Zhang Wei earned millions as an entrepreneur who made video intercom doorbell systems in Shenzhen, China. In 2006, things changed in a big way.
That’s when Zhang sold his company and started studying filmmaking. Today, the 49-year-old is a director who makes socially conscious movies.
As explained in this article, Zhang’s latest film is about the exploitation of Chinese assembly line workers, a subject rarely touched by China’s filmmakers. In “Factory Boss,” the owner of a toy company struggles to hold his business and himself together as he comes under intense pressure from local competitors, his workers, the media, officials and his own family.
“Factory Boss” is Zhang’s third movie. His first two, “Beijing Dream (2010) and “Shadow Monologue” (2011), also reflect his concern for social issues.
Unlike his earlier business, Zhang’s self-bankrolled movie career hasn’t been a money maker. But he doesn’t seem concerned with achieving commercial success or recognition. He has plans for several other films, including one about an autistic youth.
“I want to do stories that others won’t do,” Zhang says in the article. “Once I’m done with a film, I want to move on to the next one. I’ve started working on films only in middle age and I want to make as many as I can.”