The power of storytelling with Lili Huang

January 1, 2018

When Lili Huang sits down to write a script, her entire soul awakens. With each stroke of her pen, she gives life to her ideas and she embraces the freedom to express her herself before the world in a way that few other professions allow for. When she begins any project, she envisions what she wants her audiences to feel at the end and she commits herself to ensuring that every single step is taken with care to do those emotions justice along the way. With that, filmmaking becomes a platform for her to connect others culturally, intellectually, and spiritually, and one through which she is devoted to telling meaningful stories in the most creative and compelling fashion possible. Consequently, whether she is screenwriting, directing, producing, editing, or operating a camera, Huang is wholeheartedly dedicated to ensuring that she offers only the highest quality finished products to film lovers across the globe. 

 

“When I look back on my past, I don’t really know exactly when I started to take an interest in filmmaking. I just know that I have always loved watching movies. When I was younger, I remember going to the theatre three or four times a week. Then, as I got older, I started thinking about movies I’d like to make myself. I felt that I have so many thoughts that I want to share and I knew that making movies was the best way to do that. It interests me so much and it’s the most meaningful thing that I can think of to spend my life doing,” noted Huang.

 

In her commitment to sharing meaningful stories with the world, Huang has left her mark on a number of successful, thought-provoking projects. For instance, in 2012, Huang directed, produced, filmed, and edited her hit documentary, Xixi, which follows the everyday life happenings of a woman named Xixi who was born in China, raised in the United States, and moved back to China as a young adult. The film casts a unique light on the struggles of adapting to a familiar, yet relatively unexplored culture and leaves audiences in a position to draw their own conclusions about Xixi’s transition. In another of her more notable films, Mei Mei, Huang tells the fictional story of Mei Mei, a Chinese orphan who was adopted by an American family as an infant. Now in her teenage years, Mei Mei meets Chris, a Chinese boy struggling to make friends in his new, American home. Ultimately, Chris and Mei Mei develop a friendship, bonding through their shared cultural roots, and exploring their own identities together. Despite differing in genre, both Xixi and Mei Mei carry substantial emotional components and challenge viewers to empathize with her characters.

 

Other times, when Huang is not writing and producing her own content, she collaborates with like-minded creatives in the industry. For instance, in 2015, Huang worked on The Bombing, a 3D Chinese feature film. Vincent Toto, who worked closely with Huang on the film, was astounded by her professionalism, as well as her natural affinity for filmmaking. In fact, after working with her, Toto was inspired to watch some of her original concept films and to see how she showcases her ideas before her peers. Like many others who have watched her work, Toto was astounded by her raw expertise.  

 

“After viewing several of her films, I believe that Lili has great talent as a director and producer, and she has a knack for bringing high concept projects to the screen. Her films are very professional and her choice of diverse stories speaks volumes to her multi-cultural background,” said Tote, 3D expert Stereographer.

 

Ironically, however, one of Huang’s most inspirational stories to-date was actually for her first ever film, The Flower of the Future. The Flower of the Future, 2011, is about Mingtian Li, a single dad living with his son and father after being released from prison. Working as a truck driver, he encounters a prostitute, Gaomei, at a small hotel while on the road. Inevitably, the two develop a romantic connection over their shared life experiences and develop a great care for each other. Overall, The Flower of the Future is a story of hope and promise. For that reason, Huang felt passionate about sharing the notion that we, as human beings, need to move past our difficulties and our mistakes in order to pursue our dreams and build a brighter future.

 

Looking back today, Huang recalls the amount of bravery and ambition she had to muster in order to fully commit herself to bringing The Flower of the Future to the big screen. Despite being plagued by budgetary issues, a limited cast and crew, dark and emotional subject matter, difficult filming locations, and more, Huang allowed her passion for the storyline to carry her through from start to finish. It was an extremely tough process, but seeing it come together before the eyes of her audience members made every difficult issue along the way seem irrelevant. In addition, when she was nominated for Best Screenplay at the Golden Panda Awards in China, Huang was over the moon.

 

“You can imagine how happy I was when I was nominated, given that this was the first film I ever created. Even though it seemed like such a hard movie to make at the time, I will never regret doing it. I proved to myself that I am capable of facing and solving complicated problems and situations throughout the entire production process. I’m so glad I did it,” Huang concluded.

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