The Re-creation of Cardboard: Exploring the Art Direction Behind the Award-Winning Film, It’s Not About the Car

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Yingjie Jin, the visionary art director behind the award-winning short film, It’s Not About the Car, has challenged the norms of storytelling with her unique and thought-provoking art direction. The film revolves around a teenage girl’s quest to connect with her workaholic mom by writing and starring in a senior play that explores their quirky and dysfunctional relationship.

What sets this film apart is the centerpiece of the story: a meticulously crafted cardboard car that can hold two people. Every detail, from the lights to the steering wheel and dial gauges, has been carefully designed by Yingjie Jin. The car’s lightweight structure allows the actors to lift it effortlessly, creating the illusion of movement.

The cardboard car serves as a metaphor for the mother-daughter relationship, evolving from a symbol of freedom and desire to an extension of oneself. It represents the family’s journey, moving forward despite the arguments and differing perspectives. The car unites the characters, both literally and figuratively, as they navigate life’s twists and turns.

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A poignant scene in the film features the mother and daughter arguing, with the mother exclaiming, “If you have the ability, you should drive in the useless cardboard car you made.” The daughter then climbs into the cardboard car, sulking in the back of a pickup truck. This key image emphasizes the emotional intensity of the film as well as the creative genius behind the art direction.

To further enhance the visual narrative, Yingjie Jin and her dedicated team crafted an entire world out of cardboard. They designed buildings, streetlights, and plants for the stage, and even the audience was made from circular heat insulation mats with hand-drawn faces of varying ages, genders, and expressions. It took the team half a month to complete this immersive environment, demonstrating their unwavering passion for the project.

The film received numerous accolades, including Best Short Film at prestigious international film festivals such as the New York International Film Awards, London Movie Awards, Tokyo Film Awards, Paris Film Awards, San Francisco International Film Awards, and Rome Prisma Film Awards. Additionally, it won the Best Production Design award at the Indie Short Fest and Independent Shorts Awards and was selected for various other festivals and competitions.

The production faced several challenges, particularly due to the pandemic, which prevented the gathering of extras in the theater. However, this obstacle inspired Yingjie Jin’s ingenious solution of creating a cardboard audience, evoking the protagonist’s feelings while facing a theater full of spectators.

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Yingjie Jin’s positive attitude and ability to adapt to challenges showcase her innate creativity and passion for her craft. Her unique approach to storytelling through art direction opens up new avenues for emotional expression in filmmaking.

In the future, Yingjie Jin aspires to continue pushing boundaries as an art director, exploring innovative ways to convey universal human emotions through her distinct perspective. As her success and influence grow, she serves as an inspiration to others, proving that limitations can spark remarkable ideas and lead to truly groundbreaking art.

Don’t miss out on the fascinating world of Yingjie Jin and her artistic journey in the film industry. Explore her captivating portfolio on her website, and follow her on Instagram for behind-the-scenes glimpses and updates on her latest projects. To discover more about her accomplishments and the films she’s worked on, check out her IMDb profile. Connect with Yingjie Jin today, and immerse yourself in her creative universe.

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