Private Project

Kingdom of Songs

Andy's excited to reunite with his papa on his 10th birthday, but he needs to wake up his hungover mother to catch the flight. With the help of his "papa" on the phone, he gradually discovers a heartbreaking truth.

  • Anlan Tao
    Steel Forest, She & He
  • Anlan Tao
    Steel Forest, She & He
  • Claire Yland Li
  • Kevin McAuliffe
  • Eric Dale
    Key Cast
  • Isabelle Du
    Key Cast
    Will Trent, Hidden Gems, Stalker
  • John Say
    Key Cast
    Shattered, Jone
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Drama, Comedy, Musical
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    July 28, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    2,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - University of Southern California
Director Biography - Anlan Tao

Anlan Tao(Ann), originally from Hangzhou, China, graduated from The Central Academy of Drama in Beijing, China, with a major in Theater Directing. Currently, she is a graduate student majoring in Film Production at the University of Southern California.

Growing up in a family with contrasting beliefs and temperaments, Anlan's curiosity was sparked, leading her to write poems and direct short radio plays. In high school, she joined the movie club and made her first short film at the age of 17, which motivated her to pursue filnmmaking later on. She applied to USC and gained admission based on a short film Steel Forest, which depicts a Chinese boy's journey to uncover his father's secrets through poetry. Now, she has finished two of her short films at USC: She & He, about two theater cleaners’ acting parting on their last co-working day, and Kingdom of Songs, talks about a boy who seeks help from his imagined Papa to wake up his drunk mother. All of those stories all embarked from her personal experiences before.

Anlan loves to tell stories centered around children, animals, and women. She strives to convey universal emotions and conflicts using visual and auditory elements, aiming to resonate with audiences.

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Director Statement

The story was mainly inspired by my personal childhood memories. I grew up in a family that all of my family members have very unique tempers and personalities. No surprises, my parents separated when I was only three and then I live with my mom for a long periods of time. Struggled with my mom's unstable emotions and tempers, I created an imaginary friend, a supportive figure akin to a father or older brother, with whom I would confide when faced with challenges. Although I understood that he was not real, I hold those imaginative moments dear. As I grew older, I gained a deeper understanding of my own life and no longer needed those coping mechanisms, but I still frequently reminisce about that time.

In approaching this film, I wanted to address the somber themes of my childhood trauma in a lighthearted manner. The reality of a boy living solely with his troubled mother, without anyone else to rely on, is undeniably sad. Yet, I aimed to showcase how children possess a unique and creative ability to navigate the difficulties in their lives. My hope is that this story will provide audiences with a mix of enjoyment, comfort, and thought-provoking moments, transcending the depiction of a bleak reality.