Happy accidents. This is something Barry Jenkins and Lulu Wang are all too familiar with. (If you haven’t seen Moonlight or The Farewell yet, what are you doing? If you are ok with a few spoilers, keep on reading!)
If you are a film fact nerd, you may already know about this scene in Moonlight. One of the most touching scenes is when Juan (played by Mahershala Ali) teaches Little how to swim. A storm was rolling in on the day they filmed and they only had about 45 minutes of good weather and lighting to work with. That moment was a gorgeous piece of directing, acting and cinematography in the entire film — and it all happened so quickly. Lulu uses this as an example all the time when people ask her about magical moments on set. She had read about it somewhere before they even started dating. It is the moment she brings up on set when her crew is feeling down about something and shows them the possibilities of magical moments like that and how hopefully they should be of the outcome.
Lulu Wang has also experienced a happy accident, like her partner Barry, on the set of her second feature film The Farewell. The film takes place in China and was primarily shot there as well. They were shooting the hospital scenes from the beginning of the film. On just a typical day of filming, they were shut down and told they didn’t have the correct permits (they did have the correct permits). They were asked if they were filming propaganda materials and forced to show the dailies to prove that they weren’t. When they showed the 20 minutes of footage they had from the hours of work that day, they were yet again accused of hiding propaganda materials because why did many hours of work only output 20 minutes of content? They eventually got shut down but were allowed to return later to continue filming in a different section of the hospital. They had to re-scout the location to find places to film. If none of this had happened to lead them to re-scouting the hospital, they would have never known the painting that is the opening shot of the film existed.
Previously, Dodge College had hosted two individual master classes with Barry and Lulu on zoom, each of them photobombing the others. It was an honor to have them both in person together for a live master class on April 8!