Not Yet Afraid

My work Yet Not Afraid explores the contradiction and harmony of cross-cultures. I took the slow movement and inner strength behind “Chinese Exercises 18 (練功十八法)” and contrasted it to the fast motion and physical strength strongly visible in Street Dance (SD) to represent the west and uncover their harmony. By blending the two extremes, this work demonstrates my struggle to keep the balance between my public space (my support to others) and my private space (where I need support). It records the living experience of myself and many people over 107 days of lockdown during the Covid 19 pandemic, and beyond. My work is to encourage people to stay calm and positive when facing challenges.

  • Nancy Ma
  • Nancy Ma
  • Nancy Ma
  • Nancy Ma
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Music Video, Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 21, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - University of Sydney
Director Biography - Nancy Ma

Born in Hong Kong and currently residing in Australia, Nancy Ma possesses a unique blend of professional expertise in management and creativity, setting her apart as an exceptional film producer, director, and screenwriter.
As the director of a leading multicultural marketing company, Nancy showcased remarkable administrative and managerial skills as a team builder and personnel motivator. She takes charge of strategic planning, budgeting, project launches, and promotional activities while maintaining strong connections with media and government entities.
Nancy's creativity shines through her work as a Chinese writer, copy/scriptwriter, and Chinese/English translator. With diverse experience working with creative and production teams, Nancy excels from pre-production to post-production including using programs like Ps, Pr, Ae and Ai, among others. Her extensive travel experience across the world has enabled her to connect with a wide range of people, lives, and culture, making her storytelling more realistic and down to earth. Notably, her imminent completion of a Master's in Moving Image adds an extra layer of distinction to her profile within the film industry.

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Director Statement

My work shows ‘More is More and More’ as I kept throwing in more layers and fragments, however, I also did my best to retain ‘Less is More’ inside each fragment within the complex idea, and kept its completeness as a whole. My idea of using grids and dot screens in my work comes from the Piet Mondrian and Roy Lichtenstein. For Mondrian, a grid-pattern composition of horizontal and vertical lines represents the universal harmony of the world. Grid signifies discipline which is a virtue in Chinese traditional philosophy. I finally use 5x5 grids to reflect the screen of zoom teaching, learning and communication which was part of life during the pandemic. Grid signifies discipline and is also the boundary and restriction that we have to live within. Red lines signify hope, happiness, as well fears – which represents different meanings in different segments in my work. I incorporated an elaborated AR Sticker of self image to my work to leave a mark of another popular culture at the time. They are ‘my-selves’ which were completely moulded by me without external influences. I use the images from my zoom teaching materials of 18 Exercises (to children with disabilities and families), and also reshot the movements on green screen for myself to interpret my own work.

To further conceptualise my work, I also bought in the ancient Dao Yin Tao (導引圖) movement which shows where the 18 Exercises originated from. I chose Chinese classical music Butterfly Lovers ( 梁祝) – it’s emotion of slow/quick, smooth/rough, find/loss, happiness/sadness to accompany the hip hop beat and music. I did this to reflect my feelings and articulate the contents in my work. The famous Chinese story of Butterfly Lovers ends with ‘2 butterflies fluttering in the sky happily’ – it connects to the butterflies in my work to represent happiness and freedom. I also hummed the melody of Butterfly Lovers to reveal my way of staying calm – that is a ‘great person’ when ‘meeting with great distress is yet not afraid’ as Chuangtzu (Zhuangzi) quotes. I borrowed the moving image of the Beijing opera Drunken Beautify and the lively people in Madonna’s concert to weave tradition and popular culture together – for art and performance is boundary-less.