In Your Light, Do We See Light

A promising Asian photographer fighting against the last stage of her sudden vision loss, needs to prepare for her biggest exhibition before going blind.

  • Joey Zhao
    Finding Vega
  • Samantha Gao
    Smoking Tigers, BRAINWASHED: Sex-Camera-Power, ZENAIDA, MAGDALENA, AMICUS
  • Joey Zhao
  • Ren Holly Liu
    Key Cast
    Fine China, Christmas Flow, Beth's Used Cars
  • Grace Chang
    Key Cast
    A Missing Piece, Good Wives, The Joy Luck Club
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes 54 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 15, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    100,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English, Mandarin Chinese
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • New York
    United States
    June 12, 2023
    Tribeca Film Festival
Director Biography - Joey Zhao

Born and raised in China, Joey Zhao is an award-winning writer-director. She was selected by the Indeed Rising Voices Program season 3, initiated by Lena Waithe, Jackie Chan Project A for Films, Young director support Program of Beijing Liangjie Culture Media Co., Ltd.

Inspired by magic realism and animation, Joey has been mentored by renowned director Emir Kusturica. Her works have been selected to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, LA Shorts International Film Festival, Asian American International Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner, Beijing International Film Festival, Huading Awards, Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival, and dozens of festivals and exhibitions worldwide.

With a Film&TV BFA at the Central Academy of Drama, Joey was funded by the Chinese Scholarship Council to study at AFI, and she is going to pursue her Ph.D. in Sociology & Film at Tsinghua University. Joey wants to tell stories that promote awareness for marginalized minorities and explore themes of females, family, and death. She aims to bring warmth, strength, and love to the universe through motion picture art.

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Director Statement

The inspiration for my story comes from a couple of places. During the pandemic, I haven't returned to my hometown for nearly three years. I lost a few important people in my life, my intimate friend and family. I didn't get to say goodbye to any of them, and some of them were way too young. It was a very dark period for me. During that, I thought a lot about life and death thoroughly for the first time. I didn't realize what I had and how blessed I was until I faced my grief. What I realize is that change is a constant thing in life. How we see change makes the world. So I want to tell a story to remind people of that and help them find peace, feel they are always loved, treasure what they have, and contribute more to the world to give it back.
Work can heavily represent our identity, which tells people who we are. In the story, our protagonist is a promising Asian female visual photographer going blind. Her work, Photography, is the bridge connecting her with the beauty and spirituality of the universe. She loves Photography; each click of her camera is an achievement that enhances her self-belief. So when she is about to lose sight, she deceives herself and evades as hard as possible. In the end, she starts a career in the sensory
photography field as a blind photographer and learns to hold on tight to the present.
Based on the conversations with the visual impaired community, I realized this is a story I must tell. It has exploded my notions of what it means to see. While "blindness" may be the limitation of visually impaired people, "vision" may also be ordinary people's limitations. It clarifies how our vision can blind us and makes me look at things with new eyes. When eyes are opening, see brightness. When eyes are closing, see darkness. When eyes are lost, see the completeness. I was raised in a Buddhist family, and it also deepened my understanding of Zen. All the people who have existed in the world, all the things in the universe, are all one, in Eternal Existence.
Most importantly, I want to let people know more about the challenging situation of their working opportunities to put a spotlight on them and evoke humanistic care. I want to create a compelling story with unique visual and audio language, universal reach, and a sensibility more aligned with world cinema. My visual reference films are The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, blind massage. I aim to build a bridge between the visual and non-visual world, bond over minority and majority, and exchange an understanding since we are all connected essentially.