ACF Asian Cinema Fund

Asian Network of Documentary(AND) Fund

2023 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund

Category Good Gang-an Hospital Fund
Project XiXi
Director WU Fan
Country Taiwan, Korea, Philippines
Director's Profile Fan WU is a director and producer from Taiwan. She raises political questions about human agency and social structures through deeply personal films. She is an alumna of Rotterdam Lab, IDFAcademy, CIRCLE - Women Doc Accelerator, Yamagata Documentary Dojo, European MFA program DocNomads, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She co-founded Svemirko Film with Filipino filmmaker Venice ATIENZA. Their first production, Last Days at Sea (Venice ATIENZA, 2021), premiered at Berlin International Film Festival 2021. Her debut directorial project, XiXi, was awarded the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund 2022, the Development Prize for Best Female Director at DOK Leipzig 2020, and was showcased at Cannes Doc 2021. She is a member of the Documentary Association of Europe and the Taipei Documentary Filmmakers′ Union.
Chinese artist, XiXi, and I crossed paths when she was hitchhiking around Europe trying to survive as an artist, and living a nomadic life with no money in her pockets. I was captivated by her untamed spirit, and we quickly became friends.

Shortly after we met, her French husband, Mederic, asked her to return to France because their daughter Nina was not doing well in her absence. Following their divorce, Mederic, who had custody of Nina, wanted a stable, bourgeois life. He argued that XiXi was an inadequate mother and should have limited access to Nina. Additionally, to renew XiXi’s visa, the French government required her to demonstrate her ability to provide stable financial support and accommodation for Nina.

The legal judgment and separation from Nina devastated XiXi. Over the years, I would visit her regularly and witnessed how her uninhibited nature, which I adored at first, increasingly brought her trouble.

Throughout her ongoing struggle against societal institutions, art became evermore important to her; only when performing could she express how life had left her shocked and shaken.

And gradually, our friendship also forced me to confront my own vulnerabilities when re-inventing my own life.
Director's Note
In the culture from which XiXi and I originate, it is believed that every human being is born like a rock, each with their own edges and corners. These unique sharp surfaces eventually create clashes between individuals and society. The ideal passage of life should remove all these hard edges, like a stone being ground down by a river. This “meaningful pain” makes your surfaces smooth and uniform; like all the other stones. In this way, society remains in harmony, and there are no hard feelings.

When I met XiXi, I was immediately intrigued by her uninhibited spirit. She seemed free from the invisible controls of society. I decided that I wanted to make a film with her, and filming gradually became the common language by which we engaged in each other’s lives, despite our differences.

Through this personal story, the film makes sincere attempts to investigate and challenge established beliefs, creating a space for dialogue on the political questions of what values society deems acceptable and how these affect the innermost aspects of a person’s life. By creating this reflective distance, the film explores hope and the challenges of forging one’s own path.