THE FIRST GLIMPSE AT 2016’ MOST AMBITIOUS INDIE PROJECT IS A GLOBAL COLLABORATION AND WON “BEST TRAILER” AT THE PRESTIGIOUS PHILIP K DICK SCIENCE FICTION FESTIVAL IN NEW YORK THIS JANUARY
Caihong City is a sci-fi fairytale about a dying genius who struggles to complete a Supertask in order to gain entry inside the neighboring glass bastion of the rich and healthy.
From Romanian female director Florina Titz and a volunteer cast & crew from over thirty different countries comes this ambitious indie project shot in Brooklyn,NY and Romania. The first official teaser trailer premiered at the 4th Annual Philip K Dick Festival on January 14th, 2016 at Village East Cinema and won the year’s “Best Trailer” Award.
Caihong City is a gritty film, a sort of Blade Runner meets Wizard of Oz as a midnight movie, combining highly stylized anime aesthetics with DIY observational cinema. Early artwork, moodboards and concept animation released during the film’s crowdfunding campaign showcased “a beautiful dystopian urban-scape embossed with dreamy tints and ghostly glitches. It melds The Matrix’s concept of a hidden world in plain sight with designs reminiscent of Tim Burton’s 9 and overtones of Alfonso Cuaron’s Pan’s Labyrinth..” (SSN Insider)
Commenting on the director’s early exploration of Caihong City’s universe in the short experimental film, Kurupuru, journalist and sci-fi blogger, Annalee Newitz, said it reminds one of something “... China Miéville might have jammed into his city magic novel Kraken. It captures the weirdness of something, or perhaps the absence of something” (io9)
Romanian director Florina Titz is a Berlinale Campus Alumna who graduated from The University of Iowa’s Film MFA program and worked as a Visiting Professor at Pratt Institute’s Film & Video Department in Brooklyn, NY. She directed the first Romanian queer-cult classic feature film (TRIP, 2009). In order to make Caihong City , Florina gathered an international crew of filmmakers, educators, artists, industry professionals and students to New York to collaborate on this grand-scale ambitious project with a paradoxically microscopic budget. The lead characters of the film are played by Chinese actor, Zhao Lewis Liu, and Romanian actors, Marian Adochitei and Lana Moscaliuc. The film’s plethora of outlandish and colorful supporting characters were discovered via Backstage and Craigslist-- actors from Brazil, Japan, China,, Romania, Colombia, Germany, , Australia, Turkey, Russia, Moldova, Canada, Bosnia, India and French Polynesia. The international cast of multilingual actors were able to seamlessly become a part of the film’s universe because they had to learn and speak the language of Caihong, a fabricated language made exclusively for Caihong City,
The language spoken in Caihong City was created by Romanian-Canadian conlanger Mirela Ungureanu. The conlanguage of Caihong blends Tagalog phonology with Romance syntax and root words from Old English . The language creator used a Proto-Balto-Slavic pronunciation guide to coach the actors for months before the start of production.. Director Florina Titz envisioned a dystopian world where all of today’s languages have become extinct, and what is left is a concoction of ancestral linguistics.. “Caihong City is in a way, the ultimate foreign film, since no matter where it will play in the world it’s always going to have subtitles, it’s always going to appear as alien.” (Florina Titz)
Verónica Jordán-Sardi, producer and co-writer of Caihong City, immigrated to the United States from Cali, Colombia as a young teen fleeing sociopolitical unrest. A published cross-genre author, Verónica holds a Master’s in Comparative Literature from The University of Iowa and is currently a Diversity Scholar and M.F.A. candidate in creative writing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, California.
“As much as it often goes unrecognized, this country is made by first, second, third,...tenth generation immigrant individuals and families that make painstaking sacrifices to move where many still believe anything is possible. More than 80% of Caihong City’s cast and crew is comprised of hardworking and talented, young and old immigrants with established or promising careers as artists, educators and thinkers. In a city like New York, it’s nearly impossible not to reap the benefits of globalization, multilingualism and multiculturalism, and yet Caihong City’s cast and crew is a first of its kind. This film was not made for internationals or immigrants but by internationals and immigrants. Albeit, Caihong City is a fictional, fantastic world, but the coming together of an overabundance of multilinguals, disparate cultures and points of view that was necessary to make this outlandish, endlessly colorful world possible, is more real, more nonfiction than anything else in today’s America.” (Veronica Jordan-Sardi)
Zhao Lewis Liu previously worked as a broadcast journalist at China Central Television (the Chinese equivalent of the BBC) before joining Caihong City as a lead actor, producer and co-writer. His new book Beyond Hollywood, recounting his journey pursuing a film career in the U.S. and producing Caihong City, will be released in China in 2016.
“Two forces are transforming Hollywood: China and the Internet. The Wanda Group acquired AMC, and internet giants Alibaba and LeTV have not only started their own film companies in Beijing, but have also opened new offices in Los Angeles. The China box office, which grew by 48.7 percent in 2015 to $6.78 billion, is expected to overtake the North American box office by 2017, and more than 70 percent of movie tickets there are sold online. ”(Zhao Lewis Liu)
Zhao Lewis Liu plays Liu Junjie - the disabled genius who, having lost his kidneys to a mysterious organ market organization, is now confined to a wheelchair and an improvised dialysis machine of his own design. His only chance of survival is to complete a Supertask and prove his exceptional genius to the Furui City Committee - the leaders of the rich neighboring metropolis and hub of all medical care. However, his Supertask has a glitch! To find out what - or who - the glitch is, Liu Junjie has to form an unlikely alliance with the crazy vagabond Serioja (Marian Adochitei) and depressed prostitute Lavinia (Lana Moscaliuc) and venture amidst the city’s twisted Sektors.
The main characters of Caihong City suffer from clinical depression, addiction, living without kidneys, and a condition called The Devil’s Headache (based on the real life cluster headaches). Most inhabitants of the city survive by smoking a special brand of antidepressant cigarettes called Sertra-X. “I wanted the main characters to be so disastrously imperfect that they would flaunt their flaws like superpowers. I believe the true heroes of our society are those that suffer randomly for years from excruciating and prolonged physical pain with no one there to watch or applaud.” (Florina Titz)
Caihong City is currently in post-production. To find out more you can visit the film’s official website at www.caihongcity.com