Chasing Light

In a world where light travels at a finite speed, our eyes reveal a tapestry of the past at varying distances. In the not-so-distant future, mankind has developed the ability to traverse the cosmos aboard light-cone spaceships, utilizing wormholes to journey across the vast expanse of space. These ships are equipped with colossal telescopes that grant passengers a unique opportunity to peer into Earth's bygone days—the farther they travel, the further back in time they can see.

A grieving father finds solace as a passenger on this celestial vessel. Having missed critical moments in his child's life, he had pledged to his daughter that he would attend her graduation ceremony, only to fall short of his promise. Soon after, the crushing weight of loss befalls him when his child is taken in a tragic accident. Desperate for redemption, the father embarks on a light-cone spaceship journey, venturing light-years away to catch a glimpse of his child's performance and fulfill the promise he once made.

Upon honoring his commitment, the father remains haunted by a longing for more. Reliving the past also means confronting the harrowing moment his child nearly perished in the accident. Undeterred, he chooses to venture deeper into the cosmos through the wormhole, knowing full well he may never find his way home. As he drifts alone through the vastness of space, aging and isolated, he witnesses his daughter's life unfolding from birth to maturity, finally grasping the true value of the moments he had missed. As his daughter's life draws to a close once more, the father makes the ultimate decision to accelerate the spaceship close to the speed of light, slowing the passage of time and the events of the past. The ethereal remnants of his daughter and the father's own near-light-speed silhouette converge, forming twin beams of light in the infinite cosmos, eternally intertwined in their celestial dance.

  • Zhichao Yuan
    Written & Directed by
  • Anna Sang
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  • Project Type:
    Animation, Short
  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Drama
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 12 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 31, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    6,000,000 CNY
  • Country of Origin:
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  • Language:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
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Director Biography

Yuan Zhichao served as the storyboard director for the animated film "Monkey King: Hero is back" in 2012. After its release, the film achieved a cumulative box office of 954 million RMB within 60 days, becoming a milestone in the history of Chinese animation development. Following "Monkey King," Yuan took on the role of story director for the animated film "Deep Sea," participating in core creative aspects such as screenwriting and storyboarding. In December 2020, director Yuan Zhichao and producer Anna Sang joined the Sunac Culture Group and established the Light Cone Animation Studio. Upholding their original intention to tell compelling stories, the studio's first project will be an original sci-fi animated film, dedicated to breaking the homogeneity of domestic animation and bringing audiences a work with a unique concept and emotional resonance.

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Director Statement

The concept of "Chasing Light" comes from the term "light cone" that I learned from a popular science book years ago. At that time, I realized that we always live within the light cone, and everything we see is actually the past. We have been looking up at the stars since we were young, seeing the past of those stars, but we rarely think that those stars are also looking at our past. I have an unusually strong resonance with this, so I came up with the concept of "Chasing Light". In the future, we will ride spaceships, travel through wormholes to the far reaches of the universe, and look back at Earth through a huge telescope to see our past selves, past family, and everything from the past.
This short film is based on this concept and tells the story of a father who uses the "Chasing Light" journey to make up for past regrets. Through the film "Chasing Light", I hope the audience can feel that our past has never disappeared; it has only gone to the stars. And when we look up at the stars, we are no longer alone because we are looking at our future selves.