Spring Bud

Not worth it. Not a boy. These ideas are deeply ingrained in Chinese girls. But one woman had the vision and determination to use education to change this mindset and transform the lives of a thousand girls in rural China.

  • Candy Chan
  • Candy Chan
  • Robert Sparks
  • Rosalyn C. Koo
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    21 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 1, 2018
  • Country of Origin:
    Hong Kong
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Chinese, English
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Candy Chan

Candy Chan holds a BA in Journalism from San Francisco State University. After graduating, she worked for several overseas Chinese media organizations in the US. Since 2013, she has worked as Associate Producer for Oscar-winning filmmaker Ruby Yang on her feature documentary, MY VOICE, MY LIFE (爭氣) which The Wall Street Journal called one of the “five most essential films” to come out of Hong Kong in 2014, short documentary, IN SEARCH OF PERFECT CONSONANCE (尋找完美第五度), and the latest mid-length feature RITOMA (仁多瑪). These documentaries bring remarkable stories of disadvantaged students, aspiring young musicians, and nomads in the Tibetan Plateau, to light.

SPRING BUD (春蕾) is Candy's first short documentary as director/producer.

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Director Statement

I was born in Hong Kong where the culture focuses on learning, and education seemed a given to me. The Chinese culture looks to Confucius as a model of behavior – so I thought improving the mind was an obvious expectation.

When I decided to study in the States, my parents fully supported me even though they barely could afford my tuition. They themselves didn’t have much opportunity for further education, but it was their dream for their children to achieve academic success and they considered it a worthwhile sacrifice to finance my education as well as for all my brothers.

I took this attitude for granted, thinking it was about the importance of education, not realizing how many parents would quickly forgo educating their daughters to pave a path for their sons, if that financial choice were necessary. But this dire scenario is a reality for many girls who dream of going to school but will never get a chance because their families are too poor or would prefer to funnel all resources into bettering their sons.

I wanted to make a documentary to show girls deserve a chance at education, just as boys do. I admired Roz’s longer-term commitment to help 1,000 disadvantaged girls from rural Shaanxi, not just for one year, but for 14-15 years of support. She herself escaped the cruel ways of Chinese culture (feet-binding) and recognized her good fortune in acquiring an education while some of her contemporaries did not. In turn, she wanted to give girls an opportunity. I was inspired by Roz’s project and wanted to share her story. Like Roz, I am fortunate my parents not only loved but valued me – my story could have taken a different turn.

When I traveled to Xian for production, I met several of the Spring Bud project’s participants. These girls and their families had endured so much financial hardship in their villages. Each girl told me similar stories of how much they loved learning, the devastation they felt when they could not go to school because their families were too poor or had decided to send their brothers instead. But for them, Roz changed their trajectory from a dismal, bleak existence to a future with hope and empowerment. You could sense the girls’ outpouring of love and deep appreciation for her.

Although the SPRING BUD project has ended, I wanted the film to serve as a tribute to Roz who had transformed these lives and to inspire others to help educate girls around the world.