xi's moments
Home | Film & TV

Tea-tree movie gives villagers a chance to branch out

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-05-12 10:05

CHONGQING — Though trees cannot speak verbally, Evan Raymond Luchkow, a 32-year-old Canadian filmmaker who graduated from Vancouver Film School, made ancient tea trees the protagonists in his latest project, allowing them to "tell" their story about interacting with locals in Chashu village, Southwest China's Chongqing.

As a participant in the Looking China annual youth film project, which invited eight young foreign directors to film Chongqing in April, Luchkow interpreted the topic through his lens — focusing on a sleepy village that planted tea trees thousands of years ago.

When the Canadian stepped into the village in Delong township, surprises kept coming. The luxuriant local tea trees are so tall that people need ladders to pick their leaves. The harmonious coexistence between people and nature in the village also struck him.

"In Canada, the preservation of nature sometimes keeps people separated from it. On our way into this village, I saw lots of houses cradled by these mountains, which was truly surprising," says Luchkow, adding that the view was just like a postcard.

Soon he was able to set the tone for the filming, which depicts a silent dialogue between trees and people.

For thousands of years, from generation to generation, the tea trees have been receiving people's care and protection. People sing folk songs, expand tree plantation areas and protect the trees from any risk of logging.

In turn, the trees benefit locals by yielding good-quality tea leaves and thus bringing them tangible income. Now, in Delong, the tea trees cover a total of over 8,200 mu (547 hectares) and are about to yield an annual revenue of 150 million yuan ($21.66 million) this year.

Last year alone, there were around 200 households in the village that own tea trees covering more than 0.33 hectares, with an average annual income of 50,000 yuan per household.

"I think if the trees could speak, they might want to deliver their gratitude to villagers. That's what I tried to express via the film," says the director.

During the period when the film was being shot, there was also a seminar held in Nanchuan district, Chongqing. Many experts were discussing the history of tea trees in Delong.

Meanwhile, at a black tea company, Chongqing Jinshanhu Agricultural Development, Wu Ke, a 33-year-old production manager, was busy processing tea leaves picked at around the time of the Qingming Festival in April.

"With the help of the professors and local publicity, I just feel so lucky to do this job," says Wu, adding that his father and grandfather didn't know much about marketing channels and only bartered the tea for other goods, instead of raking in big profits.

Wu is not the only one who chooses to stay in their hometown and do their best to protect and utilize the tea trees. Luchkow's film, The Tree Listens, tells the millennia-long story of local villagers who actively guarded the clean water and green mountains.

In the process of documenting the tea village's history, Luchkow also found that well-known Canadian coffee brand Tim Hortons had extended its footprint to Chongqing. While local Chinese take to coffee nowadays, his friends back in Canada enjoy Chinese tea a lot.

"The communication between tea and coffee is like the exchanges between people. That's why I chose to participate in this program for the second time," he says, adding that it has given him a chance to visit places he wouldn't normally, and to see the diversified culture China has.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349