Zhongyu (Robin) Wang is an award-winning director and screenwriter. He graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English (Highest Distinction) and is now an MFA candidate in Film & Television Production at the University of Southern California. He is the recipient of the Lemkau Family – Goldman Sachs Scholarship and the Irvin Kershner Scholarship, two of the most prestigious awards bestowed by the School of Cinematic Arts.
Robin was born in Xi’an, China in 1995, and decided to study abroad to pursue his passions for filmmaking. It was in U.S.A. that he gradually picked up his filmmaking professionalism. Till this date, he has completed six narrative shorts that are official selections at festivals including Urbanworld, LA Outfest, Out on Film, Atlanta (Oscar-qualifying), Outfest Fusion, NewFilmmakers Los Angeles, Chinese American Film Festival, as well as streaming platforms such as Dekkoo and RokuTV. His works have also been featured twice on Deadline.com.
“The color turquoise is derived from blue but also surpasses blue.” At three years old, I learned from my parents this Chinese idiom that is meant to spur me on to live a life better than theirs. But ironically, ever since I studied abroad and exposed myself to the diversity of world cultures, I felt that I was increasingly torn away from my parents. In my case, the color turquoise was not just derived from blue; it had become a completely different color.
In Wei-Lai, we see a Chinese immigrant boy trying to get adopted by a white American family; but really, this is a story about a displaced Chinese culture seeking adoption in the new American homeland. Being uprooted from the geopolitical center of our home cultures, we are, just like Wei-Lai, seeking “adoption” in a formidable new country. Yet, the process of finding the new “home” almost inevitably comes with a sacrifice. Wei-Lai’s story is a story about hurting in the process of finding love: the parents discipline him physically with their old practices, and, to retaliate, he wounds them emotionally. But with time, they all grow up to become better versions of themselves, recognizing what makes them a family and accepting the imperfections of their love for each other.
As life is full of laughs and pains, in this movie, we used laughs to look at pains. The pains of not knowing the grammar of love to speak to our father’s generation, and it always broke our hearts when we ended up hurting each other. And more than anyone, I made this film to speak to my own father.
At a time when the Asian American community is attacked more than ever, I also hope to use this film as a call for our community’s self-healing, self-love, and self-acceptance. Our cultures, identities, and selfhood do not exist in the ways other people look at us; they exist in each of our own hearts.
- Year Film Title Description
- March 20, 2022 Wei-Lai Tired of getting pushed and punished by his own parents, Wei-Lai, an 11-year-old Chinese American boy, decides to show up at his best friend’s family and offer himself up for their adoption.
- Year Film Title Award(s)