“Happy Birthday Cindy Wei” is a dark-comedy and unconventional coming-of-age story about an awkward, overweight 15-year-old girl plagued by her insecurities and sexual frustrations while she struggles to survive in the vicious world of teenage adolescence.
In addition to facing constant humiliation at school, Cindy must deal with an aloof father, an absent mother and the occasional harassment by customers at the family-owned Chinese take-away.
It’s not until her older cousin, Michael, starts working at the take-away that Cindy finds a light in the angst-ridden darkness. There’s something different about Michael and it’s not just that he dances in woman’s platform shoes while frying prawns.
Cindy unexpectedly finds comfort and guidance in Michael’s flamboyancy and subsequently, in his secret second job as a late night phone sex operator. Through her discovery of Michael’s alternative lifestyle, Cindy is led to discover her desires and strength.
What We Need & What You Get
The backdrop for “Happy Birthday Cindy Wei” is early 90s England, in the last years of the economic recession. The film is set in the 90s to create a character within the backdrop itself. Like in Napoleon Dynamite, the colours and trends of the period will create a visual irony to the life of Cindy Wei.
However, in order to recreate this era we will be needing to create magazines, posters, adverts, pop hits and anything else that we may have copyright issues with. As fun as it sounds (and yes, it is very fun) recreating such ordinary items will cost us plenty to organize, design and print. Authenticity will be costing us plenty! We’ll be needing enough money to source the best sets, props and scenery to recreate the 90s. This is where we need your help!
In addition to the production design of this film, we are looking to help cover costs for some amazing costume including full on drag queen dresses and awesomely bad late 80s, early 90s fashion. We want everyone to feel and enjoy the nostalgia of the piece and have a strong feeling of Cindy’s world.
We will of course be needing to ensure some great actors, locations and crew to create a unique and competent film.
By donating, you, the audience will ensure a wonderful movie-going experience and will be able to sleep soundly at night knowing that you have supported the arts and the voices of tomorrow! So please, have a look at the perks we have provided and make your decision on how much you can afford to contribute and are willing to get this production on its wings and ready to fly high!
Empty wallet and empty pockets? Don’t worry, we can relate. Luckily this isn’t a problem at all. You can still help Cindy Wei overcome her life hurdles by sharing this page with family, friends and even strangers if you’re up to the challenge! Spread the word! Drag Queens! 90s! Phone Sex! Just make sure you share this page by clicking on the social network logos under the image of the page as Indiegogo count how many times our campaign is shared. If it is shared enough, we may make it onto the feature page!
Feel free to like us on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/happybirthdaycindywei
Meet the Crew!
Hi! My name is Tsveta Lozanova and I am the director of Happy Birthday Cindy Wei. This project is the culmination of my work at the Art University College at Bournemouth. Up to this moment I have directed a number of short films, each one exploring a different subject but united by the protagonist struggle/lack of desire to fit within society. Cindy Wei, doomed to stand out with her awkwardness, immediately attracted my attention.
I like to experiment, breaking away from conventional storytelling and exploring the full potential of film techniques. Happy Birthday Cindy Wei is a great opportunity for me and the crew to create something exciting and fresh as well as thought provoking: a sarcastic overview of society that would make people reflect on what they stand for and where do they belong in the bigger picture. I hope that you can help us realize this project the best way that we can!
Hello, I'm Tracey Chung and within the last 3 years at AUCB, I have produced a number of films ranging from fantasy to experimental. We as a crew have also worked together on many projects, so it’s great to make our final graduation film with the same crew as we have learnt and improved each of our specialisms together over the years! I am very excited about working on Happy Birthday Cindy Wei, not only is it a captivating story, the 90s and the Chinese culture within the film is something that I can be a part of as I have grown up experiencing both!
Director of Photography
Hey there, my name is Elizabeth Vazquez. I am in my final year at AUCB and have specialized in cinematography, production design and screenwriting. I am the writer and director of photography for “Happy Birthday Cindy Wei.” It is an incredibly exciting time to see this story come to life and to introduce Cindy to the world. I feel that Cindy’s story is a recognizable one, an account of growing up that anyone who has ever experienced puberty can relate to. In a time of uninspired remakes, franchises and adaptations, I believe supporting unique character based stories like “Happy Birthday Cindy Wei” is integral to the advancement of filmmaking and the art of storytelling. Quintessentially, this is a story about the human condition for all it’s imperfections and dramas---a story that can hopefully bring people closer to one another in understanding one another (while having a few laughs along the way).
Hi, I am Olga Sherlygina, a Film Production student at the Arts University College at Bournemouth. I specialise in Cinematography and Production Design. Although initially starting out as a photographer, my fascination with image eventually extended into film. My primary focus is to create beautiful, sincere and thought-provoking work that speaks for itself and stands away from 'the norm'. Often inspired by visual and performance art, sound, nostalgia and other more experimental techniques, I aim to provide the best visual means to tell a certain story.
Hello, my name is Andrew Gosnold, a third-year editing student at AUCB, and I am delighted to be the editor for 'Happy Birthday Cindy Wei'. Although I don't get my hands dirty until the rushes get back after production, I am keen to also involve myself in the planning stages of pre-production; pulling the minds of the director, DoP and sound-designer together and getting them to really engage with how everything they envisage, will ultimately cut together (before they go off and shoot it!).
Hi, I'm Joshua Harvey, an independent filmmaker and specialist in post production sound design. A creative director of the London based In Your Face Productions, backed by UK Trade & Investment, I have worked with clients as diverse as Nina Naustdal, the Green Party and several national film bodies. By night I may be known as Candy Clementine. She’ll be appearing at one of our fundraising events (look out for photos), but really needs any excuse…