Beyond Farewell

AI engineer Sam grieves her late girlfriend Joy by working nonstop. Experiencing paranormal activities, Sam finishes her AR goggles as guided by a mysterious line of code. To her gleeful surprise, Sam sees Joy through the goggles. Reunited, the couple goes on an adventure to check off everything on their bucket list. As the morning light caresses her face, Joy glitches and fades. Against the rising sun, the couple kisses one last time, reminiscing the fleeting eternity. Opening her eyes on the grass, Sam finds herself alone again, unsure if the memories were real.

  • Jackie Shijie Xing
  • Jackie Shijie Xing
  • Jingzhi Hu
  • Zilong Wang
  • Yiwen Qian
  • Jingzhi Hu
    Key Cast
  • Taylor Goodwin
    Key Cast
  • Yinan Shi
    Director of Photography
  • Beatrice Mai
    Production Designer
  • Jackie Shijie Xing
  • Hauton Xu
  • Project Type:
    Music Video, Short
  • Genres:
    Drama, Sci-fi, Romance
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 34 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 13, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    Chinese, English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, Red Gemini
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Jackie Shijie Xing

My name is Jackie Xing. I’m a screenwriter, director, and cinematographer based in New York. I was born and raised in Beijing. I recently graduated from NYU UGFTV. I believe in the power of character-driven stories and visual storytelling. My passion lies in both commercials and narratives.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Beyond Farewell is a narrative music video for Jinzy’s “Joi.”

When I heard the song for the first time, I was captured by the melancholic sense of weightlessness in the performance and mixing, while wondering about the lyrics that tell a fragmented yet vivid story. So I asked Sydney (Jinzy) about the inspiration and intention of the song, she said she was inspired by Ana de Armas’ character Joi in Blade Runner 2049 to write it. The lyrics are a combination of the abstraction of the movie’s plot and a melancholy of impending separation between lovers.

I would’ve hated it if we made a MV simply paying tribute to another film, though I do want to coincide with the artist’s inspiration. So I thought to myself, “I can write our own story about a separation between lovers that has a sci-fi/AI undertone.” It gradually evolved into “a corky retro-sci-fi rom com about a mourning AI engineer reuniting with her late girlfriend through homemade AR goggles,” so Beyond Farewell was made.

We did have to meet a budget, since Jinzy’s label wouldn’t entrust us student filmmakers with the fund, and that informed some of our stylistic choices. For example, I thought I should visually represent the sense of weightlessness in the hook when I first heard the song, so I initially came up with the idea of having the ghost girlfriend played by the talented Taylor use her ghostly powers and levitate Sam to take her flying across the whole city of New York. But the producers Chris and Jessica persuaded me that the idea was going to eat away all our budget for the possible outcome of being unsatisfactory. So I substituted flying with the closest perceptive alternative - spinning, and the second hook is represented with my favorite scene in the film, the shopping cart merry-go-round.

I had the idea of visually representing the difference between Sydney’s character Sam’s two states of mind by using two distinct textures and aspect ratios before and after the couple’s reunion, and eventually their final separation as well.

I talked to production designer Beatrice about my vision for Sam’s studio to resemble the scenes in a 90s IT/hard sci-fi show, so she designed the goggles and the interior scenes with all the retro technologies, including an old Macintosh which I still can’t get rid of. Her design suits very well with a cheap analogue style of cinematography and visual texture, so I and the director of photography agreed on the lighting logic of a 90s TV show but enhanced with modern techniques. So the two distinct textures become “90s sci-fi TV show recorded on a VHS” when Sam is lonely and grieving, and “90s sci-fi rom com shot on 16mm film” when Sam is reunited with her love. These effects were realized beautifully by VFX artist and colorist Hauton.

Sydney, Taylor, and I had two rehearsals, so the shooting days were never slowed down by me tweaking acting. The camera and G&E team were extremely efficient despite the complicated set up and rigs we built, including the DIY spinning shopping cart rails. The principle photography was really a lot of fun, it almost didn’t feel like work.

I’m blown away by the final product, especially considering that it’s both Jinzy’s and my first music video. It's the essence of the whole crew’s collaboration, and I can’t thank them enough.