Iris Prize Shorts 2021


This highly personal documentary captures moments in the life of Chinese-American filmmaker Will Zang, at the height of the pandemic. With jobs thin on the ground and the (former) president calling Covid-19 the “China Virus”, he contemplates leaving his life in the US and returning to his family.


Will Zang


Will Zang


Will Zang



USA, 4 Minutes

The COVID-19 pandemic changes and destroys everything in daily life, and people would not be able to enjoy movies with friends in the theatre for a long while. It applies directly to the arts and film community that filmmakers and art creators would not be able to take any jobs for months or years. Will is a member of the filmmaking community in the San Francisco Bay Area, who is also experiencing the dilemma. As an immigrant from China, he struggles financially in the current US as a filmmaker, but at the same time, he is uncertain about whether he could still be himself if he moves back to China since he is also facing the uprising of racism against immigrants and Asians in the US. THE LEAF is a personal poetic hybrid documentary film about a filmmaker’s dilemma as both a filmmaker and a gay immigrant during this pandemic.


Born in Beijing, China, William Jian Zang started exploring his filmmaking career in the US in 2013, while he was attending the film program at the San Francisco Art Institute. Mr. Zang explores American popular culture in his filmmaking and often includes LGBTQ themes. He has worked on multiple high profile documentaries, including The Fabulous Allan Carr, The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, and Unsettled: Seeking Refugee in America. His own directing works have been screened at film festivals worldwide. In 2019, he produced and directed the short documentary film Dress Up Like Mrs. Doubtfire. The film has been shown at film festivals internationally, including Frameline Film Festival, Inside Out Toronto Film Festival, and BFI Flare Film Festival. It proudly won the Audience Award at the Tampa Bay Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.