This award-winning debut by Chicago-based filmmaker Jiayan Shi presents the tragic story of Yingying Zhang, the 26-year-old Chinese student who disappeared from the University of Illinois campus in 2017. In deftly balancing one of the most tragic events to befall Urbana-Champaign, this film humanizes Yingying through her own diary reflections and the perspectives of her family and friends. With exclusive access gained by trust, Shi closely follows the family's journey as they search to unravel the mystery of Yingying's disappearance and seek justice for their daughter, while navigating a strange, foreign country. As an international student herself, Shi knowingly conveys the universal hopes, dreams, and fears of families with loved ones studying abroad.
Jiayan “Jenny” Shi (director, producer, cinematographer) is a Chicago-based documentary filmmaker and video journalist. She shoots, edits, and produces video stories and short documentaries about immigration, race, and crime in Chicago for multiple outlets. She is currently at work on the web series ‘Pulling The Thread.’ She also worked on the 2020 Academy Award–winning Netflix film, ‘American Factory.’ Jenny is a graduate of Kartemquin’s Diverse Voices In Docs program, a TFI Network alum, the winner of the Paley DocPitch Competition 2018, and a fellow of 2020-2021 Women at Sundance | Adobe Fellowship. Jenny was named one of the DOC NYC “40 Under 40” filmmakers.
A discussion with Finding Yingying filmmakers, Jiayan "Jenny" Shi, Brent E. Huffman, and Shilin Sun will be held at 5pm CDT on April 6 (Zoom). A Vimeo link to the film Finding Yingying will be sent by email upon registering for the Filmmaker Discussion.