“Don’t wait until the next time becomes the last time to communicate with the people you care about.”
-Shange “Z” Zhang
The Five Minutes, directed and produced by Shange “Z” Zhang is the Jury Award winner at the 2020 USC Asian Pacific Film Festival. This festival features short films produced, written, directed and/or starring Asian or Pacific Islander Trojans.
The Five Minutes is a heartbreaking reflection of the last moments a businessman has with his wife before she commits suicide. This standout science fiction short, features technology allowing loved-ones to have one last five-minute phone call with those recently passed. “We always think we have a lot of chances to talk to people about our true feelings, but the truth is, we don’t. The phone booth in the movie is a fantasy. People hope they can use this to make up the mistakes they’ve made in communicating with their loved ones,” says Z.
Executed on a level comparable to any top science fiction film of the last decade, The Five Minutes features outstanding performances from Zhan Wang, Eon Song, and Demi Ke. The Five Minutes has been officially selected for nearly 30 film festivals winning Best Sci-Fi film at the Asian on Film Festival and Los Angeles Film Awards, Best Cinematography at the Seoul International Film Festival and Best Short Film/ Best Screenplay at the iFilm Festival in 2019.
The dialogue is performed in Mandarin but was originally written in English. “I shared the concept of the magical phone booth and developed the story with our writer Nichole DeLaura together. Although the dialogue is in Mandarin, we wrote the story in English first and translated it back to Chinese after we locked the final draft” says, Z. Reflecting on the three-month production, Z praises the film’s editor, “Frances Lu did an incredible job crafting the film in post. Focusing more on the pacing and following the emotional path the characters are going through in the movie. The whole editing process was about two months.” The score of this film is incredibly moving, “Our composer Ling Lu composed the beautiful score for the movie. It was a great experience collaborating with Ling on this project. You can find more about his work on Lumusic.net,” says Z.
The most rewarding experience for Z was, “shooting an Asian story with an all Asian crew and cast in Los Angeles. This was definitely different from my previous production and I wanted to try to assemble a team that can understand the culture behind the story. I am proud of our team and happy that we could make an Asian film that is worth sharing with audiences around the world.”
After a hectic year of festivals, “It is a mixed feeling of exhaustion and satisfaction, all rewarding at the same time. To be honest, it is the very first film I made and submitted to festival. I was happy with how it turned out and proud of all the hard work we did for the movie,” says Z. The Five Minutes is a film showcasing Z’s uncommon, imaginative and meaningful storytelling. The future is very bright for this young filmmaker.
This story was inspired by Z’s relationship with his father. Z wanted “to make this piece to deliver a simple message — don’t wait until the next time becomes the last time to communicate with the people you care about.”
Photos courtesy of Shange “Z” Zhang