Film by Yuting Cai selected for Amsterdam Lift-Off Film Festival

A new film by Postgraduate Researcher Yuting Cai will be showcased as part of this year's Amsterdam Lift-Off Film Festival.

The Amsterdam Lift-Off Film Festival is one of the city’s oldest film festivals, bringing large crowds and great exposure to a wide range of genres. Running from 10 October to 7 November, the festival showcases filmmaker's talents in a month-long celebration which includes audience choice awards.

The festival brings independent film from emerging artists around the globe, connecting the Netherlands and international markets. The aim is to maximise artists connection with audience, to provide an experimental platform for indie creatives, and to help nurture voices and launch careers.

Yuting Cai’s film – Secret Archives: Three-Minutes In The Open-Door Apartment (2021) – addresses Chineseness, which Yuting describes as ‘a thinking of the ‘East’ in the English world through the perspective of national identity. Yuting also explores the relationship between transgenerational traumas and Chinese identity throughout the film.

The Open-Door Apartments are two well-known Western old buildings in the city centre of Shanghai. Colonial elements, national memories and historical background have led to the buildings becoming urban legends in Chinese society.

Photo of the Open-Door Apartments in Shanghai

The Open-Door Apartments in Shanghai. Screenshot from Secret Archives: Three-Minutes In The Open-Door Apartment (2021), a film by Yuting Cai (artist name: Bei Yu). Courtesy the artist.

Yuting Cai is his final year of a PhD in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies. Yuting said:

“My PhD project investigates how the notion of Chineseness as a shared identity has caused issues of belonging and hampered effective communication among different Chinese communities. 

“In this selected film, montage is not only an editing technique, but also a concept – clipping different cultural and political contexts into traumatic architectural spaces, so as to form cross-generational traumas and make audience feel the relationship between national memory and identity issues.”

Dr Maki Fukuoka, Associate Professor in History of Art and one of Yuting’s PhD supervisors, said:

“It is wonderful that more festivals and audiences have a chance to experience Yuting’s work. In 2021, his practice-led film essay, A Tale of Duo Cranes, was recognized at the Urban Film Festival in Miami, Florida. The same work won the International Audience Award at The Six Art Visuals and Poetry Film Festival in Vienna.

“As a supervisor, it is thrilling that the intricacy of Yuting’s approach to the question of belonging resonates with broader and different types of audiences in different cultural contexts.”

Dr Eirini Boukla, also one of Yuting’s PhD supervisors (based in the School of Design), said:

“It is brilliant to see Yuting's films stemming from his practice-led PhD research gaining recognition and exposure at prestigious international film festivals.”

With a mixture of fresh talent and festival veterans covering all genres, this year’s festival will be screened online.

Find out more about the Amsterdam Lift-Off Film Festival, including the full programme and how to purchase tickets.

Feature image

Screenshot from Secret Archives: Three-Minutes In The Open-Door Apartment (2021), a film by Yuting Cai (artist name: Bei Yu). Courtesy the artist.