Film "Finding Yingying" streams at Chicago int'l film festival

2020-10-15 22:05:08 GMT2020-10-16 06:05:08(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

CHICAGO, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- The film "Finding Yingying" is now available to stream in the United States as part of the 56th Chicago International Film Festival that runs from Oct. 14 to 25.

Zhang Yingying, a Chinese visiting scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), was savagely murdered by Brendt Christensen in 2017. Christensen was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of release and spared the death penalty on July 19, 2019.

The film was produced by Jiayan "Jenny" Shi. When she was a graduate student at Northwestern University's (NU) Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, Shi started to film the event as a class project. Shi later participated in the Diverse Voices in Docs program, organized by Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago. Brent E. Huffman, associate professor at Medill, joined as a producer and helped shape the project into a feature-length film.

In the film, Shi followed the Zhang family's quest for truth and justice, thousands of miles away from their home in China.

"What I want viewers to take away after they watch the film is to get to know more about who Yingying was as a person and not as a victim of a heinous crime," Shi said.

"I worked closely with Jenny for the last three years to craft the narrative so that Yingying Zhang's story could reach a global audience," Huffman said.

The film won the 2020 Breakthrough Voice award at the prestigious SXSW film festival. The Hollywood Reporter called the film "a deft portrait of a family on the razor's edge between hope and dread."