From the Episode: Playing with Power

Above the Sea

| March 10, 2015

Columbia University / 2013 / 16 minutes / Mandarin with English subtitles / Color

“Eight saintly daughters are not equal to a boy with a limp.”

Often called “The Paris of the East,” 1930s Shanghai was a cosmopolitan port city with a seedy underbelly of crime and corruption. Sex worker Fei knows this all too well. At the Sea of Pearls night club and brothel, she is tasked with preparing a young newcomer, Li, for an encounter with a French police officer. When the situation spirals out of control, Fei has nowhere to turn.

Written and directed by Keola Racela. The film won Gold Medal at the 2014 Student Academy Award for Best Narrative Short. Principal cast: Lu Zhang, Kungqi Cao, Meng Zhang and Patrick Baboulin.

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Meet the Filmmaker:

Keola Racela

Keola Racela

Read more about Keola Racela, the director of Above the Sea.

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Film School Shorts is made possible by a grant from Maurice Kanbar, celebrating the vitality and power of the moving image, and by the members of KQED.

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Series Producer
Lisa Landi

Associate Producer
Julia Shackelford

Peter Borg

Zaldy Serrano
Christina Zee White

Original Music
Written and Produced by

John Andrieni

Kevin Cooke
Marie K Lee

Social Media Specialist
Aldo Mora-Blanco

Sarah Hoffner

On Air Promotion
Bridget Louie

William Lowery
Abby Staeble

Director of TV Production
Sandy Schonning

Executive Producer
Scott Dwyer