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'Ashes', the latest work by Jiunxun Jin, is an unique take on classic war documentary tropes, changing the way we look at soldiers.

‘Ashes’, directed by Jiuxun Jin, is the documentary film you need to see

Jiuxun Jin has always been a man interested in telling stories across numerous mediums. Never restricting himself to just one, it paid off well as his latest film, the documentary Ashes, takes all of his skills into one. 

Covering the life of an American soldier and his life serving his country, Ashes isn’t the first time Jin is taking on social and political controversy. No surprise, Jin continues to master the art of sharing emotional and important stories across multiple mediums. 

'Ashes', the latest work by Jiunxun Jin, is an unique take on classic war documentary tropes, changing the way we look at soldiers.

A first person look at Iraq in 2004

Telling the story of Albert, Ashes looks at his career as a soldier, specifically working as an explosive ordnance disposal team member, or bomb squad. From what inspired him to choose such a dangerous path, to his first mission in 2004 in Iraq, to the mental stress of the job, Ashes covers it all.

But this isn’t the end of his career as an EOD either. Shortly after Jin finished filming the documentary, Albert was deployed once again on another mission. At the same time, Albert is also recovering from physical and mental injuries from his most recent mission.

'Ashes', the latest work by Jiunxun Jin, is an unique take on classic war documentary tropes, changing the way we look at soldiers.

Displaying Jin’s work to the world

For years, Jiuxun Jin has been participating in a variety of exhibitions and galleries for years, showing off his work internationally. Getting his start in China, Jin’s work has been displayed and screened in New York, Spain, Philadelphia, and Palm Springs. 

While he does have talents in filmmaking, that isn’t the only medium he creates in. Combining still photography, digital graphic design, animation, sculpting, and drawing, Jin’s work transcends traditional film and becomes something more. 

For example, after realizing he didn’t have enough interviews and clips from Albert to make a full documentary, Jin put his art skills to work. “I decided to use simple animations and moving images to support the visual part, also to match the interviewed content. My background is an art student, and studio practicing was focused on time-based media, this leads me to build an experiment-like visual narrative.” commented Jin. 

'Ashes', the latest work by Jiunxun Jin, is an unique take on classic war documentary tropes, changing the way we look at soldiers.

“More than a war story”

At the end of the day, Ashes is more than just another documentary film covering the reality of soldiers fighting on the frontlines. It shows us what motivates these men to make the decisions they do, and how they’re just like us with a few different life choices. 

Even Jin didn’t realize what he got himself into when he started working on Ashes. “I was quite shocked when I heard his story, everything that happened to him on the battlefield was way more intense than any film and far more beyond my imagination.” 

It’s a unique look at the world of war, and a much more personable look than most war documentaries. Between the story told by Albert and Jin’s unique art skills, Ashes is far more than a war story. “While making this film, I wanted the viewer to experience more than a war story from an EOD veteran, but also review ourselves more deeply in the current circumstance.” 

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