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USC Students Killed In April Shooting Remembered In Emotional Film

Zhao Chen |
November 18, 2012 | 12:30 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Poster of the film "City of Dreams" in AMC/ Zhao Chen
Poster of the film "City of Dreams" in AMC/ Zhao Chen
More than 400 people, mostly Chinese students from the University of Southern California, packed an AMC theater earlier this week to watch the premiere of the 20-minute film "City of Dreams" about two Chinese graduate students shot dead in their car on their way home in April. Many audience members left the free screening so touched by the film that they wished it could have gone on longer.

“I was so deeply touched by it that I cried when I was watching it,” said Xuchen Ding, a USC graduate student. “It brought out a lot of issues. I felt it such a pity to lose two young lives just like us, and I all the more felt that USC should enhance its security service for students.”

Another USC graduate student Tengfei Xu echoed what Ding felt, adding “the film is unveiling many details about life of Chinese students in USC that are so resonating to me. Like they were shot late at night driving home, because Chinese students are often very hardworking, and they went home late after leaving the library or the lab. But should we pay the price of life because we are hardworking?”

Ingrid Carlson, a staff member at USC's University Religious Center walked out of the theater with tears in her eyes.

“It hit me hard personally," she said. "I felt so sad especially thinking about how their parents are going to live with the tragic loss of their children.”

Long before the premiere started at 8 p.m. Tuesday, people eager to watch the “City of Dreams” make its debut were lining up outside the gate of AMC Atlantic Times Square in Monterey Park.

Many people waiting in line there expressed their high expectation of the film.

“It is one of the best kinds of commemoration of the two lost compatriots and to clarify the misinterpretation of Chinese students studying abroad in our home country. It took tremendous amount of efforts and sense of responsibility for the crew and cast member to do this,” said Gracie Wang, a USC graduate student.

Before the screening, both the producer and the director stressed to the audience that making this film was a life-changing decision for them. They expressed gratitude to the parents of Ying Wu and Ming Qu, the two victims of the tragic shooting because -- to their surprise -- the parents gave the crew members consent and encouragement to do this movie about their children.

The film began with an excerpt from Wu’s blog, which sets the optimistic and uplifting tone throughout the film. Translated in English, it reads, “I want to take time by the hand, face the future and say Hi. To embrace that unknown, that infinite possibility. To take it all in and radiate with all potential, to walk into that light, and meet with my finest self.”

The focus of this short film is about love and dream. It features how the young couple were struggling to chase their dream in a different country and how their pure love for each other was supporting them during that process. Their death also exerts a life-altering impact on their best friends, who are also struggling to find where they are and where they want to go in this intricate world.

The film is scheduled to screen in China and other Chinese communities in the U.S. next year, according to Tianhui Ye, the associate producer of “City of Dreams."

“We are really encouraged by how many people are here today," Ye said. "We are hoping by our efforts more and more discussions can be inspired, so that Chinese students studying abroad can have a stronger say on what their life really is."



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Reach the Staff Reporter Zhao Chen here.



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