Chinese Laundry

A trans-generational South Yorkshire Chinese immigrant experience.
Still from Chinese Laundry by Arthur Loveday



Patricia Zhou


Tala Lee_Turton

Running time

7 minutes

Country / Nationality

United Kingdom

Our Judges say:

A real celebration of the nuance of identify. I loved it.

Hannah Maia

Beautiful movement. "I decided to flip the script" - so powerful.

Simon Taylor

Both a wonderful modern dance film, and an affecting immigration story.

Paul Hodgson Music Judge

A short dance film about a trans-generational British Chinese immigrant experience of trying to fit in. The film retells a story Tala hears from her Chinese family, second generation immigrants from Hong Kong who grew up in South Yorkshire, in a Barnsley takeaway shop. The film is set in a dry cleaners, a business set up by Tala's father when he was her age now, and frequently segues into an escapist dreamscape in the expansive vastness of the Peak District. This reflects the cyclical banality and frustration experienced from within the daily grind of the dry cleaners, contrasting with aspirations to feel freely Chinese and British and part of the richness that is the surrounding geography. Chinese Laundry seeks to share its immigrant story as one of many in a fantastical visual celebration of multifaceted South Yorkshire life. It explores the act of listening to stories passed down through families so that we may carry past generations’ heritage with us. The creative team are young filmmakers who believe that some of the best adventures are unconventional stories that do not often make it onto a screen. The lived experience, portrayed in Chinese Laundry, is a tale about hope and triumph in the face of adversity, formidable and striking like the film's natural South Yorkshire setting. In fact, the entire production was an adventure, shot on a shoestring budget in one day during a very windy February, making the most of the team's sense of urgency that this story should be shared with as many people as possible.

Sustainability Notes:

During the entire process, a green code of conduct was implemented in pre, post and during the production shoot. All correspondence was electronic, reuseable waterbottles and food containers were used by team members, natural lighting was used where possible, public transport or car-share was encouraged when walking or cycling was not possible. The work, itself, is as much a celebration of South Yorkshire's beautiful green spaces as it is about identity- indeed, South Yorkshire identity is intrinsic to the county's natural environment. It is the team's aim to share this beauty amongst wider audiences, promoting respect and care for these incredible natural settings that we are so proud of.