A Policeman's Micro-film Dream
Today, Zhang Hanchao and his team are shooting the most exciting scene of the entire movie - the apprehension of a thief.
Zhang graduated from the Hangzhou Police Academy in 2012 and returned to his hometown of Kaihua to serve as a police officer.
During his time at school, Zhang always dreamt of solving all sorts of complicated criminal cases and becoming the hero of his hometown. But the young man soon realized that the reality of police work at the grassroots level was different from what he had previously imagined.
Kaihua is located in the westernmost part of Zhejiang and is the source of the Qiantang River. The tiny county with a population of 340-thoudand is famous for its picturesque natural beauty and simple, unspoiled lifestyle.
The local people are so kind-hearted and law-abiding that police here generally deal with trivial cases in their routine work, such as neighborhood disputes, conflicts between couples and drunken brawls. Seldom, if ever, do they encounter more serious cases like murder or rape.
Zhang always liked to watch movies, so he decided to make a short film on his own in an attempt to help people better understand his fellow cops.
Zhang Hanchao says all the story lines in his film are based on real life, so this is more of a documentary than a fictional movie.
All the cast and crew working on the film are Zhang's colleagues and friends, and they agreed to be in the movie without pay. The crew helped make the movie in their spare time, but that doesn't mean they took the film light-heartedly. For instance, one particular scene needed 20 takes before they got it right. It reinforced the belief that amateur filmmakers have to work hard if they wish to achieve a relatively high standard in their work.
As for producer and director Zhang Hanchao, he put almost all his savings into this film project.
"Arranging my time between work and film shooting is the most difficult part. As you know, work in a police station can be very engaging; I dying for a good night's sleep after a whole day's work. Now that I have put my mind into making this short film, I have to put all my energy and effort into making it a good one. I hope that the average citizens can get a thorough understanding of us in uniform, and get to know the unseen sides of our job."
Since it's a police film, all the vehicles and equipment needed to be authentic. Zhang said that all the police wagons appearing in his film were borrowed from the local police station under the approval of higher authorities.
Wang Hongcheng is the director of the police station where Zhang Hanchao works. He says Zhang's short film project deserves their full backing.
"Shooting the short film is a good way to enhance solidarity and cooperation between our young police officers. Meanwhile, the viewers would have a better understanding of us policeman working at the grassroots level."
Zhang Hanchao says solving serious criminal cases and being a hero can be one aspect of the police work, but the reality is that policemen are more likely to be confronted with matters more commonly seen in daily life.
In Zhang's words, it is the process of handling these small and trivial tasks that help these officers grow into "towering trees" that can shelter society.
At this moment, Zhang is busy editing the short film. We'll just have to wait to see what happens in "One Day of Uncle Zhang's Life".