“When I was first approached to create a short film on the monster-sized, complex global topic of explaining China’s economic boom, trade, and its impact on the U.S. economy - I had a flashback to the intensity of cramming for exams at the University of Chicago, where I graduated with a BA in economics. I couldn’t say no to this challenge - a project that aptly combines my background in economics and film.
I dug my head deep into news articles, economic publications, and phone calls with economic advisors Neil Irwin and Greg Ip in search of a focus in a sea of topics. I’m used to working on feature-length documentaries where I devote a good amount of time researching, preparing, looking for characters, and establishing relationships.
A ruminating conversation with Nicholas Lardy, an economist who has long specialized in China, helped me narrow down my thoughts. He pointed me to a developing story in the last five years about China investing in manufacturing facilities in the U.S. He also referred me to another economist, Dan Rosen, exploring extensive research in this area. This was a new story to me, even as an avid follower of news related to China. I wanted to tell a nuanced story about China and its economic impact on the U.S. and I wanted to focus in the local communities that it impacts. What ensued has been an incredible fast and furious journey with my intrepid team through my first trip to the South, enlisting the generous and invaluable assistance and connections from economists, academics, and the film community. Pieces of the puzzle miraculously fell into place. We encountered soulful characters and locations and sought to capture the essence of their spirits through our cinematic lens.
I really hope our short film will show the complexities of globalization and the importance of a two-way relationship between China and the U.S. As one of our interviewees astutely observes, 'If you work together you learn more about each other and that way you know each other's habits and you care about each other more.'"
Born and raised in Beijing, Miao Wang is a New York-based filmmaker. She founded Three Waters Productions, focused on creative and cinematic films that inspire cultural understanding and a more humanist perspective of the world. Her filmmaking career started as an apprentice at Maysles Films. Beijing Taxi, Wang’s critically acclaimed first feature, premiered and was nominated for Best Feature Documentary at SXSW. It won numerous awards, screened at over 30 international film festivals and institutions, had a US theatrical release, and broadcast nation-wide on PBS. Her first (half-hour) documentary, Yellow Ox Mountain, screened at over 20 festivals and institutions; received a Best Short Film Award; and broadcast on PBS. Wang is currently in production with her second feature doc MAINE-LAND - about two Chinese adolescents coming of age as they leap across the continents from Chinese metropolis to a boarding school in rural Maine. Their dreams and perceptions distort, evolve, and clash with the life they came from and may return to. Wang is a recipient of grants and fellowship from the Sundance Institute, the Jerome Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, IFP, Tribeca Film Institute, Women Make Movies, and the Flaherty Film Seminar.