THE FLIP SIDE

A documentary short about the artistic coming-of-age of a Chinese circus artist who leaves home at 9 to train and goes on to perform with Cirque du Soleil and other contemporary circus troupes.

Daqi spends his childhood training at an elite state-run circus academy. But after he ascends to the zenith of the Chinese circus world, he finds himself restless for more, so he leaves his stable “iron rice bowl” job to perform in a Cirque du Soleil production, Dralion. He possesses extraordinary technical skills but he has a difficult journey ahead of him to develop the expressive power of an artist.

Unbeknownst to him, he is on a collision course with Shana Carroll, a trapeze star who begins with the ragamuffin San Francisco circus troupe the Pickle Family Circus, where she trains with a Chinese coach and even marries the coach’s Chinese protégé. After a stint with Cirque du Soleil, she will leave to found her own circus troupe, 7 Fingers, whose intimate circus shows are based on the stories of the artists themselves.

The story is told in alternating sections between Daqi and Carroll and together their stories tell of the increasingly globalized circus world, where disparate people and acrobatic cultures come together, clash, and ultimately transform each other.

The documentary short is currently on the festival circuit.