Artist Spotlight: Assistant Director Liv Li
LOS ANGELES – Known for her hands-on approach to filmmaking and presenting unique stories about modern life, Liv Li smiles when she’s asked about her work. It’s her way of sharing the joy she feels helping make cinematic characters come to life.
Serving as assistant director on the upcoming film “As Ye Sow,” Li steps away from her usual producing duties to share her talents on the film drama directed by Seraph Liu (“Song of the Wanderer”). “As Ye Sow” tells a story about a 40-year old loser who lives with his mother suffering Alzheimer finds his salvation in his mother’s unconditional love for him. The film stars Peter FitzSimmons, (“Blindspotting”), newcomer Heather Gold and Ted Harvey (“Heat”).
“I put a lot of energy in pre-production of this film, sitting down with the director to figure out what he wants to accomplish,” she said “It’s essential for me to understand what the most important vision is for the director. Because part of the nature of filmmaking is the art of compromise. When you step on set and realize that there’s limitation of achieving your vision, as a director, you need to be able to make choices to maximum the result towards your goal.”
Having worked on a number of film projects either as producer or assistant director, Li understands the challenges of putting together a film that resonates with the movie-going public. Having grown up with a passion for movies, Li is attracted to films that explore the human condition and have something meaningful to say.
Her appreciation of films and storytelling is not new to Li. It was back in her early days growing up in Beijing that she discovered her passion for films and the unique characters that inhabited those early movies she saw.
“I was fascinated about film since high school. I would watch at least five films a week, but I didn’t specifically dive into any genre,” she recalled. “I would just broadly and massively take in all kinds of films, from French New Waves to Hollywood Classic Musicals, from Ingmar Bergman to Coen Brothers. I just love the feeling of being in “another world” created by someone else.”
She would go on to attend Beijing Information Science & Technology University for a BA degree in English Literature, to help her improve her English skills before moving to the U.S. to pursue her passion – filmmaking. It wasn’t long before Li found herself on the set of a TV commercial as a 2nd assistant director.
She would go on to work on a number of film projects as first assistant director then as producer for a number of films such as “Dog Tag,” “Esperanza,” “All That Glitters,” “Good Friend from the West,” and many others, including the upcoming films “Not for Comedy,” and “Carma,” set for release later this year.
Even as she continues to work on films and television, Li has also become involved in music videos like the recent video for the song “16090” by the synth-pop band Telex Telexs which was shot on location in Thailand.
“The film industry taught me a lot. I learned to always be aware. On-set experiences taught me to always be aware of where I am, what and who is surrounded me and what the set needs to accomplish what we planned,” Li said. “A lot of productions proved Murphy’s law, but awareness is definitely the most important thing to survive and accomplish your goal at the end of the day and to always strive for greater things.”
To learn more about Liv Li, follow her on Instagram at www.instagram.com/PistaLiv.