Born and raised in Shanghai China, Meibei Liu has since lived all over the world. She loves to travel and does so frequently for both business and pleasure. Her experiences staying in different cities and countries gave her a passion for storytelling. She was constantly exposed to different lifestyles, beliefs and ways of viewing the world. She was influenced by the diversity and inspired by the people, and decided to dedicate her life to capturing their lives. This is when filmmaking became the obvious choice for her. She aims to make films that can travel all over the world and move all audiences, no matter where they are from. As an esteemed editor, she has achieved this goal.
Currently, Meibei is working on two documentaries, one that takes place in China, and the other in the United States. Previously, she has worked on several acclaimed films, like The Ballerina, The Shoemaker, and His Apprentice, Headshot, Pumpkin and Fried Noodle, and Faith Need Not Change Her Gown, all of which have been seen by audiences around the world. This pattern continued with her recent film Dear Mamá.
Dear Mamá tells the story of a young man’s journey to re-enter society after incarceration. The film was produced in partnership with The Flintridge Center, a non-profit that creates opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals to become contributing and self-sufficient community members, creating opportunities for people who are at risk in the cycle of poverty and violence. The film follows a man writing a letter to his mother, but the letter is written in reverse, the pencil point erasing the words, symbolizing the redemption.
“The story really spoke to me. As the only child in my family, the connection of family members is really strong, and I felt sorry for the man who lost this connection. This made me believe that I could tell the story better. I also see how people get judged in society by their past experiences. Making the film, I believed we could help people by getting to know what they are really like, and what they want to be, and help people get rid of their prejudgment. This is an important story, and one that I was and still am very interested in” said Meibei.
The film premiered in November 2017 at the Big Heart, Small Film Competition where it was the Gold Prize Winner. Judges included Steven Spielberg, D.J.Caruso, John Lee Hancock, Don Hahn, Denise Mann, Dominic Ng, Wei Zhang, and Billy Zane, who was particularly impressed by Dear Mamá.
“I was really happy that people recognized our work, which means the time we spent on the project was deserved. I feel that if I believe in something, then I should fight for it. If people have questions about the decision you made, you should not easily discount what you have done. You should think about the reason behind the doubts from other people and the solution to make it better. This project exemplifies that. I’m glad that it all worked out at the end,” said Meibei.
When Meibei began editing in post-production, she thought of the emotional flow and rhythm, which is always what she focuses on when working on a film. The reverse action, experimental aspect of the film provided some challenges, but the character’s emotions were still at the forefront for the editor. After finishing the first cut, she realized that they needed a climax and also a way for the audience to understand the film better. She suggested adding a sequential quick cut section at the end, opposed to the reserve actions up front, to create more tension and help the audience to understand the story better. At first, the director, Jiayuan Liu, was hesitant about the suggestion, but they still made the cut to see how it would look. After watching, they knew Meibei had discovered the missing piece of the puzzle for the film to be a success. The sequential flashback scene enhances the story and creates a greater connection with the audience.
“I love working with Meibei. She brings so many creative ideas to a project. She is creative, energetic and easy to work with. She not only has a precise understanding of what the story is, but also has a unique sense of artistry. Her editing brings the character’s emotion to the spot light. What I like best about working with her is that she respects the script, but will also bring her creative thinking. The industry needs more talented young females like her. She is willing to put herself as the character when editing, to expose her vulnerability to the film. That’s why when audiences watch her edited film, they have a very strong connection to the story. She pays high attention to details, which shows her professionalism. She is passionate about storytelling. She is a rare talent,” said Jiayuan Liu, Director.
Above all else, working with the non-profit organization The Flintridge Center was Meibei’s greatest motivation when working on Dear Mamá. The editor knows film has the power to change lives, and she truly believes that this project will help its audience change their point of view on people who have been released from jail.
“They deserve a second chance,” she concluded.