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Siqi Song

Siqi Song

Meet Oscar-Nominated filmmaker and animator, Siqi Song

GirlsclubAsia-Filmmaker-Animator-Siqi Song-Profile Photo

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Siqi Song, I’m a filmmaker and animator from China. I studied animation at China Central Academy of Fine Arts and California Institute of The Arts, currently, I’m working as an animation director for films and commercials in Los Angeles, California.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

Hollywood, palm trees, and beaches are the first images that come to mind when thinking about Los Angeles. The good weather and landscape are something I enjoy the most living in Southern California. The lifestyle is more relaxing compared to other big cities such as Beijing or New York. When I’m not stuck in traffic, I like to chill on the beach or hike on the mountains.

The city is full of immigrants from all over the world, so it’s a very friendly city for new immigrants or international visitors. The food options are enormous, I can find very authentic restaurants for almost all my favorite cuisines in the city. And of course, Chinese restaurants are among my most favorite ones.

 

Los Angeles is definitely a great city for filmmakers and animators, there are a lot of great film projects to work on and talented artists from all over the world to collaborate with.

 

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

Los Angeles is definitely a great city for filmmakers and animators, there are a lot of great film projects to work on and talented artists from all over the world to collaborate with. There are film screenings and events happening every day. Whether you are working on indie art-house films or big-budget studio movies, you can always find people who are passionate about their craft to learn from and to work with.

 

The worst thing about living in LA is the traffic jam. Los Angeles is a large city, I normally spend 2 – 3 hours driving on my commute. I occasionally have meetings on the other side of the town, which means I would spend extra 2-3 hours on the freeway driving or stuck in traffic.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Collaborative, Diverse, Challenging

 

How did you start your career in art?

I have loved watching animated films since I was a kid. Because of that, I got interested in drawings. I started to study art professionally since I was enrolled at China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA). I made my first animation film as my thesis project, which is a stop motion short film made with plasticine. Since then, I wrote and directed several animated short films. Those films led to some work opportunities in the animation industry for TV,  feature films, and commercials.

 

I made my first animation film as my thesis project, which is a stop motion short film made with plasticine. Since then, I wrote and directed several animated short films. Those films led to some work opportunities in the animation industry for TV,  feature films, and commercials.

 

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

I feel very lucky that my family has been super supportive of my interests in art since the very beginning. Even though my family doesn’t have any background in art, they have been very understanding and encouraging to me. They are the reason I can have a great art education and further develop it into a career.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

I want to make films that can connect people. Having had the opportunities to live and work in both China and the U.S. for many years, I have seen both cultures from different perspectives. Sometimes I feel the world is very small, but at the same time, I feel we know so little about each other. I want to make films that can help people understand each other better, and to connect people through telling universal stories.

 

Sometimes I feel the world is very small, but at the same time, I feel we know so little about each other. I want to make films that can help people understand each other better, and to connect people through telling universal stories.

 

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

I would love to collaborate with film composer Joe Hisaishi on my future films. He composed music and soundtrack for many of my favorite movies, and his work is one of the reasons I love them so much.

 

What are the biggest challenges you face in working as a creative?

For every film I make, I always want to try something I have never done before. So my next project will always be the biggest challenge to me. The result sometimes is rewarding, sometimes is not. But to me, they are all great experiences that I can apply in my future work.

 

Independent, determined, and talented – many women I am friends with or admire have these three characters.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

Independent, determined, and talented – many women I am friends with or admire have these three characters.

 

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

Growing up in a small town in Northern China, I was influenced by a lot of traditional folk artists. There is a Chinese paper cutting artist named Ku Shulan, whose work and life story inspired my interests in visual storytelling. As an uneducated woman who lived her whole life in the rural countryside, Ku Shulan has never learned how to read and write, she endured extraordinary privations and hardships throughout her whole life. She had very limited resources on art-making but she still persisted with her art practice for over 50 years. The artistry, the stories shown through her artwork are so authentic and astonishing they became a national treasure. I was truly inspired by her and her work.

 

It’s important to keep your own voice, as then you become the only person who can do the things you do. People will hire you for something that other people can not replace.

 

Do you have any advice for other women who are aspiring to work in your field?

I think a lot of young filmmakers are not confident with their vision and try to create something that already exists that they think people would love to see. But it’s important to keep your own voice, as then you become the only person who can do the things you do. People will hire you for something that other people can not replace.

 


What type of music do you like to listen to?

I don’t have a favorite music type. As a filmmaker, I always associate music/audio with visuals. If a piece of music works well with the story/visual/theme/emotion it accompanies, I think it’s the music worth listening to.

 

What’s your favorite local food spot?

I love going to San Gabriel Valley in East LA to crave my favorite Chinese cuisines.

 

Ke Cui asks: Do you prefer sticking with one style or experimenting with different styles?

When I’m doing original work, I always try to experiment with something I have never done before. To me, that’s the most exciting part of art-making.

 

Seo young asks: What is your favorite process of working?

I like to jump between different tasks when I work. One of the reasons I love making stop motion films is that it requires so many different techniques and skill sets. To make one film, I got to do screenwriting, designing, sculpting, animating, editing, and sometimes even voice acting. When I get bored or stuck at one task I would switch my mind to a different work mode. It can help me find new ideas and keep me motivated during the long process.

 

What question would you like us to ask the next artist?

What is the best reaction you get when others see your work?

 

 

Photos courtesy of Siqi Song

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