The Global Search for Education: Morning M. Wu Discusses the Importance of Belonging

This month audiences can stream To the Highest Point Near the Sun on the Planet Classroom Network.

To The Highest Point Near The Sun is an animated short film by Director Morning M. Wu. This beautiful film portrays a journey and a never-ending search for belonging. The poignant story is pieced together by its creator with artworks and computer animations made from 2010 to 2020. There are over 800 drawings, including 300 photos taken in California, Paris and China. It is a voyage through time and a search to explore what it means to belong.

The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Morning M. Wu

Morning, what inspired the initial phases of this short film?

The rough idea for Near The Sun came to me at the end of 2019. I was at a point where I wasn’t sure where to go, and I felt stuck both in life and creativity — for a long while. Then one night as I walked home, I looked up at the sky, and my eyes were filled with all the stars. In the moment I felt so, so small, and that all my problems did not matter in front of the hundreds of thousands of years of starlight. Do you know that we are actually looking into the past when we look at the celestial bodies? Their light took years to reach our eyes. Near The Sun was inspired by that, to bridge my past and present.

Did you always anticipate using such a variety of art techniques, from collage paintings to real video footage? What was the experience like?

My method for making a short film varies from project to project, but my creative process stays the same mostly. I would usually see a visual in my head first, then an idea follows, and then I’ll find out what mediums and techniques fit the story. For Near The Sun specifically, the concept was calling for such a variety. It’s really more like an adventurous journey, where I venture towards the destination without a map. I know my direction but I won’t know what my route looks like exactly until I reach the destination.

The feeling of belonging and wanting to belong is so extraordinarily human. What made you want to focus on this? Is this something you can relate to?

Feeling you don’t belong is one of the worst yet perhaps one of the most frequent experiences we all have. Personally, I have been struggling with it practically since my first memories. As a highly sensitive introvert adapting to a different culture as a kid, there were very few places and occasions that I felt at home with. Luckily, immersing myself in creativity is one of my happy places.

With regards to how significantly life has changed since 2020, how does this short film speak to individuals who have been affected by the constant challenges of the pandemic?

The pandemic has made isolation a norm. It’s hard, but just knowing that I’m not alone in feeling lonely, feeling lost, and feeling I don’t belong, helps. I hope this knowledge will bring others comfort and a sense of belonging — even if just a little.

Thank you Morning!

C.M. Rubin and Morning M. Wu

Don’t Miss To the Highest Point Near the Sun, now streaming on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated by Planet Classroom.

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