Foshan stands on the grace land of South China like a shiny jewel, where lion dance is widely recognized as a timeless icon essential to the local culture.
Supervised by Zhang Miao and directed by Sun Haipeng, I am What I am (《雄狮少年》), an original Chinese animation with lion dance elements, premieres today (December 17th).
Ajuan, the main character, was a left-behind teen who was always ridiculed and not popular among his peers. One coincidence came that he met a girl who has the exact same name. He was inspired by her and made up his mind to form a lion dance team with his pals Amao and Agou, which later on turned out to be an encouraging story of pain and growth.
As one of the few realistic animated films in recent years, the work narrates a relatable story from a grass-root character. Fundamentally, it conveys an important message that miracles can be made if one keeps chasing his dream. Tons of lion dance moves are included in the film, from which viewers might feel the adrenaline moving through their veins.
Earlier on, the movie was released at a few cinemas for promotion, receiving an average of 8.3 (out of 10) from more than 20,000 viewers on Douban, the biggest rating website in China. Some wrote, "the film was seeded in the soil of romanticism and bloomed a flower of realism."
The film also has a top production team. Zhang Miao, the Executive Producer, has once created classics like Wolf Warriors (《战狼》), The Wandering Earth (《流浪地球》) and Dying to Survive (《我不是药神》). Director Sun Haipeng won the "Outstanding Animation Creative Talent" in 2014, issued by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.
Guangdong Lion Dance has been listed as one of the national intangible cultural heritages. Whenever a celebration or a festival comes, there will always be lion dance performances in different areas of Guangdong province. With its Chinese-style visual effect, the animation combines the epic lion dance culture with a teen story of chasing dreams. The audience are able to follow the life path towards miracles and feel the charm of this traditional culture.
There are also many foreigners coming to Foshan to learn and experience the exciting lion dance.