Apple celebrates Chinese New Year with a film about identity

Shot on iPhone, Apple welcomes the Year of the Dragon by telling the story of a young girl with the ability to shapeshift in a short created by TBWA\Media Arts Lab Shanghai

For seven years now Apple has celebrated Chinese New Year with a Shot on iPhone film. Previously these shorts have centred around themes of home, family, and reunions.

This year, for the Year of the Dragon, the film features family bonds but also tells the story of a young girl called Wei on a journey of “self-discovery in pursuit of life in the modern world”.

Titled Little Garlic (Wei’s nickname from her grandpa), the 15-minute short was created by TBWA\Media Arts Lab Shanghai. We follow the protagonist from childhood through to young adulthood, and see her grapple with insecurity and her sense of identity, all of which is compounded by her ability to shapeshift and change age, gender, and personality, seemingly at will.

A looming presence is also social media and the hunt for likes and follows. The idea for the film was to tap into the fears and pressures felt by Gen Z in China, but also the world over.

While the film has a blockbuster director in Marc Webb, who was behind 500 Days of Summer and The Amazing Spider-Man, the film also taps into emerging talent, including Cecile Zhang as director of photography and art director Li Anran.

Key features of the iPhone 15 Pro Max have been utilised for the filming of the short, such as the phone’s 5x optical zoom, Action mode and Cinematic mode.

Agency: TBWA\Media Arts Lab Shanghai
Production: Radical (US), M Production (Shanghai)
Director: Marc Webb
Screenwriter: Pan Yiran
Art Director: Li Anran
Director of Photography: Cecile Zhang
Music: Varqa Buehrer