7-10 OCTOBER 2023
Asian Project Market

2023 Project

The Botanist in the White House Director JING Yi Country/Region China
  • Producer SHAN Zuolong, QI Ai
  • Writer JING Yi
  • Shooting Format 4K  |  color  |  90min
  • Genre Drama, Romance, Fantasy
  • Project Status Financing, Pre-production
  • Goals at APM Financing, Co-production, Pre-sales, Distribution, International Sales, Festival Strategy
  • Total Budget USD 795,757
  • Financing in Place USD 477,454


Set in the valley and savannah near the Sino-Kazakhstan border, the film is a nostalgic botany love letter dedicated to a Han girl by a plant-obsessed Kazakh boy.


Living close to the Chinese border with Kazakhstan in northern Xinjiang, a lonely Kazakh boy Arsin is obsessed with plants in the valley and savannah. He thinks of himself as a plant and all other plants as friends. One day, a Han girl Meiyu comes into his life. Elusive Meiyu is like a submerged plant completely unknown to Arsin. He tells Meiyu about his nomadic family memories through plants, and a hazy romance starts to grow. But an undercurrent of tension is changing their life, turning those good old days into a sleep walking lost in the plant world.

Director's Statement

With regards to spatio-temporality, I want to create a fantasy-like world in which plants and human beings are interconnected and inseparable. The Kazakh boy’s nomadic memories of maternal grandpa, uncle and cousin are revived in different stages of his eternal life. These memories bridge the communication gap between the boy and girl, and plants are the soul of their relationship.
As for the visual approaching, I would like to use the weather change as a hint of the Kazakh boy’s state of mind. It is bright in Xinjiang’s valley and savannah even on a cloudy day. Being bright yet melancholic, the boy’s memory is like a vine that thrives in the dark.

Producer's Statement

The best debut films balance a unique and identifiable artistic form with a credible and solid narrative structure, carrying the director′s singular core that only they can tell. A successful debut film exudes confidence, freedom and courage. And once completed, these works will have a certain quality that can immediately captivate you.
Upon reading Jing Yi′s treatment for the first time, I felt a familiar excitement. It is a nostalgic love story intertwined with botany, following the journey of a young lonely Kazakh boy while exploring the destiny of the Kazakh people. The director intends to present the story in an artistic manner through the effective use of mise-en-scène (and magical realism), creating a captivating connection between human beings and diverse plant life.

Director's Profile


Jing Yi, born in 1994 and raised in Xinjiang, graduated from Beijing Film Academy. His first feature film project The Botanist in the White House (in Kazakh), is currently in pre-production. He has previously written and directed several short films including Manlika (in Uyghur, 2021), You Are Still a Calm Bride (in Chinese, 2021), Bek (in Kazakh, 2020), and The Bus Driver (in Xibe, 2019). His works often focus on the mental world of minority groups in contemporary China.

Producer's Profile

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Shan Zuolong is a Chinese film producer. His producing credits include Bi Gan’s directorial debut Kaili Blues (Bi Gan, 2015) which was selected at Locarno Film Festival 2015, and his second feature Long Day′s Journey into Night (Bi Gan, 2018) which was selected at Cannes Film Festival 2018, also include Taiwanese actor-turned-director Lee Hong-chi’s first feature Love Is A Gun (Lee Hong-chi, 2023) which was selected at Critics’ Week of Venice International Film Festival 2023; He has served as the executive producer for The Water Murmurs (Story Chen, 2022) which won the Short Film Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival 2022; He is now co-producing Gu Xiaogang′s second feature Dwelling by the West Lake (Gu Xiaogang) currently in post-production.

Qi Ai is a young Chinese film producer. Her producing/co-producing credits or productions involved in include The Fruit (Li Dongmei) currently in post-production, Love Is A Gun (Lee Hong-chi, 2023) which was selected at Critics’ Week of Venice International Film Festival 2023, Absence (Wu Lang, 2023) which was selected at Encounters of Berlin International Film Festival 2023, Love, My Way (Liu Bing, 2023) which was selected at Shanghai International Film Festival 2023.