Private Project


An ancient Chinese emperor who seeks the magic pill for staying youthful and having longevity. But no one knows how to produce it. The emperor continually pushes a Taoist alchemist in his court to produce the pill, threaten him that he will be killed if he does not succeed. To save himself, the Taoist has an idea, he tells the emperor that he lack the most important ingredients--999 infants hearts and 999 virgin souls. For making the pill successfully emperor asks Taoist to kill these infants and girls. 49 days later, the Taoist tells the emperor the pill is ready, then the emperor follows the Taoist go to the cave to get the pill. But when emperor swallows the pill, his body starts to melt. Finally Taoist uses his magic power to kill the emperor and takes command for the whole country.

  • Jinghan Zhang
  • Jinghan Zhang
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Short
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 23, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Jinghan Zhang

Jinghan Zhang is an animator and designer from China, When she studied in Beijing Film Academy-animation department, she created various animation, such as her graduation thesis-a short animation film “Seven Deadly Sins”. In 2015, she went to new York and studied in School of Visual Arts.

In 2016, she created a short experimental animation “liberation” and “Eternity”, were selected by various international Film Festivals around the world, including Sydney World Film Festival,Wasteland Film Festival, Anim!Arte - International Student Animation Festival of Brazil, Cinema London Film Festival, Los Angeles CineFest, Hollywood Screenings Film Festival……..
Jinghan is now focusing both short animation films and APP design.

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Director Statement

I was born in Harbin, a cold city in the northeast of China. Because of its geography and location, this city is different from other cities in China. It is known as “A small Russia.” Many Russian influences fill the city and my childhood memory. As a young child, I lived in Russian style architecture, ate Russian baked bread and red sausage, and drank Russian Kwas. My grandmother taught how to say, “Thank you,” “hello,” “skirt,’ and “tomato” in Russian. Besides the architectural and culinary influences, Christian culture also had a strong impacted on me! So many churches located in the city and religious practice was unrestricted, unlike in the rest of China. Similar to my grandmother, I am a Christian. I always reflect on human sins, deep desires, greedy, lust, and betrayal. In my opinion, humans are a combination of many sins. After I moved to Beijing when I was 13 years old, I felt an absolutely different atmosphere there. It was in strong contrast to Northeastern China birthplace. The architecture and buildings had solemnity. Walking through the ancient architecture of The Palace Museum, the Great Wall, and the Summer Palace, I felt I was walking within my country’s history: from the emperor’s bedroom to his wives’ rooms, from the royal garden to the office space. Beijing is the political capital of China and owns the essence of Chinese culture and its footprint in history. During my history classes in high school, I started to research ancient China’s long history and found that nearly all emperors were addicted to the concept of becoming immoral. No matter how wise they were in their earlier lives, in their waning days, most of them lost sight of their wisdom and bought misery to their people. A focus for these elderly emperors was to produce the magic pill and thus have youth and immortality forever. Why? Because only emperors had access to the best things in the country. They could enjoy whatever they wanted: many beautiful wives, total power, and the feeling that they were Gods who can control other people’s lives. Who does not want to have these feelings? To maintain this sense of absolute control and power, emperors historical wanted to prolong their lives to further enjoy the world. In contrast, peasants and slaves did not want to prolong their miserable lives and believed as a result of the Church’s teachings that would have good lives upon their death.

Another influence for this animation are the works of Jan Svankmajer. I learned about his films in college. In particular, I like his works Darkness Light Darkness and Death of Stalinism in Bohemia (1990). Both have taught me that animations do not need to be funny, humorous, philosophical or political. They can also be depressing and incite humans to reflect upon themselves and the sins, which flow in their blood. This is not specifically about religious, but is an elemental aspect of what makes for “good people.” Georges Schiwzgebel, another experimental animator, has also helped shape my sense of storytelling. His 2D animations use language in a special way to present stories. This combination of western experimental animation, China’s history and traditional Chinese narrative have all affect my animation and helped shape my forthcoming 2D animation based on the theme of Chinese emperors’ quest for magic pill and its associated immortality.