Dead Pigs (World Cinema Dramatic Competition)

Who: Cathy Yan, director and writer

Logline: Based on true events, a bumbling pig farmer, a feisty salon owner, a sensitive busboy, an ambitious expat architect, and a disenchanted rich girl converge and collide as thousands of dead pigs float down the river towards a rapidly modernizing Shanghai, China.

Our crew size was: at one point close to a hundred! (There are a lot of people in China!)

An audience watching my film probably won’t know that: we spent two months raising and training pigeons in an abandoned house so that they would recognize it as home and fly circles around it. Thankfully, the shot made it (more than once) into the film.

An influence or reference on this film was: Magnolia and Short Cuts.

The biggest lesson I learned making this movie: Follow your gut (because you often don’t have time to think). And if you think production is long… wait ’til post-production. I also learned how to make a movie in China, which is a unique experience.

The film I’m most excited about seeing at the festival this year: Untitled Debra Granik Project. Only she gets to have a title like that! Everyone is just dying to see it. She’s been a mentor of mine, and I’m excited to see her long-overdue narrative follow-up to Winter’s Bone.

Cathy Yan, director of Dead Pigs, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Photograph by Daniel K. Isaac, courtesy of Sundance Institute

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