Experiencing Interruptions?


LEI and WONG clandestinely arrive in Ecuador. She has only one objective, to reach New York. Whereas he longs to bring his son from China. But CHANG, a bipolar mobster becomes obsessed with her and will decide their fate. When a smuggling scheme sets LEI and WONG at a crossroads, they can only rely on each other to reach their freedom.

"EMPTINESS" dives into the emotional journey of the immigrant, when hope is subject to masculine power relations and individuals struggle to save their dignity.

  • Paul Venegas
  • Paul Venegas
    Journey to Xanadu, Alberto Spencer, ecuatoriano de Peñarol.
  • Carlos Teran Vargas
  • Paul Venegas
    When my time comes, On the line, Defensa 1464, Journey to Xanadu
  • Esteban Schroeder
    Matar a todos, Selkirk, El Viñedo, Pepita La Pistolera
  • Fu Jing
    Key Cast
  • Lidan Zhu
    Key Cast
  • Meng Day Min
    Key Cast
  • Ricardo Velastegui
    Key Cast
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Suspense
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 32 minutes 24 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 3, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    580,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Ecuador, Uruguay
  • Language:
    Chinese, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital RED EPIC
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Busan International FIlm Festival
    Korea, Republic of
    October 22, 2020
    World Premiere
    Fast Foward
  • Osaka Asian FIlm Festival
    February 18, 2021
    In competition
  • Chicago Latin Film Festival
    United States
    March 10, 2021
    North American
    In competition
    Buenos Aires
    April 14, 2021
    Best FIlm AMerican Competition
  • AFI Washington Film Festival
    United States
    June 24, 2021
    East coast premiere
    In competiton
  • Cine Ceara
    November 29, 2021
    In competition
  • Ottawa Latin FIlm Festival
    May 11, 2022
    In competition
  • Uruguay International FIlm Festival
    April 21, 2022
  • Festival del FIn del Mundo
    May 18, 2022
    IN competition
  • Guayaquil International FIlm Festival
    October 29, 2020
    Best FIlm
Distribution Information
  • 34T
    Sales Agent
    Country: Spain
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Paul Venegas

Director- Screenwriter – Producer

After almost a decade living in between Manila and Beijing while working in finance, he founded Xanadu Films in Ecuador in 2003. His filmmaking career is self-tough, evolving from the creator-screenwriter and producer of the documentary series, “Journey to Xanadu” shot in Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and China, to becoming the director and screenwriter of “EMPTINESS”, premiered at BUSAN (2020) and Ecuador’s entry to the Academy Awards 2021. He has co produced with Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Germany and France the following films: “Emptiness”, “Alberto Spencer, ecuadorian of Peñarol”, “On the line”, “All about my Mate Herb”, “With the eyes wide open”, “Defensa 1464”, “When my time comes”. Presently is developing the feature, “Talking to Ourselves” and "The sound of silence" and the series "The age of ambition" and "Latin America Imaginary". In 2021 he will release CONMIGO, a performatic short story filmed during the pandemic.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Since the 80’s, a new wave of Chinese immigration has been settling all over the world. Over the last decade, many arrived in Ecuador to stay, or use it as a transit point to other destinations, like the USA. Not all migrate for economic reasons, many are sent to enlarge their communities, becoming pawns of a larger structure. Others have existential motives, such as the pressure of living in modern China, the environment or just feeling overwhelmed by its population size.

It’s within the Chinese community of Guayaquil that I cast the main characters of the film. With these natural actors, who are immigrants themselves, I explore the real emotions and experiences that give form to the film’s characters. As well as the anguish and despair of the immigrant when contemplating the uncertainty of the future.

I see EMPTINESS as a film about the subconscious in all of us, where the eyes say much more than words. An emotional trip of a woman struggling to overcome a corrupted male dominated society. I am interested to see how the viewer will perceive our main character, LEI. A woman that unwillingly is forced to use her charms and beauty to realize her independence? Or, a manipulative vile person who will do anything to achieve her objectives? While there is also a chauvinistic male that, despite his power, is a lonely soul. Their condition will challenge the audience to explore the limits of their own empathy.

The identity of the film will vary depending on the audience, inside and outside of China, and that is my biggest challenge as a director. I want to believe that my film does not go and cannot be understood in one way, perhaps therein lies the most interesting character of EMPTINESS.