In July 2018, POV asked Still Tomorrow filmmaker Jian Fan what's happened since the cameras stopped rolling.
Can you give us an update on Yu Xiuhua and her family?
Yu Xiuhua and her father still live in the village. She published a new book last month. It's a collection of essays. She also published a story in a magazine. She's still single and her father is now dating someone from the village.
Has Yu Xiuhua seen the film? What does she think?
Xiuhua was one of the earliest viewers of Still Tomorrow. She joked about herself after she saw the film. She said everything is beautiful in the film except her, but she got prettier in the latter part of the film.
She's glad we made the film which records the changes she and her family experience, especially now that her mother is gone.
Can you talk about how China's unique social media landscape made Xinhua's fame possible?
WeChat, with over one billion users, is one of the most popular social media apps in China. Although she started publishinhg her poetry in magazined and websites, her poetry went viral when someone posted it on WeChat. The post was read and reposted several million times. She also writes on a microblog (on Weibo) which has almost 200,000 fans.
The film often explores China's rapid urbanization. How does Xinhua's poetry reflect her country's changes?
Xiuhua often writes about her village in her poetry. She feels sorry for all the vanished beautiful country view and country life which also changed the feeling and theme of her poetry. In her new essay book, she talks more about the changes.
What are you working on now?
I'm working on a new documentary film named A Second Child. After an earthquake razed a Chinese city to the ground, 6000 families try to replace the children they lost in order to move on with their lives. We followed two of these families, they haunted by their painful past as they build towards a brighter tomorrow.