In 2020, a cop and a detective found a doctor killed on rooftop in Chinatown. They locked the crime scene waiting for investigator and other police officers; however, after a while, they got no reinforcement because there were more unknown deaths reported. Police chief called the detective for a secret mission. This is the story of the film of Tye Liu. He Graduated from Emerson Collage, Boston in 2020. Tye is an active producer and director in the indie film industry. We spoke to Tye Liu about his recent film.
How did you start making films and what was the first film project you worked on?
I am still learning how to make films by working on different roles, such as actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. I am growing up with my films and I am switching among those different roles at will.
As a producer, my first released film is Hawaii (2020), directed by Miaomiao Liu, a story about two Chinese restaurant servants.
As a director, my first screened project is Dream of Kuma (2016), a story about a bunch of graduating highschoolers.
What genre of filmmaking fascinates you as a filmmaker and why?
Crime and Drama. Those express highly personal ideas and show certain condensed archetypes while different groups of people experience mental conflicts and physical confrontations.
What is the most challenging aspect of being an independent filmmaker in the film industry?
As an international indie filmmaker in the U.S, staying is one of the major aspects. It is getting harder to work with people from foreign countries, particularly in 2020. Opportunities are vital. We either leave the country or stay in the business. Only the extraordinaries have the choice and many have to be compromised. I have already chosen my road and I haven't defeated it yet.
How difficult is it to fund indie films?
It was so hard before we were having sponsors and investors.
We tried “Indiegogo” and other funding websites; to be honest, most of that money came from relatives, friends and we-called “the passing angels.”
Mostly, our daily job is to feed our dreams and ourselves at the same time. For instance, we shoot commercials to make a living, and then we use the cash to “feed” a short film, to attend a festival, and to pitch for a feature.
Please name three of your most favorite directors. How have they been influential in your work?
Guillermo del Toro, Tom Tykwer, Jiang Wen; they are masters of myth and metaphors. As international filmmakers, del Toro and Tom Tykwe enlighten me on the way to connect different cultures and mythologies. Jiang Wen shows me a really interesting way of telling stories.
What inspired you to work on Chinatown:Keep Out and how did the film go into production?
When people feel disappointed and upset about 2020, they are receiving many “negative news” with lies and blames. Innocent people are getting in the neck. Different groups in the U.S are armed to protect themselves. The cycle of fear and violence seems to be endless.
I am a big fan of detective stories and film noir. The story is obviously inspired by Chinatown. I love Chinatown; however, when I first saw the ending scene, “the screaming girl,” “hustle and bustle,” and “the silent Chinese witnesses” portrayed in the movie, I felt very uncomfortable. "Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
When women and minorities are treated with indifference, the passerby are sleeping. We don’t need a “BANG” to wake up people; we need more “whistles.”
I want to use this movie to express an idea: in reality, it is not a strange desire to seek political power in order to fight for equality and liberty.
How did you find the cast and the crew of the film? Tell us more about the production of the film and working on the set of the film to create this feature.
Most of my talents are from local boston. Thanks to my actress and actors from Boston WSM talents. My friends and I usually work in the same team and switch roles for each other’s project.
Luckly, we were able to establish Easyfind Pictures in early summer. It is a Asian film company located in Arcadia, California. Now we are literally getting close to people in Hollywood. lol~
What do you recommend to other filmmakers regarding the distribution of independent feature films?
Always look forward to making connections and having exposures.
Always to be confident to explore unique stories and IPs.
What is your next film project and what are you currently working on?
I am currently working on two Asian-American feature films, which will be released around 2021-2022. Grandpa’s Lighthouse by Frank Gao (Gao Feng) is a warm story. Bartender Nose will be my first feature. Unlike Crazy Rich Asians, those movies are based on real stories. The final deliveries are targeting the big three festivals.
Why do you make films?
Living in LA is so expensive. My D.P and I live in a double room to save money. We go out for work around 9:00 AM and come back home around 10:00 PM. Everyday is like having a trip and every night is like sleeping in a two-bed hotel room. (PS. my work wife can’t stop snoring)
Although it's not a very secure way to make money, making films is always a happy journey. One day I am retired, I wish I could have a bar; then I would be proud to be the bartender, serving the cocktails and screening my own films. That would be beautiful~