Curtain Fall

Si Chen

Live event: Film & Screen Arts Premiere Screening | May 12, 12:00 am

Award Recipient

  • Saralee James Memorial Award
  • VIVO Award for Distribution

Duration:  14:52min

Medium:  Short Film

Si Chen:  Writer, Director, Producer


Which is the real play? A story of an actress’s self-redemption. 



Shanghai, 1936. Lynn, a young actress, struggles in the film industry. Ren, a director from America, meets Lynn and invites her to play the leading role in a Chinese stage drama called “Centre Stage”. Ren promises Lynn that if they succeed, he will help her escape the fading golden age of Chinese movies, and develop her career in America. Lynn thinks that her acting career has finally come to a turn and hopes for the future, but during rehearsal happens on the day before the show, Lynn discovers Ren’s long-held secret… 

Artist Statement

This is a short film that focuses on Chinese period drama and collides with Western cultures. The story happens in Shanghai in the 1930s, when the film and television industry were in chaos. I deeply dive into the history of the practices and reputations of actresses in Chinese theatre in the interwar years. The protagonist is inspired by one of the most representative actresses in Chinese history, Lingyu Ruan, and portrays another story with a different ending from her real life. The parallel storylines, one takes place onstage, and the other happening offstage. The scenes are only switched between the dressing room and the stage. Inside and outside of the play, there are some metaphors and echoes happening at the same time. 

About the Production

CURTAIN FALL emphasizes storytelling and visual presentation. The big challenge of this shot film is its own historical existence, which is directly reflected in the production team’s understanding of the historical materials covered by the entire film. For example, we built all the scenes including the 1930s’ Chinese Theatre in the production studio. The production designer not only needs to be knowledgeable about the objects of the period, collect all kinds of props and costumes from the 1930s, but also use considerable space imagination to restore all the scenes in 4 days. This film takes the protagonist as the main force, the actress need to be flexible in understanding both stage and screen art in order to deliver a parallel storyline. In many scenes with emotional transformations, the story requires the actors to have strong performance tension, besides the talent of the actors themselves, more practices and rehearsals are also essential. This film eventually comes out as a low-budget contained film, we spent three and a half days shooting all the scenes in Emily Carr University. There is no doubt that the entire production team has a diversified combination, and the key roles of production also have a certain knowledge reserve in understanding Chinese and western cultures and history. 

Project Stills


  • Cast: Xiaoqing Ye, Liam Leone, Ara Ding 
  • Director, Writer, Producer: Si Chen
  • 1st Assistant Director: Kaede Leitao 
  • Script Editor: Kaede Leitao, Michal Latala 
  • 2nd Assistant Director: Yu Elaine Fu 
  • Production Assistant: Karaina Goulet 
  • Script Supervisor: Hannah Chang, Gabe Kwok 
  • Cinematographer: Thomas Mai
  • Camera Operator: Liao Yi
  • 1st Assistant Camera: Ditto Meng 
  • 2nd Assistant Camera: Jennifer Li
  • Gaffer: Warren Tang
  • Key Grip: Pablo Garcia
  • Grip: Matthew McCormick
  • Boom Operator: Christoper Yuen, Emma Shang 
  • Location Sound Mixer: Emma Shang 
  • Music Composer, Sound Editor: Emma Shang 
  • Sound Mixing: Matt Stephenson
  • Makeup Artist: Emerald Yun
  • Makeup Assistant: Linda Lee 
  • Hair Dresser: Lili Li
  • Hair Assistant: Hannah Chang
  • Art Director: Leslie Zhang
  • Assistant Art Director: Win He
  • Set Decorator: Claude Zhang, William Wu
  • Set Dresser: Juri Sudo-Rustad, Gabe Kwok 
  • Behind-the-Scenes Photography: Win He, Yu Elaine Fu 
  • Editor: Si Chen
  • Colorists: Thomas Mai, Elaine Yan
  • VFX: Warren Tang
  • Poster Designer: Peizhi Fang, Yuxiao Wang

Special Thanks

  • Calvin Yao
  • Carlo Ghioni
  • Harry Killas
  • Jonathan Tammuz
  • FMSA Technicians
  • Suling Evelyn Li
  • Yongbiao Chen 

Si Chen

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Si Chen (she/her) is a filmmaker with a Bachelor of Media Arts who graduated from Emily Carr University of Art + Design who focuses on the creation of autobiographical feature films based on documentary. The genres she is most interested in are mockumentary and women’s cinema. In addition to making movies, she is constantly looking for inspiration in various forms of art, such as animation, photography, and mixed media in visual arts. These works have been exhibited and won prizes in both China and Canada. Based in Nanjing and Vancouver, she has worked with many local independent production companies. Her main areas of expertise are director and producer.

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