January 7, 2021 3:03 pm
Jiayan "Jenny" Shi's feature debut Finding Yingying was named Winner, Best Foreign Language Documentary at the Chinese Academy Awards late last month. In addition, the film was recognized with nominations for the Grand Jury Prize and the Global Impact Award.
After having its SXSW World Premiere cancelled in April 2020, the film has still managed to make waves playing at a number of virtual festivals last year including DOC NYC, Middlebury New Filmmaker Festival, Loudoun Arts Film Festival, Milwaukee Film Festival, and Chicago International Film Festival. Winner of a SXSW Special Jury Recognition for Breakthrough Voice, Finding Yingying tells the tragic story of Yingying Zhang, a young Chinese student who went missing from the University of Illinois campus. Director/producer Jiayan “Jenny” Shi closely followed her family’s in their first ever trip to the USA, as they searched to unravel the mystery of her disappearance and seek justice for their daughter while navigating a foreign country.
In October, Finding Yingying was acquired by MTV. Critics have called the film “haunting,” “personal,” “tender” and “evocative.”
Shi initially developed the project as a student at Northwestern University and then in the Diverse Voices in Docs program, operated by Kartemquin and Community Film Workshop of Chicago. The film also won Paley DocPitch Competition in 2018 and pitched at TFI Network 2019. In August, Shi was selected as one of Sundance Institute’s 11 artists selected for the first-ever Women at Sundance | Adobe Fellowship, designed to meaningfully support women artists creating bold new work in film and media.
You can see it in virtual theaters now.