Overseas Guide - 境外之遇 is a public service film, designed to help foreign students adjust to life abroad.
We follow Ling through the film as he adjusts to life in a new place . However, Ling's own dreams and nightmares soon begin to interfere with the film itself, leaving him and the audience adrift somewhere between English and Chinese, home and abroad, dreams and waking.
The Film's Creators
Alan Bynre spent most of his 20's in Mainland China and speaks fluent Mandarin. He has a background in comedy and audio fiction, his work often revolves around the odd and mysterious. Overseas Guide is directorial debut.
Tony Liang is an award winning Film maker from Guangdong, China. He is currently getting his masters in film at the University of Sussex,
Brighton, UK. Overseas Guide is his first dual language international film.
Tony Liang 梁鹏宇
Director of Photography
Zhiyao Xu - 徐知遥
Our Amazing Crew
Elva Yang - 杨璐
Yonina Yang - 杨洋
Mo Qiu -邱末
What people are asking about 'Overseas Guide'
1. What was the inspiration for the film?
The film was inspired by mine and Tony’s experiences living in each others countries. Most films about living as an immigrant focus on the nitty gritty of struggling to integrate, or a kind of ‘Ministry of Tourism’ version of reality. We wanted to make a film that reflected the deeper, stranger and more mysterious aspects of immigration.
2. How did you two meet?
We actually met on a Facebook language exchange group, I was looking to brush up on my Mandarin and Tony wanted to improve his English. We soon discovered we were both obsessed with film making.
3. What kind of budget did you have?
The crazy thing about this film is we had ZERO budget. Myself and Tony were both broke at the time, so all we could really afford were the essentials like permits and food for the crew. Luckily Tony could borrow some gear we needed from University, and I am handy at making DIY equipment. The really amazing part was that, the cast and crew all agreed to work for free, because they believed in the script. We can't begin to express how much it meant to us that such a talented group of people donated their skills to the project.
4. What challenges are there working on a bilingual film set?
Tony and I make a good team because I can almost speak Chinese and he can almost speak English! Most of the crew were bilingual to some extent so we actually managed pretty well. The main problem we faced on set was getting mixed up and speaking the wrong language to the wrong person. I’d forget and give Sofia, who is Portuguese, direction in Chinese instead of English and she’d laugh and say “You're doing it again!”
5. Can you tell us about the symbolism around butterflies and red flowers in the film?
There are definitely recurring symbols and intentional uses of colour in the film. We prefer not to explain our own interpretations too much though. There’s nothing worse than having a film you enjoy ruined by the writer or director telling you what they think it all means! I can tell you the red flower is called a Bi-An-Hua or Red spider lily.
6. Do you think the film will be popular in China?
Chinese speaking audiences are notoriously difficult to crack, and it’s hard to know what will or won’t work. That said, I think there are things in this film that will resonate with Chinese people especially if they have had lived abroad.
7. Is there any political or social message you are trying to convey in the film?
No, not really. There’s nothing wrong with making political of socially motivated films, but I am far more interested in film as a form of art. In the sense that it can communicate and even recreate those strange and mysterious experiences we have in life that cannot be put into words. There is a lot of division in the world today and I think film as art can play a small but significant role in bringing people together, not by giving them direct messages, but by presenting them with strange and beautiful images which hopefully resonate across cultures.