Tianran Qian, is a 27-year-old New York University student majoring in Interactive Communications (ITP).
She is from a wealthy and renowned family in Hangzhou, China. Tianran’s parents got divorced when she was eight years old. Her father was busy running his business; so she grew up with her grandfather. Tianran’s grandfather was a respected poet in China and he told Tianran that she was the only heir in her generation with an ability to understand and practice traditional Chinese culture. With the guidance and influence of her grandfather, she got into traditional Chinese culture and wanted to find a way to share it with the world. Tianran comes to the United States to pursue her dream.
She tries hard to keep up with her studies and also take care of herself in New York City where she lives thousands miles away from home. Twenty-four hours of a day is never enough for her. She keeps busy all day with schoolwork, but also involves herself in a lot of Chinese culture organizations and its events. Tianran knows she can fulfill her grandfather’s mission only by working hard. In the documentary, we see her looking fabulous in a Chinese cheongsam on stage hosting a Chinese opera in New York City, but we also see her in the subway looking exhausted – all proof of how hard she works.
It is Christmas time in New York City. The city is decorated with beautiful warm lights and Christmas trees. The strong holiday season atmosphere makes Tianran really miss her family in China. She comes back to her 34th street Manhattan apartment at midnight from school and dials her dad’s FaceTime number. The bad Internet connection makes this call difficult. She calls her dad several times; however, she can only hear him busy talking business with his employees over the phone. Finally, her dad hangs up, Tianran cries.
The next morning as usual, she dresses up nicely as usual and heads to another place to pursue her dreams.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Documentary films--Themes, motives; Documentary films--Technique; Chinese students--United States
Imaging Arts (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Film and Animation (CIAS)
Liu, Ruiqi, "Tianran" (2015). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus