A visual communications design student at National Yunlin University of Science and Technology has won the first award at the 27th Croatian One-Minute Film Festival for a video inspired by her personal experience with domestic violence.
In the short film Diary (日記), Ye Yi-zhen (葉亦真) depicts a young girl doodling in her diary as her parents argue in the background.
Next to her drawing she has written the words: “Today is my birthday, dad and mum are celebrating with me, we’re so happy. I love my family.”
Photo courtesy of Ye Yi-zhen
The video ends with the girl crying at her desk.
In an interview on Tuesday, Ye said that from a young age she witnessed her parents fighting.
One minute they would be eating cake and the next they would be fighting over an insignificant issue, she said.
When her parents argued, her father threw things and her mother screamed, she added.
Once, the police showed up after receiving a complaint, but left after trying to de-escalate the situation, Ye said.
Her mother has slapped her across the face and thrown a drink at her, while her father has grabbed and thrown her against a wall, kicked her on the floor and thrown a chair at her, with the abuse reaching the point that her lips have bled, she said.
She added that she has also endured verbal abuse, including being scolded for being “unfilial.”
Ye said that she has hated her father since she was a child.
She said that she once asked her mother why they did not get divorced, with her mother replying that, without her father, other people would bully them.
A Taoyuan native, Ye said that she began recording the sounds of her parents arguing almost five years ago, when she was a high-school student.
She wanted to collect evidence, but never thought about calling the 113 children and women protection hotline, she said.
After high school, she moved out of her parents’ home, and became more optimistic and better at lifting her mood, she said.
“Out of sight, out of mind,” Ye said, but added that she regrets that her younger brother, who is in high school and with whom she has little interaction, has exhibited behavior such as punching the wall with his fists.
She said that she was surprised that her short film, which she created with her classmates, was selected for the first award out of more than 600 entries from more than 20 nations.
Other students from her university have won similar awards at the festival before, she added.
“Although [the Croatian One-Minute Film Festival] looks like a small film festival, it is a huge encouragement to students,” Ye said.
Professor Lin Tay-jou (林泰州), who supervised the project, had been concerned that her parents would react negatively to the film, Ye said.
However, after her parents learned that the film had been released and won an award, her mother did not blame her and her father seemed pleased, she said, adding that “this feeling was unreal.”
She said she hopes that by showing the reality of family life in her short film, she could raise awareness about domestic violence and remind parents like the ones depicted in the film to pay attention to their children’s feelings.
She is grateful to her boyfriend for giving her a sense of security, she added.
Ye said that she hopes to continue to pursue her passions for photography, video production and advertising design, and to make more films that other people can relate to.
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