WeiJen Liao - Ming

As a seasoned actor leading the film industry for over 7 years now, Taiwan’s WeiJen Liao was inspired by the talented writers and producers she has worked alongside over her esteemed career. She found herself longing to write and produce her own film, inspired by events in her own life. Having starred in many celebrated projects, including the comedy Charlie where Liao won Best Supporting Actress at the 2022 Mindfield Film Festival Albuquerque in addition to Best Actress for her work on the drama Josephine, and the Telly Award winning PSA for International Women’s Day 2020, Liao knows what it takes to make a successful and impactful production. So when she put the pen to paper and finally began drafting her passion project, she was more than ready.

“A question I thought and asked myself many times in the past: how would it look to write a story that’s based on true events from my family? Wouldn’t that be awesome to share it with audiences through screening? My curiosity, desire, and passion finally led me to embrace these unknowns and to take action by starting to write the story’s first draft,” she said.

The film is called Ming; a story of a young girl searching for her father’s love, which has been projected into her romantic relationship. The divorce, an affair, codependency, and the alcohol disease have impacted Ming’s identity. She has been struggling with her self-image and self-worth. After a chaotic visit with her father, she gives up on him, but finds she has chosen partners that reflect him. As a result, she needs to make some complex changes, discovering who she is and what she truly wants. 

“I think it’s important to look into our inner self and work on our personal and spiritual developments when our reality shows us something that keeps reoccurring and troubling us repeatedly. The film reminds us how important it is to make changes when we decide to start working ourselves. Our outside external reality is just a mirror reflecting back to us how we perceive ourselves internally,” said Liao.

Liao decided to star in her film, playing the role of Ming. She was wholly responsible for the film, as one moment she would be in front of the camera with her scene partner, and then the next, she was communicating behind the camera with her talent or director as a producer and writer. Each position gave her different perspectives to approach the final goal: bringing the story alive. 

“I enjoyed rehearsing with other cast members, mainly focusing on Ming’s relationship with each character as they are unique. There are many lessons from her relationships with others for her to learn and grow from. Through the actor’s perspective, I found the more I rehearsed with my scene partners, I was able to understand Ming deeply and have compassion for other characters as well. As a producer for this project, I liked working on management and communication and learned much from these skills. The management and communication skills I’ve developed have helped me to be able to orient people, work scheduling, filming locations, budgets, and more,” she described.

Ming was released on September 10, 2022 on the Roku channel and Amazon Fire Stick TV to great acclaim. Soon, the film will make its festival run, as the story has already been submitted to film festivals in the Best Script Film category, including the Palm Springs Movie Awards Festival, and NYC Indie Film Awards. It has also been nominated for: Berlin Shorts Award for Best Actress category; Dam Short Film Festival for Drama category; Best Short Film category at the Paris Art and Movie Awards Festival; Best Short Film category at the SubTropical Independent Film Festival from Taiwan; Best Short Film category at the Berlin Independent Film Festival. The script was also selected for Best Script at the London Indie Short Festival 2022.

“I feel blessed to have the audience’s support, and those working behind the scenes on this project. My intention in creating this film was mainly to raise the awareness of childhood trauma that affects their social and dating lives. I have audiences who shared with me that they could understand and have experienced the chaos in their childhood with their family, similar to my film. And now, looking at the story of Ming, some audiences shared that they feel Ming has a part of their old self shadow,” she concluded.

By Punit