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CB Yi (* in the 20th century in the People's Republic of China as Bo Cheng ) is an Austrian film director and screenwriter of Chinese origin. He gained international fame with his award-winning feature film debut Moneyboys (2021).


CB Yi, a stage name, was born Bo Cheng and grew up in a fishing village in southern China. As a teenager he followed his father to Austria. He sought a reunion with his homeland by studying Sinology at the University of Vienna . He later studied directing at the Vienna Film Academy . There he counted director Michael Haneke and cameraman Christian Berger among his mentors. During his studies, Yi watched Japanese, Chinese and European films. He himself states that he is "more of a visual person" who can deal better with cinematic language than with spoken language.

Due to his migration background, he was socialized by different cultures and considers himself a "good observer of both worlds".

CB Yi lives in Vienna . He appreciates Taiwanese Hou Hsiao-Hsien 's films , which remind him of his childhood.


After several short films in the documentary and feature film fields in the 2000s, Yi made his feature film debut as a director and screenwriter with Moneyboys (2021). A previous project, a youth film in Austria with European characters, failed after two years of preparation. He became aware of the issue of prostitution among Chinese men in 2003 during an exchange year at the film academy in Beijing . There he had wanted to learn Chinese. A fellow student of Yi's had looked for a " sugar daddy " there in order to be able to pay his mother's hospital fees. The filmmaker then found out that there were many young men in China who engaged in prostitution and sacrificed themselves for their families. Yi was able to make contacts through a scholar and an official representative of the Chinese LGBT Q community. He quickly rejected the first idea of ​​making an artistic documentary film in the style of Ulrich Seidl because the possible consequences for the interview partners could not be foreseen. Yi then switched to fictional form, which gave him more freedom.

For practical reasons, Yi rescheduled seven months before shooting began and decided to move to Taipei , Taiwan, since homosexuality is not forbidden in mainland China , but is treated as taboo. A two-year casting in China had preceded it, but actors had dropped out after commitments. According to Yi, hiring Taiwanese actors would not have been possible because the audience would have noticed the language difference immediately. For pragmatic reasons, the Chinese actress Zeng Meihuizi took on three roles in Yi's film.

The fictional drama about a young gay Chinese man (portrayed by Kai Ko ) who moves to the city in order to be sexually available to rich men premiered in the Un Certain Regard side section of the 74th Cannes Film Festival. A year later, Yi competed with his diploma film in the Max Ophüls Preis film festival competition . There Moneyboys won the awards for Best Feature Film, Best Screenplay and the Ecumenical Jury Prize .

Moneyboys is planned by Yi as the first part of a thematically linked trilogy. Each subsequent film is said to be further removed from China than the previous one. The screenplay for the second part Purelands , which is to take place in Paris, has already been completed. The plot centers on a French-Austrian student who wants to protect a group of female prostitutes from northern China. The third part is set to take place in the 1960s, oscillating back and forth between Paris and other international locations outside of China. Yi wrote two other screenplays for big-budget sci-fi films.


  • 2006: Chado (Short Documentary)
  • 2009: Breaking Roo-Tiles with One's Head (Short Documentary)
  • 2009: The Couple (short film)
  • 2009: Alian in a Hotel Room (short film)
  • 2011: Little Precious (short film)
  • 2021: Money Boys


web links


  1. a b c d "Cinematically, I feel at home everywhere". In: Kleine Zeitung , January 26, 2022, p. 64.
  2. a b c d e Andrey Arnold: Sex in the City, Morality in the Village . In: Die Presse , January 21, 2022, p. 24.
  3. a b Bert Rebhandl: City, country and gay love . In: Der Standard , January 18, 2022, p. 23.
  4. Moneyboys . In: ffmop.de (accessed on January 26, 2022).
  5. a b Rebecca Davis: 'Moneyboys' Director CB Yi Balances Gay Love Story Between China and Taiwan . In: variety.com, 21 July 2021 (accessed 26 January 2022).
  6. The award winners 2022 . In: ffmop.de (accessed on January 26, 2022).