Fantasia Fest 2021: Chatting with Baby, Don’t Cry stars Zita Bai & Vas Provatakis and producers Qiyu Zhou & Zeron Zhao
Baby, Don’t Cry is a new film premiering at Fantasia Fest 2021 by Chinese immigrant Zita Bai, who studied film to tell stories rooted in her culture. A dark romantic thriller, Baby, Don’t Cry, centers on a 17-year-old Chinese immigrant named Baby (Bai) from a troubled home. She meets a 20-year-old delinquent named Fox (Vas), and together they embark on a twisted journey in the hopes they can escape their fate.
We had a chance to chat with stars Zita Bai and Vas Provatakis, alongside film producers Qiyu Zhou and Zeron Zhao, about the movie.
1428 Elm: To start, did you want to talk a little bit about how the concept of Baby, Don’t Cry came to be? I know a lot was based on your personal experiences, Zita.
Zita Bai: I was born and raised in China, I moved to Seattle as a young teen, and in a completely foreign environment, I didn’t speak English. So, Baby, Don’t Cry is like trying to take a closer look at all the obstacles and everything I was going through at that age. The fantasy element really comes down to how I was interpreting everything in my head.
1428 Elm: From a producing angle, how did you get involved?
Qiyu Zhou: Originally, I was a note giver, in the beginning, because I studied and majored in directing. [Zita] came to me asking for some script advice, and as I looked into the script, I found that there are so many things that remind me of many Hong Kong genre films, like back in the ’90s.
It’s exciting that we make a genre film in this country but carry on some Hong Kong vibes. It’s rarely seen nowadays in that we were willing to show more exaggerated moments and wanted to make something from our culture in this country. We crafted this together. Zita wrote the script, and I decided to produce it for her. It’s exciting to make a genre film with a group of passionate people.
Zeron Zhao: When I jump into the project, the film and script were almost ready. We had everything. We were passionate and ready to shoot it. We had everything ready to go, and we were so passionate about making the film.
Zita: Going back to genre film, one thing I was very clear about is that I rarely see female-driven genre films because it’s such a male-dominated field, but females and males share different fears, fantasies, and struggles in life. What is so precious about Baby, Don’t Cry is that we crafted a girl’s fear into this story.
Qiyu: I think that’s what is different from the Hong Kong movies we love so much, and want to salute to, because female perspectives are very rare, even in a developed country like the U.S., not a lot of females are making genre films even though there are so many brilliant female filmmakers.