Wang Shasha is a football teacher at Xi'an Physical Education University. She has loved football since childhood. She had dreamed of joining the national team to win glory for the country, but she had to retire due to injuries in a game. Today, at the age of 30, she still pursues her dream of freestyle football. Despite pressure from her parents to marry and have children, her love for football has been steadfast. “Life has no “must-do” things, I can give up anything except football,” she said.
In 2020, the first batch of the "post-1990s" ushered in the 30th year in their life. The film A 30-year-old Teacher’s Football Dream focuses on the 30-year-old female teacher who loves football. Knowing that the film was recommended for the Sport Movies & TV - Milano International FICTS Fest, the director Quan Xiaomin bluntly said "it is quite unexpected". After some consideration, she added: "In fact, many modern people lack the persistence of Shasha, and her story deserves to be known by more."
Director Quan Xiaomin
Reporter ("R"): Why did you think of making this film? Do you have any connection with Teacher Shasha?
Quan Xiaomin ("Q"): I did not know the heroine Shasha before shooting the film. Last July, a colleague sent me a short video about Shasha playing freestyle football. That was the first time I knew of her. At the end of last year, we were going to make a film on the theme "Thirty Years Old". But, after contacting several people born in the 1990s, I felt that their characteristics were not very distinctive.
Later on, a colleague mentioned Shasha. At that time, we only knew that she was a football teacher at Xi'an Physical Education University. So we went directly to the school’s football field. It was a pity that Shasha did not have any classes that day. We decided to shoot the film after getting her contact information from her colleagues.
R: How did you prepare for this film?
Q: The shooting time did not take long, just about three days, but it was fragmented. There was a lot of work in the early stages. I remember the first time I saw Shasha was when she happened to be coaching students at a game, and we watched the game from afar. Then, we accompanied her to the places where she lives and works. In the early stages, I mainly asked her repeatedlly about her daily life, family relationships, behavior and habits. Only when I had a full understanding of her could I have a clearer positioning of the film.
R: During the filming, what impressed you the most?
Q: What was most unforgettable is an episode during filming at Shasha's home. When I went her home for filming as scheduled, it happened to be the birthday of Shasha’s mother. Because her mother had long been urging her to marry, Shasha had some differences with her mother, and sometimes disputes occurred.
That day, Shasha prepared a cake, quietly put it in the room, and then started shooting for the film. Unexpectedly, her uncle who happened to be home, saw the cake, and disclosed it to the surprise to Shasha’s mother. The mother pretended not to know about it, and "acted" the scenes with her daughter. However, when Shasha came out with the cake, her mother couldn’t help weeping and hugging her daughter emotionally. This touched me greatly.
R: What do you want to bring to the audience through the film?
Q: In the beginning, our film themed "Thirty Years Old" was mainly to convey a concept: it is not always necessary to do something at a certain age. For example, is it necessary for a 30-year-old woman to get married and have children? Dreams can be cherished at any age. In the latter stages of the shooting, Shasha’s persistence with her dream impressed me greatly. I hope the audience will understand the meaning of persistence after watching the film. Dreams may break even after hard work. But there is a special beauty in persisting with them.
R: What do you personally think of Shasha’s persistence?
Q: Every time Shasha talks about football, her eyes really shine. I not only appreciate but also adore her persistence. At an early age, she defined her goal, and has stuck to it regardless of any difficulties encountered in the process. Many young people lack this kind of spirit.
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