Curse Me - 詛咒我
A teenager finds himself exploring his sexuality with a male classmate for the first time. During this, he also seeks answers to something known as "the curse" - the reason for his father's suicide - only to realise that he is cursed too.
Curse Me - 詛咒我
Curse Me - the story
As a young boy, Chen Ping experienced the sham marriage of his parents firsthand, resulting in witnessing the painful and unfulfilling partnership his mother had to live through. Unexpectedly, Chen Ping discovers his father's body after he commits suicide as a consequence of something only known as "the curse". Following this, his mother holds an exorcism and the boy's memories start to shift and blur.
Now, Chen Ping is a teenager and in high school. After school, he and two of his friends miss the last school bus and squeeze into the back of a cab just as the rain starts to pour. As they drive through the streets of China, Chen Ping and the boy sitting next to him share an intimate moment in secret, so the others in the cab don't notice.
When he returns home, he confronts his mother regarding his stepfather's disrespect towards her. In this discussion, the truth behind Chen Ping's father's death is unveiled: he was gay.
As he continues to explore his sexuality as he masturbates, he suddenly recalls the conversation he had with his mother and the memories of his father's death become clear. In a tragic realisation, Chen Ping discovers that he is cursed too, just as his father was.
Director's Statement - Why this story is important
This story aims to explore issues of identity through the connection between sexuality and death. Growing up as queer in a relatively conservative East Asian family, this queer identity feels almost like a curse: societal pressure under a conservative atmosphere, the stress from tighter family bonds, the confusion about self in the absence of sex education. For our protagonist, the identity crisis is compounded by the fact that their father, who died by suicide, was also gay. How to overcome and face this 'curse' is what we seek to explore. This 'curse' is not just about the difficulty of identity issues but also a universal challenge. For instance, what if one day you realize you are different from most people in the world, and others try to assimilate you in ways they think are right? You start to waver, to think, to feel wrong, guilty, ashamed, and as if you owe everyone an apology. Some spend a lifetime searching for the answer, while others may never find it. I hope to tear everything apart to see what the 'curse' truly is, what the 'answer' really is, and to understand what makes us human, and what defines our identity.
How would your donations help?
Your contributions are essential in telling this story. All of your donations will support a project of emotional and cultural significance, that challenges ideas, ideology, and personal conflict.
Because we are setting a Chinese film in London, most of our budget will be dedicated to production Design - which will include prop sourcing, location bookings, and set building - and the Camera Department - which includes studio and equipment booking - in order to create an authentic Chinese environment. In addition, the budget will also help feed our production and help us get from point A to point B.
So here's a quick recap:
Production Design (props, location, set)
Camera Department (studios, equipment)
Production Expenses (food, transport)
Meet the Crew
We are a group of six UAL students in our final year. We are extremely excited to be working on our graduation film and put our final student film on its feet!
Director - Yixin (Gideon) Li
This film is born from personal struggle: witnessing a friend's father's suicide due to drug abuse and confronting my own identity as a gay man in a conservative society. These experiences, marked by fear, lies, and societal pressure, have fueled a deep-seated anger in me. This film is my outcry against the pain and repression endured in silence by many. I aim to present a raw, unfiltered narrative, directing actors to capture the intense, often unspoken emotions behind these experiences. My goal is to provoke thought and empathy in the audience, challenging them to face harsh realities and foster a deeper understanding of these hidden struggles.
Producer - Carmella Ramos
My name is Carmella Ramos and I am the Producer of this project. I cannot properly put into words how much this project means to me. To me, this project is more than just a film, it is an expression of the complexity of personal identity and the struggle I personality faced as a queer person coming to terms with my sexuality and what it meant for me to be queer in a very anti-gay community.
When Gideon pitched this project and told me what this project meant to him, I was moved to tears. Because I understood. I understood what it means to feel like a curse, a sin, an abomination and to question your whole identity. To question whether your existence is right.
I am so incredibly excited to work on this project and to put my heart and soul into this film. "Curse Me" is a challenge I am willing to accept. Making a Chinese film in London is a first for me and I believe this is something I can achieve.
Director of Photography - Vincent Constantine
(We decided to keep the real identity of our DoP private for personal reasons)
I am making this film because I believe the voice of the LGBTQ community should be heard, even in times when barbarism is returning to our world.
I take this project seriously as a cinematographer. I need to shoot this project, not because I just want to graduate, but because I think it's the right thing to do when you stand up for your values even if the majority is telling you you are a horrible cursed monster.
Production Designer - Anastasia Klimova
Hello everyone! I am a Production Designer of this film. This film isn't just a narrative, it's a mirror reflecting the profound queries of our modern society. We delve into the depths of self-identity, mental well-being, and the clash of generational differences that shape our social norms—norms that can profoundly impact one's life.
I am highly interested in Production Design as we are facing a great challenge of creating the Chinese aesthetic of 2008 of a low-middle class dark-cored household that allies a mysterious family drama.
This isn't just another film project for us—it's a testament to the power of storytelling, a homage to the human experience in all its raw and unfiltered glory. Every detail, every nuance in the production design is meticulously crafted to transport you into the heart of our narrative, to make you feel and think and question.
I invite you all to join us on this exhilarating journey. Stay tuned as we pour our hearts and souls into this project. Your generous support means the world to us—it fuels our creativity, it validates our dedication, and it ultimately helps us share this compelling story with the world!
Sound Designer - Anna Iwazawa
My name is Anna Iwazawa, and I am the head of the sound department for our graduation film 'Curse Me’. In this role, I hold the responsibility of overseeing all sound-related aspects of this piece, accomplishing tasks such as recording, mixing, and foley. This is a role that I am truly passionate about, as sound plays an integral part in immersing the audience in the world of the film.
I'm particularly excited for the sound design on our piece. This is because it boasts a climactic scene of exceptional intensity. This scene presents an opportunity to exercise our creative in sound design, pushing the boundaries of auditory storytelling. The prospect of enhancing the viewer's experience through innovative soundscapes is what fuels my excitement. As we delve deeper into the production, I am genuinely looking forward to seeing how our sound department's efforts will elevate!
The uniqueness of this film for me is that it is a reflective short film that explores the term "curse" in a deeper way with the situation of sexual minorities in China. The film's narrative revolves around what a curse really is and follows a young boy as he grows up with his gender identity.
The interesting concept and metaphorical style of filming gave me a lot of room to explore more ways of editing, not only focusing on the logic of reality, I will try to achieve the director's intention through clever metaphorical and symbolic cuts. I look forward to bringing my expertise and creativity to this project and embark on this exciting journey with the team to deliver a memorable film to the audience.
First and foremost, thank you so much for supporting this campaign. Please help us by sharing this with anyone you feel would resonate with this story!
To keep updated on our project, follow us on Instagram @curseme_film for the latest updates and follow our progress!