'Finding Yingying': Release date, plot, trailer and all you need to know about docu on brutally-slain student

Yingying Zhang was abducted and brutally murdered in 2017, and her body is yet to be found

                            'Finding Yingying': Release date, plot, trailer and all you need to know about docu on brutally-slain student
'Finding Yingying' (Kartemquin Films)

In June 2017, Yingying Zhang, a visiting Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign who was studying agriculture went missing. The search for her continued for days, but the identity of her killer would not be revealed until weeks later. During a memorial walk for Zhang, a local resident, Brendt Allen Christensen, told his girlfriend that he killed Zhang — choking her, beating her with a baseball bat, stabbing her, and ultimately decapitating her.

Christensen lured Zhang into his car at a bus stop on campus with the promise of a ride after she missed a bus but then took her to his apartment where he raped and murdered her while his wife was out of town for the weekend. He also bragged to his girlfriend that he was a serial killer and that Zhang was his thirteenth victim, but investigators were unable to find any other victim and doubted this claim.

Zhang's former classmate, Jiayan “Jenny” Shi began making a documentary about the Zhang family’s search for their missing daughter. The documentary, 'Finding Yingying' is available in virtual cinemas in December. Read on to know more details about the documentary.

Release date

'Finding Yingying' is available in virtual cinemas on December 11. Details for booking can be found here.


Yingying Zhang, a 26-year-old Chinese student, comes to the US to study. In her detailed and beautiful diaries, the aspiring young scientist and teacher is full of optimism, hoping to also be married and a mother someday. Within weeks of her arrival, Zhang disappears from the campus. Through exclusive access to Zhang’s family and boyfriend, 'Finding Yingying' closely follows their journey as they search to unravel the mystery of her disappearance and seek justice while navigating a strange, foreign country. But most of all, 'Finding Yingying' is the story of who Zhang was: a talented young woman loved by her family and friends.


Jiayan “Jenny” Shi

Jiayan “Jenny” Shi is a Chicago-based documentary filmmaker and video journalist who is passionate about social justice issues regarding people of color. She shoots, edits, and produces video stories and short documentaries about immigration, race and crime in Chicago for multiple outlets. She is also working on several projects as a researcher, digital content editor, and translator including the ITVS co-produced web series 'Pulling The Thread' and the 2020 Academy Award-winning Higher Ground Netflix film, 'American Factory'.


Diane Quon

Diane Quon is an Academy Award-nominated producer who worked as a marketing executive at NBC and Paramount Pictures before moving back to Chicago. Quon has produced the Kartemquin Films documentaries: Oscar/Emmy nominated, Peabody/Sundance award-winner 'Minding the Gap', directed by Bing Liu; 'For the Left Hand' with Chicago Tribune arts critic Howard Reich, and co-directed by Leslie Simmer and Gordon Quinn; and 'The Dilemma of Desire' with Peabody Award-winning director Maria Finitzo.


There is no trailer for 'Finding Yingying' available yet but keep watching this space for future updates.

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