The Drum Tower

Drum Tower (Gulou) is located in the downtown of Beijing. It has witnessed the dramatically changing landscape of this city- the government seals up “Holes in Wall” (illegal construction including doors and windows in the wall that were added for business purposes), and a lot street stores, like boutiques, bars and restaurants, are vanquished.

Kacchan is a senior school student who wanders through hutong every day, escaping from classes. Once by accident, he meets a vintage shop owner in a public toilet and is fascinated by her, Miss Mi. The identity of being a transgender brings some inconvenience to Miss Mi’s life, at the same time her vintage shop is faced with being demolished. Kacchan sees her life in his eyes but can’t do anything to help, until the very day comes…

This film combines the theme of sexuality and urban changes in an artistic way. It is also the first film in China where all the leading performers are transgender. Moreover, one of them plays a cisgender role which makes this film unique worldwide!

  • Popo Fan
  • Popo Fan
  • Jenny Man WU
  • Rui Jin
  • Chao Xiaomi
    Key Cast
  • Kacchan
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    18 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    October 1, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    16,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
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  • Language:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
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Director Biography - Popo Fan

Popo Fan is a leading filmmaker and activist from China who is outspoken for LGBT rights in the field of media production and distribution. Popo graduated from the prestigious Beijing Film Academy and he is the author of the book Happy Together: Complete Record of a Hundred Queer Films, the first book published in mainland China on queer films. His films have been shown widely in international film festivals and have been circulated domestically via the Internet as well as community screenings. His films featured topics such as same sex marriage (New Beijing, New Marriage), transgender (Be A Woman), feminism (The VaChina Monologues). His trilogy Chinese Closet, Mama Rainbow, Papa Rainbow, focusing on LGBT families in China, had made strong impact on the Chinese society. Moreover, after the authorities took down Mama Rainbow from the Internet after the film received one million viewership, Popo filed a lawsuit against the government and won the case, which was a landmark event in fighting against state censorship. His tireless working on LGBT visibility also includes serving as organizer for the Beijing Queer Film Festival for more than a decade, as well as founder of Queer University Video Training Camp. In 2011, he won the Prism Prize at Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. He was participant of Berlinale Talents 2017.

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Director Statement

I first had the two protagonists in mind, before I wrote this script. My friends Mi and Kacchan are both talented and passionate persons. I wanted to put them in one film, and I decided to shoot it in Mi’s vintage shop. Then I began to write the story, like “Malena”. Both of them are transgender, but one acts as herself, while another acts as cisgender or someone who has no clear gender.

In the script development process, I witness everything that has happened in Beijing- shops being forced closed and workers being forced outside, which is another marginalized topic and group, the same as transgender. This line becomes more important while I was writing, and it can be seen as an echo to the characters’ relationship- how to break the communication wall between us?

This is a short film about love and peering. For Beijing, I once loved it so much, but no longer. I just have a glance to look back on it one more time. This film could be a gift to this city before my leaving, as well as a dedication to my beloved Gulou.