Jamly Yang’s first real love was film. She distinctly remembers the moment she fell in love with the art form, at only eight years old, watching a historical drama. At the time, she was enchanted, but, living in Beijing, China, she was encouraged to explore other avenues for a career, and to keep the movies as a form of entertainment. However, as a teenager, she knew she couldn’t fight her dream any longer, and set out to take over the world of film.
Now, Yang has done just that, as an internationally in-demand producer and director. There is not an element of filmmaking she does not enjoy, and considers herself a constant student of her craft, always open to learning more about this medium she enjoys so much. Every project she works on, from acclaimed films like The Screenwriter in the Restroom and The Milk Tea to the award-winning commercials for Nike and Alpha Browser, Yang’s outstanding touch greatly contributes to their tremendous success.
This was just the case for Yang’s film Billy’s Bear. The award-winning film, which she wrote, directed, and produced, was an instant hit. Premiering at the San Francisco International Film Festival last year, the film went on to make waves on the film festival circuit, taking home seven awards at some of the world’s most prestigious festivals. Yang could not be prouder of what she and her team achieved.
Billy’s Bear tells the story of a couple as they go through a break up. They had an arranged marriage, set up by their parents before they were even born, but as they end their union, things take a dark turn. The tagline of the film is “love can’t be forced.” Yang liked the idea of bringing a cultural tradition from many Eastern countries and writing the story from an American perspective.
“My American friends and I were arguing about our different opinions on marriage. In China, parents play a huge part in our marriage. It is hard for a relationship to work out if any of the parents involved do not agree with it, which is not the case in American culture. This made me wonder what arranged marriage would be like in modern America, so I wrote this script, which turned out to be pretty scary and cool,” said Yang.
When Yang completed the script, she proceeded with doing the director’s breakdown, which was easy as she knew exactly what she wanted to do. Then, she set out in finding the perfect cast and crew. She was thrilled to find the ideal team that knew exactly how to execute her vision.
“I found a small but awesome crew and talented cast. Every single shot was perfect,” she concluded. “The best thing about this project was that the crew were always praying that the shooting would never end, because everyone was so invested. The team was so emotional after the last shoot, we couldn’t believe it was over. As a producer, nothing compares to leading a crew that enjoys your production to the point they don’t want it to end.”