From a young age, Xiangrong (Sherry) Du always enjoyed watching film. Sitting in front of the screen, she felt the ability to transport into a whole other world. As a child in Heilongjiang, China, it was her favorite past time, and as she grew, this love for the art form did not falter. Despite such a passion, she never thought of it as a career path. It wasn’t until she was a teenager that she realized she had to pursue her passion and decided to become a producer. She wanted to have the power to change the Chinese film industry and producing was just the way to do that.
Du has since made quite a name for herself as an industry leader. Having worked on several acclaimed films like Front Door and August, she aims to tell impactful stories that resonate with worldwide audiences.
“Filmmaking is a form of art exploration; they express a feeling they want to say to an audience; they form a connection in that moment,” she said.
Earlier this year, Du’s latest film Eyes on You premiered at the Oniros Film Awards where it took home the top prize. It tells the story of a lawyer named Gilbert. He knows that his wife is dating another man, but he does not hate his wife at all. Rather, he still loves her so much, even though he is a control freak guy. He has already decided to murder a man named Duke, as he thinks that this is the only way that he can keep his wife with him. Gilbert plans to meet with Duke as another identity, so that he can have him comes to his house. Unfortunately, Gilbert kills his wife before Duke comes to meet him. Somehow, Duke manages to survive.
“Even though it’s hard to finish the film, it was definitely worth it. Every time I complete a project, it just encourages me to keep doing more,” said Du.
Du had previously worked with the Director of Eyes on You, Guoqiang Sheng, on the film August back in 2017. Sheng was instantly impressed with the producer’s work ethic and asked her to take part in his independent film.
“Guoqiang is a really hard-working person, the exact type of director I like teaming up with. The moment he asked me to join his project, I said yes,” said Du.
When it came to filming, Du found it to be one of her favorite experiences of her career. Everything went smoothly on set, and one of the easiest ones she has worked on. The crew had worked together previously, and a certain chemistry existed that was unparalleled.
The one challenge was the location. Finding the ideal place, the shoot provided some obstacles that Du was quick to overcome. Her vast experience producing allowed her to get the permits she needed.
“Once we had the location all set, I didn’t need to worry about too many things since the crew knew each other. Once I got them fed each day, everything went perfectly,” she joked.
Growing up, Du could only dream of having the career that she does now. Producing is where her heart lies, and she encourages other children in China to never give up on the same dream if that is their passion.
“Make sure you love your job otherwise it’s a waste of your time. Producers need patience and need to know how to work under stressful conditions. Work hard but don’t give up your own story,” she advised.
Written by Sara Fowler