Private Project

Return of the Fire Ritual

Featuring totemic adorations, gods incarnations, dance routines and drama performances for local people, the She Huo (Literally Earth and Fire) ritual was passed down as an annual tribute to the unknown and mystical forces that govern the lands and mountains, and the moon and the sun that eternally shines.

The short documentary features the faces and places of a She Huo gathering near Wu Ding River, Shaanxi, China. Since time immemorial, the ancient ritual of She Huo has been a major part of northern Chinese folks' psyche. Each year, it is held 15 days after the Chinese New Year.

Photographers, tourists, performers, villagers, animals and spirits gather at the unlikely place. Taking inspiration from Nietzsche's eternal recurrence, this entirely-shot-on-iPhone film nods to a tradition that has nonetheless stayed and adapted to the modern age.

  • Haoyang Zhao
  • Haoyang Zhao
  • The People of Heng Shan County
    Key Cast
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    18 minutes 59 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 1, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Haoyang Zhao

Haoyang Zhao serves the Leica Akademie in Beijing. He has worked in numerous masterclasses with numerous Magnum photographers, including Bruce Gilden, Larry Towell, Alex Webb, Antoine d’Agata and Patrick Zachmann. He is a graduate of the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University, Class of 2017, and holds a BSc. In Economics from University College London.

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