“I am a true believer in storytelling being the heart of every aspect of filmmaking – from development to distribution, no matter how big the project is– either a short film or a blockbuster,” said Liu.
Liu’s work over the past few years exemplifies why he is a leader in the industry. With every project telling a unique story, his films An Ill-Fitting Coat, Nocturne in Black and Tear of the Peony saw tremendous acclaim at many international film festivals. His feature Sail the Summer Winds captured audience’s hearts and between online streaming and DVD sales, was a great success.
With the 2016 film Marie, Liu once again showed audiences what he was capable of. Marie is about the faithful maid of an ailing man who must contend with her boss’ new money-grubbing wife to claim her place in his will. The protagonist is a maid, a character that Liu finds many viewers often ignore, and by the end of the story, one feels compassion for her. Liu believes there should be more powerful stories about women and liked the message behind the film.
“I wanted to work on this project because of the script. It was so well-written and funny. I also like the “you get what you deserve” message of this dark comedy. I love good comedies. I’ve been working with Kyungmin Kim, the co-producer of this project on several films and we always make a great team. The director Kristia Coombs helped me on my last film and I loved working with her. It felt like the perfect opportunity to return the favor,” he said.
Liu played a major role during the production of the film. He led a team of Production Assistants to manage the production supplies and catering for the crew. He acted as a liaison between the location owner and the producer. He also escorted talents and crew to the production location and scheduled their transportation on and off set. He managed to solve problems under time restraints, including renting specific costumes. He contributed editing notes in post-production as well.
Such contributions led the film to premiere at the New York City Short Film Festival in November 2016. It was an Official Selection at the festival, and then was an Official Selection at the 2017 Artemis Women in Action Film Festival. Liu is tremendously proud of what Marie has achieved, knowing that it means a lot to everyone that worked on the film.
“I’m especially happy for Kristia and Kyungmin, the writer-director and the producer of Marie. They worked so hard on this film and I feel blessed to be part of it. It also feels like such a relief because we worried so much about the audience not getting the ending and clearly it worked,” he said.
Liu’s contributions were essential to the film. There were many unexpected situations on the set, yet he still managed to run the production smoothly. He used the right tactic to side with the location owner, which helped avoid many conflicts and distractions and won the crew more time for the production itself. His efforts enabled the cast and crew to focus on their work rather than small interruptions, ensuring good results.
During pre-production, Liu’s main responsibility was to make sure everyone was fed and taken care of and the set ran smoothly. The production was carefully planned, but there were consistent small issues that could distract his team from the production. One such worry was public transportation. Liu decided to become the transportation coordinator to ensure his cast and crew were on time. Despite being challenging and exhausting, once he finished the shoot and watched the footage they captured, it was all worth it.
In one instance while shooting, the director wanted to see EMTs in the background. Liu therefore went all over the city to locate two EMS uniforms. As he was wondering who the background actors were, the director asked him to put on one of the uniforms. He was doing craft services and being directed in the shot at the same time.
“I really enjoyed the casting process of Marie. Watching the actors deliver those funny lines was so much fun. I liked working with our talented cast and crew. We were a very diverse team. I also loved the fact that I was challenged by so many unexpected situations because I learned so much from dealing with those problems. Working on this project made me a better producer in so many ways,” Liu described.
Both the Producer, Kyungmin Kim, and the Writer/Director, Kristia Coombs, approached Liu around the same time to take part in Marie. Coombs sent him the script and asked him to read it first. He immediately fell in love with the characters. At the same time, Kim asked him to help her run the set because she didn’t have enough hands at the time. Between both interactions, Liu immediately said yes to the project.
“I had the pleasure of collaborating with the extraordinary Mickey Liu on many short films, including Marie. In these projects, Mickey showed the patience and ability to withstand the high pressures of filmmaking, guaranteeing the best results; this is a rare ability. I can also confirm he ensured that all stages of production ran smoothly and efficiently, and that he performed in a leading role on these films. No matter the challenge, he was able to meet it head on and find the perfect solution, which is critically important in a production role,” said Kyungmin Kim.
In the end, Liu was incredibly happy with his work on Marie. Not only was it a lot of fun, but it gave the producer the opportunity to work on the types of films he loves. He got to tell an important, good story and educate audiences on important life lessons.
“The film teaches a valuable message: never kill an elderly person for money,” Liu joked.