Global skincare brand SK-II (www.sk-ii.com) premiered an online documentary film earlier this year that further broaches the topic of marriage pressure of single women worldwide. Meet Me Halfway is an extension of SK-II’s ongoing #changedestiny philosophy and follows the real-life stories of three young, single, Chinese women who bravely reached out to their parents after years of avoiding them due to marriage pressure. By sharing their stories and listening with an open mind, both sides meet on mutual ground with a sense of understanding and unexpected liberation.
The film was viewed more than 18 million times in the first 24 hours and has sparked a massive social conversation in China’s social networks. Millions of young single women in China experience a disconnect from their parents, citing marriage pressure as one of the top reasons. Many find themselves having to choose between living up to their parents and society’s expectations and timelines of marriage and their own dreams and aspirations. Avoiding Chinese New Year has become a growing phenomenon among young single Chinese women as a result.
The film takes viewers to the heart of the matter, candidly showing the women’s first attempts of opening up to their parents about their lives and the marriage pressure they have been dealing with. Through meeting halfway, both literally and figuratively, daughters begin to see their parents in a different light and come to the realization that the questions from their parents causing their burden were coming from a place of love and genuine care.
SK-II hopes to provide a platform where mutual understanding can be achieved to empower women to make their own choice on their own time.
According to Floyd Russ, director for Tool of North America, preparation for a project like this was all in the casting process.
“It was important to have flexibility to learn from each woman and her parents, crafting the scenes and locations, and at the same time building trust so they open up in front of camera and in their letters,” says Russ. “We actually shaped a lot of the shoot during the casting. For example, the letters were something that did not exist until a week before the shoot, because some of the talent suggested that writing letters would be a great way to reach their parents and actually convince them to meet. Our edit is a product of that preparation. We had a structure in mind, but organically filled it with the best moments of the shoot. The mixture of honest portrayals and emotion, combined with photographic portraits that capture their lives and energy is something that the editor, Isaac Chen, brought to life beautifully.”
The production shot with an Arri Alexa Mini, which Russ says is both lightweight while offering a huge level of dynamic range and yet still resembling film.
“This type of shoot would never be possible without an amazing local Chinese team,” Russ notes. “PIG Productions and their producer, Jacqui, as well as her entire team, are not just an organizational force, but also a creative one. They were our means to communicate with each talent. I bring an open mind and I push the right buttons, but without their guidance, I would be stuck in the mud. This one was especially sensitive because you are asking a lot of two generations, including long distance travel, and really asking them to step outside of their shell and open up. It's not something you can just ask beforehand and practice, it has to happen on-camera.”