Finding Yingying is a feature-length vérité documentary that tells the story of the Zhang family, who arrive in the United States from China in search of their missing 26-year-old daughter, Yingying. An international student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Yingying was only in the U.S. for six weeks before disappearing in the summer of 2017.
Hampered by limited resources and inadequate support from the university, the heartbroken Zhang family - with the help of Yingying’s boyfriend – stay in the U.S. as long as possible to find their daughter on their own by all means. A tragic murder mystery is revealed and despite the arrest of a suspect, Yingying is still missing and is presumed dead. Frustrated by the painstakingly slow investigation and negotiating a complicated U.S. criminal justice system, the family also faces online skepticism, culture shock and language barriers. When their money runs out, the family must return to China. Doing all they can from afar, the family’s fervent hope is to seek justice and await the court case which has been postponed from 2018 to summer of 2019.
Unlike typical crime stories, Finding Yingying is a personal, intimate story about a family dealing with grief and finding resolution, and who Yingying was – why she came to the U.S. to study, and the challenges of finding justice as foreigners in the U.S.
A former international student herself, the director Jiayan "Jenny" Shi presents a revealing examination of the experience of Chinese students in America – the largest population of international students in the U.S.