Uncle Bird

This is a story of a man who is struggling to prove himself through difficulties.

At Jilin City, Jilin Province, China, there is a Changbai Island in a special section of the Songhua River, known to be unfrozen throughout the year because of the power plant at the upper stream. Every year, stocks of wild ducks add vitality to the life of the bleak winter here. To stop poachers, REN Jianguo, our Uncle Bird, chooses to live on the island despite of hard living conditions, no income, no power, no water or even no warm shelter. It has been twenty years since he shouldered the responsibility to protect birds.
In the year of 1996,Ren Jianguo ,was laid off the job. He had to support his family by renting the boat for the visitors. Many a pass-by was seen to do harm to the wild ducks and found to steal the eggs , which made Ren Jianguo heart broken.
For the purpose of revealing the harmony between human and nature, we provide him with a camera to record his real daily life throughout the four seasons. Although strong supports are given from people of different walks of life, queries and hardships come to him at the same time. Faced with struggles of human nature and conflicts of to leave or to stay, he persisted with his firm faith and strong belief. His dream is to make the Changbai Island a wetland ecological park, where citizens, living in the hustle and bustle of city life, can capture and experience the beauty of nature in Jilin City.

  • Shen Rong
    Director
  • Shen Rong
    Producer
  • Jianguo Ren
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary
  • Genres:
    nature, wildlife, Environment, human life, woman filmmaker
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 30 minutes 25 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 1, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    450,000 CNY
  • Country of Origin:
    China
  • Country of Filming:
    China
  • Language:
    Chinese
  • Shooting Format:
    HDV
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Calcutta Intertional Cult Film Festival
    Calcutta
    India
    Women's Films Outstanding Achievement Award
Distribution Information
  • Shen Rong
    Country: China
    Rights: Theatrical
Director Biography - Shen Rong

Director Shen Rong ,Senior editor, working in Jilin City Radio & Television
Main works;
1. 《The Art of Calligraphy is swept across the Songhua River》 The documentary film, as a producer and director.
It got the best documentary nominated prize in the 30th Golden Rooster ﹠Hundred Flowers Film Festival.
It was shown in the section of national film of the 24th Golden Rooster ﹠Hundred Flowers Film Festival.
Tt got the top prize of the crane documentary in Jilin province.
2、《On the arduous Journey ,followed Cheng Duolu ,a famous devout scholar 》 the documentary ,as the producer ,director and copywriter.
It got the first prize of Hundreds prizes documentary in the Chinese Television Association
Tt got the top prize of the crane documentary in Jilin province.
3.《the Luxurious Banquet with Manchu Custom in Wula street》the documentary, as the producer ,director and copywriter.
The third prize of National City Documentary of China in the fourth season of Chinese Humanities in the Chinese Television Association

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Director Statement

The director anecdote for the film ” Uncle Bird” Modify | Delete

In my resident city , Uncle Bird, Ren Jianguo, caring the wild ducks for the continuous twenty years, is known to the local people .When I had an idea that I wanted to make a documentary film based on his life. I was told by my pals not to fry “left-over food”. But an curiosity always appeared in my mind that appealed me to probe what truly existed in him to choose the life goal was unknown to the public .I still believed my instincts. I remember what a dramatist said is that the strange life is at times the best. We find it uneasy that someone like him choose his own life style. Is it not a worthy of storytelling. I wanted to document his true life and not his remarks made to the public media. When I l put my foot on the Changbai island which was deserted and scruffy as the size of my palm. I wandered if I could get enough pictures shot to meet the requirements of my future story-telling and it brought me anxiety.

The director anecdote for the film ” Uncle Bird” Modify | Delete

Uncle Bird, Ren Jianguo,once said,“the viewing birds platform seems to be a performance stage.”He described it truly, the sun rising on the right and setting on the left; the sky resembling the curtain and the river looking like a stage. Birds are flying over and the hawks are preying. What Uncle Bird expected would rather realize his ideal than experience the circulation time between humans and nature. I left him the camera with the type of Gopro. He shot many uncommon pictures which the local citizens have never seen. They are nice, amazing dusk. The pictures and the colour are beyond imagination. At times I felt the God accompanying us in the city. He was found to enjoy shooting. I was deeply moved to see his picture showing the flocculi on the plants following winter. Even if they disappeared into the dust, he also found the beauty in them. On remembering these moments, I could not hold back my tears to appreciate his pictures even though they were shot blurred and indistinct.

The director anecdote for the film ” Uncle Bird” Modify | Delete

The three months filming passed. I still did not have camera and funds. I filmed myself. I failed to pass the application for funds. Frankly speaking, I knew little about Uncle Bird, Ren Jianguo and I told little about his past. One day he told me that he would hold the Changbai island and I told myself that I must achieve my expectation,
My seniors gave me supportive advices that we should master some skills of the pre-judgement while filming, but they did not work. I was engulfed in the other part of life. I did nothing and just waited. I waited what unexpected did happen.

The director anecdote for the film ” Uncle Bird” Modify | Delete

On today‵s documentary material, I found the scene that Uncle Bird, Ren Jianguo called the people staying around on the riverside not to embark on his caring-ducks boat anchoring in the river in the violent stern voice from a long distance. When he came up to find the people getting off the boat , he immediately turned back and said nothing. The way he dealt with the accident and the reason why he did so aroused my curiosity. He volunteered to protect the wild ducks for twenty years. How did he get on with the people?
I observed the Changbai island by Uncle Bird filming documentary materials. I found the changing seasons of the year , experienced the persons and things neglected and forgotten in the ordinary life and the observation of the dying life and the pass-away. All the details has rooted in my mind.
The Changbai island seems to be a car wheel which keeps the people on and off just as Naipaul, the British writer, has put it “ I saw the world moving ,and the people life is like a series of metempsychosis mingled occasionally ”. Uncle Bird resides in the Changbai island and keeps the balance between the reality and the ideal. His job is to keep the distance between the wild ducks and the humans. In the past twenty years I do not know if he has been in despair, but I do know that he must believe the future. He has been timid and overcautious and done his utmost to adjust his world sense to the nature. He has been on the alert to the real facts of the reality

The director anecdote for the film ” Uncle Bird” Modify | Delete

The winter wind flows over from the long distance. If you wander what place the Changbai island is located. I give you some advices that you had better ask the Ruddy Shelducks. In the late autumn as the weather gets colder, they fly across the Sino-Russia border and land on the middle reach of the Songhua River where the Changbai island is located in Jilin city, northeast of China.(43.89NL;126.58EL)
At first I planned to write something as the narration for the production , but now I found them unnecessary. Perhaps just at the beginning of the production I did not prepare for the narration. With the enormous respect and yearning to the non fiction movie, I try to find the most original approaches to tell a true story about Uncle Bird.
In other words, I prefer the God-will .
I would like to compare myself to a filter. I do not mind whether the story is good and bad or if it gets success or failure. It matters no sense to me.
The most lucky for me is that I met a cameraman who could not only endure the hardship and like reading books ,but also enjoy drinking with Uncle Bird and live happily with him. He would not feel worried about the W.C on the island and on the opposite I do.