The film industry is layered with extraordinary artists who have enchanted the world’s population with their stories for decades. Beyond the technological advancement of the past decade, the greatest advancement has been the integration of professionals from different countries and cultures in a way never before seen in the industry. Talent and skill has become transferable across borderlines as the world has become increasingly aware of the gifted professionals from other parts of the planet. One such individual is producer Ruijia Wang. Ruijia grew up in Beijing, China and was exposed to being “on set” by the time she was four, thanks to her father’s successful career as a producer. Having been a part of many productions in China, including two of her own films, Ruijia has been increasingly utilized by American filmmakers because of her exceptional skill and creativity. Her ability to easily work within both American and Chinese productions is a template for the future of filmmaking in the modern world. It’s easy to understand why so many of her peers long to work with her as Wang professes concepts like, “People always think that producing has nothing to do with creativity but the truth is producing has everything to do with being creative. The project starts with script and the producer is in charge of the story’s creative elements along with the quality. Producing is the spark that ignites the entire project.”
In the mid 2010’s Ruijia could be found in China producing commercials for massive events like the CCTV Mid-autumn festival gala and the Yunnan baiyao medicinal as well as for institutions such as the Chinese Agricultural Bank and PSAs for the Memory of The Chinese Red Army of Workers and Peasants. Her producing the films Magnet and For You exposed her ability to handle larger and more complex productions with equal ease and merit. Remarkably, these films were created while Ruijia was still in her teens. She credits her experience on Magnet and the popularity it received with inspiring her to set her career sights on more global opportunities. Within less than two years, Ruijia Wang produced the 2018 film Son of Wanderer working with, among others, Chi Zhou and two time Oscar-winner Jana Sue Memel (as the screenwriter). Son of Wanderer received massive praise from the International Independent Film Awards, Rome Independent Prisma Awards, London Independent Film Awards, Los Angeles Film Awards, and other prominent industry events. As producer of the 2018 drama Caroline, Wang pursued one of her most firmly held commitments in giving a voice to the struggles of real and marginalized people. The film focuses on a teenage lesbian girl who struggles with suicidal thoughts. Repeating the success of Son of Wanderer, Caroline garnered accolades from the New York Movie Awards, Paris Film Festival, Chicago Indie Film Awards, and others. Ruijia remarks, “I’m very interested in making screenplays that are based on real stories. Giving voice to the voiceless and presenting the world with stories that happen to only a small group of people but are equally impactful is the best feeling that I have and that’s the most rewarding thing in this business.”
The greatest challenge facing the present day film industry is creating during the pandemic. Ruijia experienced this “new normal” in the creation of the film Father which she produced in the latter half of 2020. While the on-camera prestidigitation requires making the absence of crowds to seem commonplace, the work off-camera is near herculean. Ruijia confirms that the added demands of testing and stringent safety protocols, most notably safe-distancing, necessitated a smaller crew and greater responsibility on the part of everyone. While filmmaking is not designated as an essential industry, it’s obvious that the time the whole world has spent at home consuming entertainment is at a rate and volume never before seen. It’s equal to the commitment that Ruijia Wang and her collaborators show in their desire to continue to create amidst a global pandemic. Ruijia Wang knows the challenge of proving herself in the immensely competitive entertainment industry of two vastly different cultures and persevering all because she is committed to the art of storytelling. Her success is a beacon the success and determination of the industry itself.
Writer: Arlen Gann