Tanxuan Shi, a talented director hailing from Guangzhou, China, has made a name for himself with his incredible work in the film industry. One of his notable projects is a short film with a unique premise, centered around Zhang Cheng, an under-appreciated Chinese magician who teams up with an FBI agent to catch a skilled Japanese burglar. The film showcases a thrilling game of face-changing versus face-changing, as Zhang Cheng uses his ancient art of mask-changing to outwit his clever opponent.
As a director, Tanxuan Shi finds ways to balance and ensuring that the film’s final product is both visually stunning and compelling. Throughout the production, he had to make compromises due to budget limitations but managed to utilize editing techniques to create a seamless and engaging narrative.
One memorable scene from the film is a magic show featuring Sichuan-Face Changing, an ancient art of masks that change colors on the actors’ faces. This scene was shot live on location with the help of renowned magician Conan Liu and famous Asian actor Anthony Tai. The authenticity of the performance and the traditional Chinese art captivated audiences, earning the film the honor of Best Short Film – First Place at the 15th Annual Chinese American Film Festival.
The most challenging and rewarding part of Tanxuan Shi’s involvement in the film was managing the demanding shooting schedule. With only six days to shoot a 30-minute film, he had to rely on his experience as an editor and the expertise of his production team to plan and execute a tight shooting schedule. Despite the challenges, the team was able to complete the film without going over time or budget.
From his experience working on the film, Tanxuan Shi learned the importance of creating one’s own path in the industry. He is committed to using the language of commercial cinema to tell stories of the Chinese and Asian communities, showcasing the rich culture that they have to offer.
Directing a film can sometimes be a relatively passive profession, dealing with various uncertainties like time constraints and budget limitations that often lead to compromises on set. However, director Tanxuan Shi demonstrates the delicate balance between passivity and proactivity by creating memorable scenes that showcase unique cultural elements and garnering prestigious recognition.
Directing a film involves creating memorable scenes that evoke strong emotional responses from the audience. Here are three notable scenes from various films, highlighting the emotions they aimed to convey, and the challenges faced during their direction. The Magic Show Scene: In this scene, a live performance of Sichuan-Face Changing, an ancient Chinese art form featuring masks that change colors on the actors’ faces, takes place. Filming required inviting the best face changer teacher in Los Angeles and famous magician Conan Liu to act as the magic director. The main character, Zhang Cheng, is played by Anthony Tai, a talented actor and member of the Magic Castle in Hollywood. The scene was filmed using multiple cameras without cutting, allowing for a complete presentation of the magic sequence. The Bridge Scene: This scene offered the opportunity for the director to introduce traditional Chinese art and culture to a broader audience, showcasing the unique aspects of the ancient art form. Native American audience members, judges, and special effects artists often assumed the bridge used in the face-changing sequence was done with post-production VFX, providing a platform for sharing Chinese heritage through film. The Film Festival Scene: In 2019, the film won Best Short Film – First Place at the 15th Annual Chinese American Film Festival, a prestigious event recognized by Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, and documented in the U.S. Congress Report. This achievement marked a memorable and proud moment in the director’s involvement with the film.
Directing requires a delicate balance between passivity and proactivity. While directors must sometimes make difficult compromises due to budget constraints and other challenges, Tanxuan Shi demonstrates how maintaining a clear vision and showcasing unique cultural elements can lead to memorable and award-winning films.
Growing up in Guangzhou, Tanxuan Shi was a creative and curious child who loved magic and thought outside the box. His passion for film started as a fan, and he has since been dedicated to staying up-to-date with the latest releases and industry trends. Today, he continues to make a significant impact in the entertainment world, inspired by the magic of storytelling.
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Trailer to Magician: Game of Detective https://vimeo.com/400640625/dbb0702b98
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