Director and editor Zheyu Liang, empowers diversity and promotes positive changes through storytelling
Based in LA, Zheyu Liang is a film director and editor and has been working in the industry for many years. Zheyu is inspired by real life stories of humanity and is passionate about bringing diverse stories to the foreground of the zeitgeist. She wants to showcase unseen stories to the world and give global audiences a better picture of what life in the corner of the world actually looks like.
She received her MFA from the prestigious UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television. Zheyu has been directing and editing lots of narrative and documentary films that shed light on the complexities of social issues and promote positive changes.
“The Bond”, is a narrative film that she worked on as an editor in lockstep with director Jahmil Eady. It’s a heartbreaking story about Aria, a pregnant and incarcerated woman fighting for her most precious connection with her baby and against a system designed to isolate them from each other.
The film is for mothers who experienced the indignity of being shackled during childbirth, who were denied precious moments to bond with their babies, and for the children themselves who were born under these conditions. The film is based on a true story and has the potential to inform, heal and inspire change.
Zheyu was really impressed by the story when she read the script. Then she decided to work with Jahmil Eady to bring this often unseen but very important story to life. During the editing process, Zheyu and Jahmil worked together closely and talked about creative editing and storytelling, like how to show the intimate moment impactfully but not melodramatically, how to help the lead actress’ performance shine through the film, how to let the film flow in a good pacing and rhythm and how to engage the audience while creating positive changes.
“The Bond” resonated deeply with many people, made inroads for underrepresented communities, and had strong film festival runs where it generated both domestic and international awards. It premiered at the Atlanta Film Festival, where it received a Special Jury Award for Acting and won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Short.
The film was awarded the Honorable Mention Jury Award at Bentonville Film Festival. It was also selected and screened at Dances with Films Festival, HollyShorts Film Festival, BronzeLens Film Festival, Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival and many others.
“Asian Inspirations” is a feature documentary that Zheyu just finished directing. The film showcases three influential Asian-Americans. They are Duy-Loan Le, the first woman and Asian elected as a Texas Instruments Senior Fellow, Prof. David Chu, a distinguished Research Professor at University of Georgia and NIH Advisory Committee Member, as well as Charles Huang, the business leader of Pasaca Capital Inc, innovator and philanthropist.
Told through personal stories, this, first of its kind, film, not only depicts the footprint and legacy of Asian Americans, showcases how Asian-Americans contribute to the society, but also inspires younger generations to think about “what is success?” and how to strive to make a difference to the world as well as give back to the community. The film is presented by ODK Media and Shandong Film & TV Media International and is now aired on OnDemandChina, OnDemandKorea, and OnDemandViet.
Currently Zheyu is working as a director and editor on another feature documentary “One and Only” (working title). The film is in an intense post-production stage now and about to come out soon. Grounded in cinema verité, the film is an intimate exploration of the unintended consequences of China’s One Child Policy. It takes a personal and nuanced look at three one-child families that are each navigating their mother-son relationships and building towards an uncertain tomorrow for everyone involved.
“One and Only” is inspired by Zheyu’s own experience as she too was born and lives under the consequences of the One Child Policy. The unique journey that has shaped her personal experience offers an inside and authentic Chinese/Asian storytelling perspective that fosters further understanding of the differences and unique challenges.
Over the next few years, Zheyu Liang will continue to work in the film industry and make films that not only entertain and engage audiences but also empower diversity and promote positive changes.