Director/writer Jiaqi Lin received tremendous attention and accolades for her 2014 film The Red House. This drama told the story of a twenty-five-year-old prostitute in early 1900s China who spends her life working toward her own freedom only to sacrifice it for another. The Red House was showered with nominations and awards from festivals such as the Palm Spring International Film Festival, Rhode Island International Film Festival, Cine Gear Expo, and numerous others. Soon to be released is Lin’s latest offering titled Veil of Dreams, which is already receiving great word of mouth in the industry. The film industry operates on a much more global scale these days and artists like Jiaqi become noticed the world over for a perspective that possesses a universal human experience. While it takes place in the Pairs, Veil of Dreams has no cultural boundaries…like the talent of its director.
The film stars Cary Woodworth (of FX’s Golden Globe nominated Louie and Golden Globe winning Jerry Bruckheimer Television production Without a Trace) as Ray Anderson, an LA man travelling the world as he retraces his ex- girlfriend’s journey. Ray wants to get a sense of what she went through. In Paris he meets another LA resident, Daphne (played by Lily Bloom). Oddly, Ray and Daphne keep showing up at the same places along this journey. Upon returning home to Southern California, Ray is still reminded of the past. Eventually, with the help of Ray’s close friend Mei (played by LeAnn Lei of Fox Network’s two-time Primetime Emmy nominated series Bones and ABC’s four-time Primetime Emmy Nominated Castle), Ray finds out a big secret and is finally able to face something that he had been avoiding for a long time.
The enchanting European vistas in the film are actually that of California itself; specifically, Slovang and Riverside (a favored filming destination in Hollywood for a European aesthetic). While the locations set an appropriate backdrop, Veil of Dreams is most definitely a character driven story. Director Jiaqi Lin confirms that she focused on sculpting the two leads with the talented actors in this character driven film. Jiaqi is known for her interaction with actors on her films, in particular for her desire to set the emotional atmosphere for them. She expounds, “It’s really important for actors to get something back in a scene. They need to be fed something that they can play with. Acting is a symbiotic relationship. When an actor gives more to the other actor, they both perform better. That’s because they need the reactions from the other character. Sometimes it’s the other characters in the same scene and sometimes it’s the director. If the director is throwing something good to the actor, not only can it help the actor get into the emotional place quickly but the director will also receive a good performance from the actor…which is the goal. A good director doesn’t force this but creates a place for this performance to grow. I remember there was one scene in this film in which Cary’s character Ray was lost in both the city and in his progress finding his ex-girlfriend. The scene just wasn’t coming out properly. It was a late night exterior scene. I needed to help Cary get to that emotional place so I cleared everyone and left him standing five-hundred feet away from everyone by himself in the middle of the city on the street with no one else around. He immediately felt the loneliness and separation and delivered and amazing performance. This is one of the favorite parts of being a director for me; making it intuitive for an actor to access what’s already there in an honest way.”
Veil of Dreams is soon to be released and the rumors of its greatness have already been murmured about in the film community. While Jiaqi Lin concedes that she’d be happy to see this film get the same attention that The Red House received, she notes that every film for her is part of the growing process and therefore important to her regardless of its notoriety. Fans of her previous film are anxiously awaiting what is expected to be another intense and entertaining story from a director being closely watched by the industry and fans alike.