A photographer tries to decipher eerie anomalies in her pictures.
| Yumei still frames
Yumei is a film I directed in my first year in the MFA program at San Francisco State University. The way the program was structured saw to it that it went from concept to finished film in the most efficient and accurate way possible in terms of properly projecting the themes and ideas behind the project onto the screen, thanks to the guidance of my amazing professors, many of whom are accomplished filmmakers in their own right.
There was one thing however, that kept me from being fully satisfied with how it came out–until now.
That one thing was money. When the film was made, I had very little in terms of financial resources, and these were the days of shooting on film, not video, so production costs were inherently higher for small productions.
After extensive script workshops and revisions, we filmed over 4 or 5 days and got everything that was needed to construct the film. This part wasn't surprising considering the massive amount of planning involved to shoot something like this on a shoestring budget.
The trouble came after shooting ended. In order to edit the film, I'd need to transfer the footage to a digital format, and at the time, this process was prohibitively expensive. I could only afford the most basic, low-resolution video transfer, which captured just a small fraction of the quality present in the film negative.
My thought was that after editing was completed, I could save up money to do a proper film scan, but when the time for that came, it wasn't a tenable idea. It was still way too expensive for me to stomach, especially with other future projects competing for the same limited funds. In the end, I didn't feel like I could divert the money needed into this project and chose instead to focus on future ones.
| Yumei BTS photos by Jonathan Mathis
Fast forward to 2022. The pandemic and its restrictions were still in full force, so I found myself with plenty of free time and thankfully, a bit of spare cash. I decided to finally do what I'd originally intended and hired post-house, Movette, in San Francisco to do a proper film scan of the film's negative. Over ten years after filming, the benefit of shooting on film finally showed itself.
When I saw the new scan, I was blown away by the detail and clarity of the images. I was finally able to see the film as it was originally meant to be seen. To this point, the only place I'd been able to see it this way was in the colorist's studio in 2008. Now, I can share the results with you all and can finally be satisfied with the project.
I hope you enjoy the fruits of a project that took 15 years to finally emerge in its final form. If you have the chance to watch, I'd love to hear your thoughts and I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. Peace and love.
Bianca Warren – "The Photographer"
Key Crew
Mackenzie Mathis – Writer, Director, Editor, Sound Designer
Marcia Ong – Cinematographer
Su-Yin Mah – 1st Assistant Camera
Angela Park – 2nd Assistant Camera
Soumyaa Kapil Behrens – Gaffer
Eirini Steirou – Key Grip
Shaka Jamal Redmond – Location Sound
Brittany Edwards – Boom Operator
Laila Hotait Salas – Script Supervisor
Larry Manke – Offline Colorist

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