Cinematographer Weilun Feng shows the power of filmmaking with award-winning documentary
Filmmaking, for Weilun Feng, is the most fulfilling collaborative art. Working as a celebrated cinematographer in China and abroad, Feng loves that every project he embarks on involves working with other filmmakers who all offer a unique and different talent that is vital to making the final product: a cinematic masterpiece.
No matter what he is working on, from his work with Chengdu City, China’s e-sports team Chengdu Hunters, a successful team in the OWL, the league for the worldwide phenomenon Overwatch, as well as his films like Heartbeat, Love You Can Buy, and more. One of his most recent successes is the award-winning documentary The Power of Talk Show, a film that Feng also helped to write, that premiered late last year.
The Power of Talk Show talks about how a disabled Chinese American became a talk-show performer and entered the talk-show stage in Los Angeles with his indomitable spirit. While bringing laughter to everyone, it also changed his life.
“The original idea came to me when I met this comedian, Steve Lee, at a Hollywood industry event. He told me his story, told me how a Chinese American disabled person became a talk-show performer in the most competitive place in the world, Los Angeles. His positive energy moved me,” said Feng.
Once Feng knew he wanted to make this film, he brought the idea to Sino Tv. The news department head, Jocelyn Yu, loved the idea and instantly hired Feng as the cinematographer and introduced him to their documentary director Ruide Chen. Shortly afterwards, they developed the script of The Power of Talk Show and Sino TV established the project.
“Working with Weilun is a joyful process. He is a reliable person, always keeping his word.
With his solid filmmaking background, his knowledge of every department, it all makes him a really good communicator on set,” said Yu. “Weilun is very dedicated to his craft as a cinematographer. He takes the preproduction very seriously and always goes through all the reference videos and photos with me and does his homework. Weilun has a remarkable sense of cinematography, and always knows what he is doing.”
On the set, Chen and Feng worked together closely to achieve the best image possible and executing both of their visions. Feng used a lot of handheld shots to create the most realistic approach possible. He used a dolly for other shots that followed Lee, which were extremely powerful, and Feng’s use of close-up shots captured Lee’s character. These camera movements that Feng designed were essential to telling an honest and moving story
“To be honest, I had never shot a disabled person before this project. I thought it
would be hard because Steve can’t stand for a long time or walk too far, but I was wrong. In order to support my needs, Steve pushed himself to the limit. Every time I asked him if he needed a break, he always told me he was fine. His attitude inspired me a lot as a filmmaker, so I was working even harder on set,” said Feng.
The Power of Talk Show premiered on Sino TV on November 17th, 2019 across the United States. It immediately impressed audiences and critics alike, and even took home the award for Best Documentary at the World Premiere Film Awards 2019. Feng could not be happier for what the film achieved, not only from its accolades and awards, but the awareness for Steve Lee’s story that he was able to share with the world.
“Well, I didn’t expect that this project would win the best documentary of World
Premiere Film Award 2019. I was mind-blown. The award validated me and my work, pushing me to achieve higher goals with no fear. It also proved that I picked the right story and subject with Steve,” said Feng. “As we all know, Hollywood is competitive. Filmmakers from all over the world come here to achieve their dream. For Asians it’s even harder, for an Asian that is also disabled, it is almost impossible. But Steve never gave up, as he said, he’ll keep moving forward, step by step until he reaches his dream. Steve’s story reminded me of when I first got into the industry, and I felt that this story was a great way to educate young people and new filmmakers.”
After the success of The Power of Talk Show, Feng vastly impressed the news department at Sino TV, and plans on working with them again in the near future on other impactful documentaries. Be sure to keep an eye out for them.