In order to be famous, during a beauty contest in Dongguan, a former factory girl, 22-year-old Jolin strips and shows off her H-cup breasts. Overnight she becomes famous and wins a busy career of soft-core pornography. In order to pay the debts from plastic surgeries and to gather enough money to attend the Central Drama Academy, she attempts to repair her relationship with her father, meeting him on a TV show. Her father, a gambler living in nearby Hainan, abandoned her and her mother when Jolin was a young girl. When Jolin finally confesses her true occupation to her mother during their Chinese New Year celebration, their bad relationship gets even worse. For the lonely Jolin, her fractured family poses a huge emotional obstacle In a sad revelatory moment, she says that she is the Little Mermaid. Like Ariel, she will do anything to transform herself for her impossible dream. But she thinks that for a sex worker, true love will be something impossible to find.
In order to gain access to the factory and build trust with the workers, we worked on the assembly lines of two factories for a month. Along with the other factory girls, we labored standing for 12 hours a day— all for the meager wage of 2 US Dollars per hour.
Our film was inspired by two books: Leslie T. Chang’s New York Times Bestseller, Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China, and Ding Yan’s book, Factory Girl. The books' two different perspectives provided us with a distinctive way to understand Dongguan’s issues.
New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA)
Chicken & Egg Pictures' Diversity Fellows Program