Interview with Filmmaker Todd Lien (FRESH OFF THE BOAT)

FRESH OFF THE BOAT was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the May 2021 MUSIC Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

This film is inspired by the original song written by Bowen Yu. As a production company director, he came to me with this song, and I believe in the message of the song and there is just so much passion and angst in his voice about being an immigrant high school student here, so I decided to create this music video with him to really send the message about the life of an Asian immigrant here! It’s very fitting as well, and my company and I believe in the power of young people’s voices! That’s why we made the film!

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

It took about 3 weeks for the song production from Bowen’s end, and it took about 1 month of pre-production and 1 month of post-production. So the whole project took about 3 months!

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Inspiring; passionate.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The ultra-low budget and the locations usually are correlated, and to find the right locations during pandemic was not easy!

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

It’s very amazing to hear the feedback from the audience because it’s important to hear honest feedback on whether the message really reaches people!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

When Bowen Yu comes with a song for a goal in mind in November 2020!

7. What film have you seen the most times in your life?

The Others starring Nicole Kidman.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I think FilmFreeway makes it easy to submit!

9. What is your favorite meal?

Some great Sushi and Sashimi!

10. What is next for you? A new film?

iStage Entertainment just finished a big talent show online with East West Players and Warner Brothers, and now we are in early pre-production phase for a musical feature film while preparing for other smaller film/stage productions in the next couple months.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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