Private Project

Beyond the Green Mountain

One summer, in a little fishing village in China, teenage boy Leaf's quiet life is interrupted by the return of childhood friend Qing Chen. Youth, friendship, and love blossom in the summer breeze.

  • Meicen Meng
    Director
  • Meicen Meng
    Writer
  • Meicen Meng
    Producer
  • He Xin Yi
    Key Cast
    "Leaf"
  • Yang Jia Nan
    Key Cast
    "Qing Chen"
  • Cristian Delvalle Caicedo
    Director of Photography
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    山外青山
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Genres:
    Drama, Romance, LGBT, coming of age
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 57 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 15, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    4,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    China
  • Country of Filming:
    China
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Coppola Short Film Competition 2018 - Finalist
    United States
    United States
    February 1, 2019
    Finalist
  • First Look Film Festival
    New York
    United States
    Official Selection
  • Independent Shorts Awards

    United States
    July 1, 2019
    Gold Award
  • National Film Festival for Talented Youth
    Seattle
    United States
    Official Selection
  • Indie Short Fest

    United States
    Best Indie Short
  • Canada Shorts Film Festival

    Canada
    Official Selection
  • The Bangalore Queer Film Festival
    Bangalore
    India
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Meicen Meng

An award-winning non-binary filmmaker, Meicen Meng was born and raised in China. They received their BFA for film from School of Visual Arts in New York City. As a senior at SVA, they wrote, directed, and produced their thesis film Beyond The Green Mountain, tackling themes such as sexuality, love, cultural conformity, self-acceptance, and identity. Gus Van Sant selected Beyond The Green Mountain as a finalist for the prestigious Coppola Short Film Competition 2018.
The film also screened at the Museum of Moving Image as part of the First Look Film Festival. Beyond The Green Mountain was the winner of Best Indie Short Award at Indie Short Fest July 2019 and was awarded numerous other awards. Since their graduation, Meicen has been working as a director, cinematographer and gaffer.

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Director Statement

With my films, I aim to explore universal intimate human emotions using traditionally underrepresented characters. Growing up in China, I did not see any queer representation in the media. The total lack of representation equals the erasure of queer identities in the cultural subconscious. The cultural and political pressure to conform is overwhelming. The patriarchy backed by institutionalized heteronormativity has a steel-like grip on the way people construct their lives and understand morality. In this environment, I always felt that I was deprived of the freedom of self-expression. I fell in love with cinema because it gives me the space to explore humanity and human connections without the restriction of labels.

When it came to time to make my thesis film, Beyond The Green Mountain, I knew I wanted to tell a story of pure first love. I wanted to capture the experience of falling in love as a queer person in a culture where queer expression is so heavily repressed. I sought to tell a narrative of these young characters falling in love without realizing that loving each other romantically is even a possibility. However, feelings don’t lie. To an inexperienced heart, these feelings are overwhelming. The confusion and pain forms a somber subtext. Love is pure, tender, sweet, and beautiful, thus, I wanted to depict how it shines through the darkness. I knew I wanted the setting to be in a rural area because I aimed to highlight the beautiful landscape of China to form a subliminal backdrop for this story. The production of this film was an unforgettable, intense, and invigorating experience. As the writer, director, and producer, I learned so much from this experience and cherished every moment of working with my incredible team. That November, I submitted Beyond The Green Mountain to the prestigious Coppola Short Film Competition. It was picked as one of five finalist among over one thousand submissions by Gus Van Sant, a queer filmmaker I deeply admire. Since then Beyond The Green Mountain has screened at the Museum of The Moving Image, won numerous awards, and screened at multiple film festivals around the world. However, the most rewarding aspect of this experience has been the conversations with people who have expressed to me how they’ve been touched by my film. I’ve noticed that my film has especially resonated with other queer people of color which makes it especially precious because that was precisely my goal and what drives me to create. Representation is powerful. Most importantly, representation is healing. The community building that comes inherently with the process of creating a film is also particularly significant to me. I want to make films that are made by queer people for queer people. With my films, I want to shatter the patriarchal binary lens that has been dominating cinema. I want to tell stories through a non-binary and queer lens to explore humanities and its endless possibility in all of its glory.