Wonder Boy

It’s Chinese New Year – dancing lions, dragons, blood red firecrackers, and a beast called Nian.

But 10 year old Clancy is tired. Every Saturday he has to go to Chinese school, and it sucks. He can’t speak chinese, and his mum can’t speak English. All she wants is her only child to speak Chinese, but Clancy just wants to be like Sam, the cool kid at school.

In an act of rebellion, Clancy steals a firecracker from school to impress Sam and his friends, but he soon discovers that it will take all of his courage to discover who it is he really wants to be.

Genre: Short drama, 2010

Writer/ Director: Corrie Chen

Producer: Anna Kojevnikov

DOP: Michael Latham

Editor: Malgorata Swierczak

Sound Design: Markus Kellow

Original Score: Jamie Messenger

Production Company: VCA School of Film & Television

Festival Screenings: Flickerfest 2011, Dungog Film Festival 2011, NAFA Showfest 2011, Access All Areas Film Festival & Tour 2011, Munich International Film Festival (Film Schools) 2011, SKENA UP Festival 2011, Asian Australian Film Forum 2011, San Francisco Asian American Film Festival 2012, World of Women Film Festival 2012, Asians on Film Festival 2012, Australian Director’s Guild Awards 2012, Bayside Film Festival 2012, San Diego Asian Film Festival 2012, DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival 2012, Colourfest Film Festival 2012, Malaysia Arts & Performance Festival 2012, Boston Asian American Film Festival 2012, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2013, Equator’s WOW Film Festival (London) 2013, International Chinese Film Festival 2013, Sydney Intercultural Film Festival 2013, Young Chinese Film Festival 2014

Awards & Nominations:

  • Australian Director’s Guild Awards 2012 – Nominated – Best direction in a student film
  • Colourfest Film Festival – Best Film
  • WOW Film Festival – Best Student Film
  • Bayside Film Festival – Best Tertiary Film
  • NAFA Showfest – Runner up – Best Film
  • VCA Film & Television Awards – Nominated – Best Masters Production
  • Asians on Film – Honorable Mention – Best Short Drama, Best Director. Winner – Best Supporting Actress (Sofia Shen).


Director’s Statement

Every child deserves a movie. The moment of growing up seen and felt through a child’s eyes is cinematic not only in visual terms, but the emotional and lasting impact of that moment is one every viewer will be able to relate to. In an increasingly globalised and divided world, the coming of age story is truly one that can transcend borders.

Wonder Boy is about a ten-year old Chinese boy’s attempt to define himself in a world he is still trying to make sense of. As a child, we love and reject our family, we hate them and we need them. We try to distinguish ourselves from them but deep down we inherit the most quintessential part of them – heritage. Much like the Australia in my memory, Clancy is growing up in a country that is tolerant and accepting of cultural diversity, he can go to Chinese schools on Saturdays and at attend regular primary school during the week. However, he is trapped in a curious dichotomy where he is not Chinese enough, but not quite Australian enough.

The landscape of a place informs a story a great deal. Through the emphasise of negative space within the frame, the use of longer takes and wide shots, the audience is allowed to spend time in the same space as Clancy and empathise with the pressures he faces from his environment around him – his grandma, his mum, from school. Though Clancy occupies a certain amount of space in that world, he is yet to understand the meaning of that space.

Wonder Boy is not a message film. It is a film that asks questions, or rather, my own personal question – how necessary is self-acceptance in forming our own identiy? How are we expected to communicate with each other, when we live in a world that is made up of individuals who are so culturally different? Storytelling is about exploring other lives and asking these questions. I don’t always find the answers, but there is a joy in simply asking them.

Some problems, indeed, are universal.