. There are collaboration dramas, and how magically a team with a confident ego per head comes together to create one piece of art. And then there are trust issues, and after all this time and effort one has to put in a project, how do I make sure that you know what you are doing and not f**king it up?

But the most difficult and yet exciting challenge even sounds a bit naive at this point of the market scenery, is to build a sustainable system for independent arthouse films. The circle of creating diversified and solid content, feeding the artists, and then motivating more content creators, involves many parts of filmmaking and needs a lot of support from the society that one does not have control over. Luckily, I see more and more people have initiated and joined the common pursuit of arthouse films that open up cinematic languages and experience, introducing more Chinese independent arthouse films to global audiences.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Monday Pictures story. Tell us more about your work.
Monday Pictures is an arthouse production company set up by Chinese independent producer Shincy Lu in 2019, together with its producing partner 一炉(YiLu) Pictures in Guangzhou, China.

It is dedicated to support the younger generation of independent arthouse filmmakers to voice their stories and have a conversation of humanity, art and philosophy. It is the platform for cultures and languages to emerge and impact each other, in creative ways with mid to low budget. Monday Pictures have produced award-winning short films, music videos and visual essays that have gained attraction across the globe and in top film festivals, including Girona Film Festival, Woodstock Film Festival, Moscow Shorts Official selection and many more. Films produced by Shincy have also been screened and awarded in Toronto International Film Festival, AFI Fest, LA Shorts International Film Festival, Oaxaca FilmFest and many more.

Monday Pictures focuses on international co-productions and aims to connect independent arthouse audiences and markets across the world. It currently focuses on the development of arthouse features and limited series as well as short-form content.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The world will turn upside down in 5-10 years for independent arthouse films, especially in China – the best place to experience any content as long as you are not greedy about the size of its market and focus on finding your audiences. There will be so much craving about different kinds of content and stories for all these audiences, both in China and overseas. Our generation of filmmakers was raised in a very different time than our parents and grandparents. A lot of us have experience studying or living in other cultures or countries.

The changes in society brought by the technology and economic boom have had a big impact on the concern and interest of modern Chinese. The audiences will soon see a new wave of stories and storytelling that are created by the “Millennials” and how we choose to address the problems and hopes of modern China and the contemporary world. I feel very excited and extremely privileged to be the pioneering force of the wave and witness the change.

In five years, Monday Pictures will aim to produce or co-produce around 10 independent feature films, all under the budget of two million USD. Monday Pictures will also introduce the Chinese independent films produced by its Chinese producing partner YiLu Pictures to the oversea audiences. We would also participate in setting up the Chinese Cinema Independent Film Fund to support films with humanity and arts topics in film schools and prestigious arthouse film festivals, and to provide producing collaboration should the projects are fitted.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Ziyi Jin, Yuxiang Li, Tyrone Smith, Synthia He

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