Zhao Lewis Liu

Founder of the Los Angeles Chinese Film Festiva, Zhao Lewis Liu talks about raising the visibility of local Chinese talent.

He shares how he ran out of money on a feature film but how he found an angel investor to save the day. He is also creating opportunities for Americans and Chinese to network through his monthly mixers.


Caryn McCann: This is the China Hollywood greenlight podcast episode number four.

This is Caryn McCann the host of the China Hollywood greenlight podcast. A podcast about creating and distributing content for both Hollywood in China. Any links mentioned in the podcast can be found in the show notes at chinahollywoodgreenlight.com and look for episode number four.

Before I introduce today’s special guests, I’d like to start out with a motivational quote for our listeners, to encourage them to continue on their path to achieving their own green light and today’s quote is from Babe Ruth and he said “every strike brings me closer to the next home run” and today’s guest is Zhao Lewis Liu who is the founder of the Los Angeles Chinese Film Festival among many other things and here is the interview.

Caryn McCann: Today’s guest is Zhao Lewis Liu who earned his MFA in the film and video production program at the University of Iowa. Prior to coming to the United States, Louis graduated with a BA in broadcast journalism at the Communication University of China. He is the founder of the Los Angeles Chinese Film Festival and Chinese in entertainment a nonprofit organization supporting Chinese talent and culture in the entertainment industry.

He is also a co-founder and director of programming of the DC Chinese film festival and served as a program manager for the Asia Society Southern California and helped organize the seventh annual us-china film summit. Lewis is currently based in Los Angeles and developing his own feature films and TV series. So, Lewis thank you for coming on the show today.

Zhao Lewis Liu: thank you for having me.

Caryn McCann: Great. Well, I told the audience a little bit about you, but why don’t you tell us more about yourself personally and your business.

Zhao Lewis Liu: Sure, so my name is Lewis, I was born in Wuhan China. Wuhan is known as the eastern Chicago because it used to be the third biggest city in China and I came to the US and I got my MFA in film production at the University of Iowa in the Midwest which was a very interesting experience.

In Washington DC for about four years I organized the DC Chinese Film Festival. I also made an independent film, and then I moved to Los Angeles about a year ago and started the LA edition of the film festival which is the LA Chinese Film Festival. And I also registered a non-profit called Chinese entertainment, to help support the community.

So, that’s pretty much what I do and in the meantime, I actually also do a lot of China consulting for film productions in the US and currently, I’m actually consulting for a project starring Jackie Chan, yeah and it will be probably be shot next year and released in 2019.

Caryn McCann: Oh, well you are definitely going to be in big demand now. Wow, this is great to know. Well, let me ask you a question. I know that no two days are the same in this business but can you tell us two or three main tasks you do on a quote ‘typical’ day?

Zhao Lewis Liu: Sure. Actually, I do a lot of different things, so my days I split very differently.  So usually on Mondays, I actually do my consoling work for the Jackie Chan film and the production company. So, I would actually read scripts and give notes on the screenplay and get ready for a conference call between the US and China and be making sure everything is all set and ready.

And then on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I usually do more on work, more on the film festival because it’s happening actually in two weeks from November 17th to 19th. So, that’s usually what I do for my Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  I wake up with a hundred emails in my inbox. I do all of them and also we have several teams.

Actually, it’s a volunteer-run organization. We have volunteers evenly distributed in four different teams, you know we have a programming team, we have a marketing team, we have a creative productions team, and an operations team. So usually, I touch base with every team leader and see how are things going and previously in the early stage of the preparation and everything’s been going pretty slow but now it’s really picking up.

I think we’re constantly in touch almost every day about what’s going on and a lot of people who are volunteering for the film festival actually also have a job in the film and TV industry in LA or in China. So actually, people are all donating their own time. And I used, since I freelance and work part-time, I have more time during the day. So, I do a lot of outreach to other organizations to see if they are interested to become a community partner. We can offer them discount codes – just one thing I do. And then also schedule meetings with people and just, in general, trying to get the community to know that our festival and come out and support us.

Caryn McCann: Where is it held exactly?

Zhao Lewis Liu: It’s held at the Downtown Independent, in downtown LA.  It’s an independent movie theater.

Caryn McCann: I’ll link to that in the show notes, plus the website and the dates. I’m just curious, how many films are you going to have at the festival?

Zhao Lewis Liu: So, we actually received 416 submissions but we could only program about actually I think nine feature films – now actually ten feature films including a non-competition feature film. And then we program about twenty shorts, so it’s a total of around thirty films that we’re programming.

Caryn McCann: Okay that covers Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.  What about Thursday and Friday?

Zhao Lewis Liu: Thursday and Friday I still do work here and there.  Sometimes I actually get a script you know to do coverage for so usually, I either read a script or sometimes I work on my own script because I’m also, my background was in you know in creative.  So, I actually write scripts and I’m currently I work on a TV pilot with US writers together for the China market.  So, that’s something I also spend some time working on usually Thursdays and Fridays.

Caryn McCann: You definitely wear many hats.

Zhao Lewis Liu: Yes, I do.

Caryn McCann: You have only lived in LA a year. How did you find your business partners?  And the second half of that question is – how do you suggest the listeners find partners especially Chinese partners?

Zhao Lewis Liu: Sure. So, this is how I found my partners. When I first came to LA, I started a nonprofit called Chinese entertainment and I started to organize a monthly LA China mixer for free. So basically, I invited my friends that I know from the industry to come to the mixer and it’s free we usually go to a different bar every time.  So, I’ve been doing that since September 2016 once a month and it’s already been like I think thirteen times or more in a year.

So, the mixer started out with just a few people coming that I happen to know from previous connections. And then it started to grow into more and more people.  And most recently we’ve had about eighty to a hundred people coming to the mixer.

Caryn McCann: Really!

Zhao Lewis Liu: Mostly people working either from China who have had US film education, work in industry or it’s Americans who are interested in China or whose work is China-related.  And also we have a very young crowd. It’s mostly people in their 20s and 30s but we occasionally have people from their 50s and 60s showing up as well. So usually when they show up you know the young crowd is very excited to talk to them.

Caryn McCann: Is that open to the public or how do you find out about that?

Zhao Lewis Liu: It’s open to the public. We have a Facebook page called Chinese in Entertainment if you like the page you’ll get a notification every time there’s a new mixer event. We also have an email newsletter that you could sign up at chineseinentertainment.org so either way through email and then for our Chinese listeners we have a WeChat official account that they can follow and we have about six hundred plus followers on WeChat already I think.

Caryn McCann: Okay so the WeChat is – well maybe we could know later – the WeChat address.

Zhao Lewis Liu: Sure, if you think WeChat is more complicated you have to add me as a friend then I can send you the WeChat.

Caryn McCann: (laughs) Oh, okay.  we’ll link to the Facebook page and the email, oh that’s great so that’s the mixers are still going on.

Zhao Lewis Liu: yes, it’s still going on, it’s going on every month.

Caryn McCann: Okay so you found business partners through your outreach program.  And obviously, some local Americans can hopefully attend these events and find business partners.  But how did you hook up with Jackie Chan’s outfit?

Zhao Lewis Liu: Oh, that’s actually a job that I applied for, I actually just found the job online and I applied. I had maybe four rounds of interviews and I was one of the finalists and then I ended up getting the job.  And yeah it actually was supposed to be a full-time job but then it became part-time because I think financing issues because the movie hasn’t started production. So probably, later on, I might be working on the project for more time, but right now I just spent about a day every week working on it.

Caryn McCann: Is this some kind of Chinese website that lists film jobs kind of like Mandy.com?

Zhao Lewis Liu: It’s actually indeed.com that’s where I found it.

Caryn McCann: Okay thank you for that. indeed.com. This is very good information to share.

Zhao Lewis Liu: Yeah.

Caryn McCann: Very helpful okay.

Zhao Lewis Liu: it’s actually rare to find a job on indeed.com. I didn’t even think I could actually get a call but I did.

Caryn McCann: It helps – I mean it’s worth looking under you know every rock as they say.

Zhao Lewis Liu: Yes, totally.

Caryn McCann: Okay, well let me ask you about a past project. What obstacle did you encounter on a past project and how did you overcome it and what did you learn?

Zhao Lewis Liu: So, one past project I had was that I made an independent feature actually sci-fi feature film in New York and Romania it’s called Caihong City. And one of the biggest challenges that we run out of money after we shot one-third of the film.

And that was I think that was in 2013. And I think in 2013 and 2014 we spent actually about a year because most of the people who were working set for the film were my alumni from film school. And we could only have them available during the summer break. So, everybody came to New York in the summer. We were planning to shoot everything in two months but we spent all the money after one month.

Then we have to send everybody home.  We felt oh we might not be able to finish this project. So, we spend the next six months doing fundraising you know online, did it in English in Chinese – crowdfunding Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and the Chinese Kickstarter.  Then eventually I found this one angel investor from Yunnan Province in China who just sent me you know all the money I needed to finish the film without even signing a contract or anything.  It’s just a real angel investor who saw a Weibo post about our film project and I’ve actually never met the investor until two years later when I went back to China.  I just visited him but at the time I didn’t know him at all. We had one phone call he saw a post and he just gave us the money.

Caryn McCann: Wow.

Zhao Lewis Liu: We were able to regroup everybody in the winter to finish the production.  But then it was also challenging because everybody had to wear summer clothes and you know to shoot in the winter over winter break in New York and Romania and it was pretty cold.

So, that was one project that was very-very challenging but you know fun. And it’s kind of interesting how we were able to finish it because of an angel Chinese investor who yeah, who lives in Yunnan. You would not have thought about you know that’s where we would find the money.

Caryn McCann: So, you overcame that in a very unusual and lucky way finding this investor. But tell me what did you learn from that?

Zhao Lewis Liu: So, what I learned from that is that I feel people are always saying that they’re not ready to do whatever project they wanted to do or try something you know harder than they could. I think that’s always going to be the case.  So, I felt for us is that I’m glad that we started even though we didn’t have enough money to make the movie or we were too optimistic.  But we still decided to just go ahead and do it and then in the process we learned. And we also solve problems as we go. And I think have learned so much in that experience including – we were forced to be able to be really good marketing on social media to get us more funding.

Otherwise, we would not have thought about that. Where we would we just wanted to make a movie in the first place but we learned everything about making the movie in the process.

Caryn McCann: Two points on that one – is a that’s another like side job for you, you know you’re now an expert on Chinese social media. I mean, that is possibly a way to attract Chinese investors.  But speaking of Chinese investors you mentioned the Chinese Kickstarter – is that literally Kickstarter or is there another name for that website?

Zhao Lewis Liu: I think there was another name for the website I don’t even know if the website still exists today.  It was a startup at the time. It’s happened to, you know because a lot of US websites and Chinese people have a hard time opening them because of internet censorship.  So, though you know there’s a Chinese website who does the same job. So, we just picked one of them and did it. And then that’s how we got our video uploaded to a crowdfunding platform and people got to see it. So yeah so not the Kickstarter of the US. It’s just a different website that has a similar function.

Caryn McCann: And did you have to, just one last question on this – did you have to have a bank account in China to get the money?

Zhao Lewis Liu: Oh, yes I did have a bank account in China to get the money. Actually, it might my parents (account). I don’t know.  Yeah, my parents ask me ‘are you sure this is not a scam?’ I’m like well there’s no money in the bank account –  so why do you need to worry?  So, they gave the investor the bank account.  But then the first time they gave that bank account and the routing number and everything there was wrong information.  The investor actually went to the bank and couldn’t send me the money, and then we had to do it again. And then we actually got the money. So, it was just very surprising.

Caryn McCann: Well I will put a link in the show notes. I actually did a blog on Chinese crowdfunding websites so I’ll put that on the blog in the show notes about that.  Wow, you definitely had a good learning experience on that one.  And you found that investor.  So, that leads me to my next question about pain points. If you could magically solve two pain points – what would they be?

Zhao Lewis Liu: Sorry you mean—

Caryn McCann: Like what I mean is if you could solve two problems that you’re facing right now – what would they be?

Zhao Lewis Liu: Two problems I’m facing right now. So right now, I’m working on the LA Chinese Film Festival and one thing I really wanted to solve is to get the non-Chinese communities – like the local American filmmakers’ community to get to know more about our festival and come out and see it.  Because our goal is not to create a Chinese Film Festival for Chinese people who probably already know about Chinese cinema.  We want those films to be seen by a broader audience and a more diverse audience.  So, we’re trying to do that. We’re also figuring out how to do it. I guess that’s one thing that’s really on my mind – trying to do this.

And the other thing is probably fundraising for a non-profit film festival is – you know most film festivals struggle in the world and I think 90% of film festivals will not survive after their first year.  so, that’s… it’s really hard to run a film festival and for us the first year everybody was volunteering their time.  But I can’t imagine people volunteering their time the same way they do this year for the rest of their lives. Eventually, first of all, and grow it into a nonprofit that can be self-sufficient, sustainable. So, I guess funding and getting more people to know about us is always a challenge. Also, we have a very limited budget so we can’t just buy advertising everywhere.

Caryn McCann: How old is this festival?

Zhao Lewis Liu: So, the LA festival is actually in its first year. It’s the inaugural festival but the DC festival I was involved with has already been around for five years.

Caryn McCann: Okay you wear many hats. You’ve got a festival, you’re a director you’re a writer.  What sort of future projects are you looking for? Like film or TV? The genre? The budget –  budget range? And what do you think that Chinese studios are looking for?

Zhao Lewis Liu: So, what I am looking for might be a little different from what the Chinese studios are looking for.  So, for me personally, I like films that are… that tell a compelling story but also emotionally touching or even change the audience’s perspective on certain things. So, films that have some depth and usually a little bit Avante-Garde, not entirely in a commercial film.  That’s the kind of film that I like to make and create.  I like making things I guess unconventional or out of the box.  So, those are the things I like to do.  And I think I wanted to start with a low budget because I feel more comfortable starting a little budget working on my craft and skills and then gradually move up to your bigger budget. And actually, currently, I’m working on a TV pilot and I think we probably will adapt that for the Chinese streaming services like Youku, Tudou which are the Chinese equivalent of Netflix Hulu, and Amazon.  So, those are the things I’m trying to work on right now. But once I have more experience and I probably will also make more feature films again.

And then for the Chinese studios, I think there are two kinds of films that are very interested in making or two kinds of projects.  One is international tentpole films that can do really well across all territories, all countries -like a typical Hollywood studio film.  This is one kind of film that they are interested in. Or a smaller budget Hollywood film that still has a very broad international audience.

And then the other kind of project that they are really interested in is just domestic Chinese language films that can do well because lately, the Chinese market has been growing very fast. And we know several Chinese movies have been doing really really well in the box office even though if you watch the film the production quality is not that great it’s good but not that great. But they still made a lot of profits so I think those are also what they’re looking for. So, either domestic Chinese language films or international I guess tentpole big block blockbuster films.

Caryn McCann: But you also mentioned – I thought there were three. There was the tentpole, the studio film and the third one was the domestic Chinese films. But the second one. Was that US independent, US-Chinese independent movies like a small – not a tentpole – but a smaller budget film. Like that?

Zhao Lewis Liu: Yes, totally.  Yeah, I kind of categorized that with the Hollywood film because they’re both English language films that can do well around the world. I guess actually a lot of Chinese studios are having a hard time actually get involved in the top Hollywood projects made by the studios so actually what I’d be seeing what I’ve seen is – that a lot of indie films in Hollywood are actually financed by Chinese investors.  So, that’s what’s actually happening rather than even though there are some Chinese companies that are more involved with bigger budgeted films –  but a lot of them are financing like a mid-budget Hollywood film.

Caryn McCann: And how do you suggest those American writers, well producer-writers or producers connect with those Chinese financiers?

Zhao Lewis Liu: So, connecting with Chinese financiers- well I guess people like myself or a lot of Chinese film professionals who have worked in Hollywood would be a great point to start with.

I think there is a huge cultural barrier between first China and the US. And secondly, a lot of film financiers recently that have been financing films might not come from a film background. A lot of them you know, (come from) energy or you know real estate. So, a lot of them actually don’t even know much about filmmaking or coming from a finance background.  So, I think having a film person, somebody who either understands both the Chinese culture the language as well as the film industry would be really helpful to make that connection for China and the US.

Caryn McCann: Okay your mixers are the perfect launching pad.

Zhao Lewis Liu: I would say so yeah. There’s a lot of actually – what’s interesting is that a lot of Chinese filmmakers are also having a hard time finding jobs or getting employed in the US if they don’t have sponsorship because of the visa issues and the tightening immigration policies in the US.

So, I felt very lucky I had a green card when I worked in DC.  So, when I moved here I was able to be employed and work on different kinds of projects. But other people might not be as privileged as I am if they don’t have the same immigration status. But meantime I also feel that in Hollywood overall there’s not enough recognition for the Chinese talent in LA.  They feel very marginalized.   And even though a lot of US companies really want to get Chinese financiers, they might not know enough. They just think oh they think we can do it on their own.  So, I think maybe that’s somewhere that where the disconnection happens and I think people with both film and China experience can be actually very-very valuable for US companies or producers in their search for Chinese partners or financiers.

Caryn McCann: Oh, I absolutely agree. And I definitely will be at your next mixer so thank you for that information. Now tell me, what skills or talents are essential to being effective at your job?

Zhao Lewis Liu: So, for me, I think I actually do a lot of different things. So, I guess for my China consulting work it’s more about – my role is more like a creative executive. So, I read scripts and think about if this is a good project for the market or if this is the right project for the company.  So, in that aspect, I guess having the ability to understand screenplays story structures and both cultures would be really important.

And then for my film festival work – is more about management and organizing a big event with a lot of people.  For that, I think project management experience is more important and attention to detail, and also interpersonal communication skills are also very important because I’ve constantly switched between Chinese and English and talking to all kinds of different people all the time. So, I guess that’s a big part of it and then for my own project I think –  I’m developing my own series and feature films – I think writing and it’s definitely important. And also being able to be consistent or persistent at what I do. Keep improving myself is the key because that’s how people get better – by doing it over and over again and do and get better every time so that’s what I think.

Caryn McCann: I totally agree with that. Now, this next question is a kind of trick question. What question did I not ask you that I should have?

Zhao Lewis Liu: Maybe why I wanted to you know to start a non-profit and spend so much time working on the film festival that doesn’t actually make any profit?

Caryn McCann: Do you want to give us a quick answer?

Zhao Lewis Liu: Well yeah actually I think I might have briefly mentioned it.

Caryn McCann: Expanding the reach to a Western audience?

Zhao Lewis Liu: Yeah that’s one thing but also there is a personal reason. I felt when I first moved to LA or started working in the industry I realized that even though the US or Hollywood has a lot of interest in Chinese markets and the financiers, the funding-  there’s almost zero or very little interest in Chinese talent.  So, that’s the biggest thing on my mind. I was wondering if you are developing a film for the China market – why is it all WGA American writers who have never been to China who is writing about the Great Wall instead of hiring you to know Chinese talent who can do the same job exactly if not better, but definitely cheaper right?

And oftentimes I read screenplays written about China in very stereotypical ways. And some of them even racist in certain ways. And I was wondering how come these people are writing a story about China in the very orientalist way and still be able to get over, get away with it and being made and produced? And then you know it’s just fascinating to see these things.  And I think we need a platform to really show to a Hollywood or the American audience that China has the talent to create films or TV series that can do well in the Chinese market.

Caryn McCann: I really see your point. And I could just make a guess is that the American scripts that you’re reading – very possibly these American writers – maybe they’ve never even been to China and probably not even lived in China.  And maybe not even visited it. That’s a big problem right there.

And then the second problem I could see that is a bit of a challenge is the American production companies or American studios they all use the agencies.  They can’t open their doors to just say – we’ll take every script.  So, there’s a bit of a gatekeeper.

But yes, you need a bridge between the East and West and you need some kind of and like your mixers.  And back to your mixtures I mean that’s a perfect launchpad for Chinese and Americans to meet.  That is really a key – your mixer – to kind of break down that problem with the scripts aren’t exactly authentic and possibly opening up the door to Chinese talent in the American studio system. So yeah I’m glad you mentioned that question so thank you.

Zhao Lewis Liu: Thank you.

Caryn McCann: The last question is – what advice can you give those aspiring to tap into the Chinese market?  And you’ve given us – obviously, you’ve got the mixer, and then you know you have to get out there network and be persistent. But just to round it off – what would you suggest for those aspiring to tap into the Chinese market?

Zhao Lewis Liu: I think if you really want to tap into the Chinese market maybe start learning you know one Chinese word a day just so you know get to know a little bit more about the language and the culture.

And then maybe the second step is coming to know our film festival, our mixers, to get to meet more Chinese filmmakers who are also working in the industry. So, starting that dialogue or just you know being around people with a very different cultural perspective will be very very helpful. That’s the first step.  If not going to China and then the next step is probably going to more China events or even going to China to really meet the people you know and talk about the business.

Caryn McCann: Excellent advice. Good Louis thank you so much for coming on the podcast. You’ve given us some great advice some great tips and we’re really excited to hear about your mixer and thank you so much for joining us today.

Zhao Lewis Liu: Yeah thank you so much for having me as well.

Caryn McCann: Now in conclusion are there any projects you’d like to plug? Any social media handles or website links?

Zhao Lewis Liu: Yes, actually. Our film festival –  the hashtag is LACFF. And then you can find out our website at lacff.org or you can just look up the Los Angeles Chinese Film Festival and should be able to find us on different various social media platforms.

Caryn McCann: Okay and then I’ll also link to those Facebook pages that you mentioned earlier for the mixer group. Okay, Louis well thank you again for coming on the show today.

Zhao Lewis Liu: Thank you so much and please send me a link when it’s done and I would love to share it on our social media as well.

Caryn McCann: Oh you bet. And we’ll see you at the premiere.

Zhao Lewis Liu: Yep.


Before I mention my key points and takeaways, Lewis is offering a special discount for the film festival this weekend. Now the Los Angeles Chinese Film Festival is this weekend, November 17th-19th. And he has two festival discounts.

The first one is a festival pass discount. If you’re looking for red-carpet VIP treatment and dinner, you can get 10% off with the code CIEPASS2017. And of course C I E stands for Chinese In Entertainment.  So CIEPASS2017.

And then there’s also a Special Ticket Discount. If you only want to see one show or two you can get $2 off every ticket with the code CIE2017. Again CEI2017. And that will be in the show notes.

And now for my takeaways.

I’ve got three takeaways from my conversation with Zhao Lewis Liu.

But first – A big shout out to Melanie Ansley of Peking Pictures – another guest who you’ll hear from soon on my podcast. She referred me to Zhao Lewis Liu. and I’m very glad I heard about his mixers. So along with the China-Hollywood Society and Lewis’s mixers, I hope to network with other like-minded folks. And if you’d like to suggest someone to me as a potential guest – shoot me an email at Podcast@chinahollywoodgreenlight.com

Now 3 Key Points:

  1. Just do it. As Lewis told us in the interview – he tried to shoot a feature film, ran out of money, had to get good at marketing and social media, and ultimately – he found an angel investor. Now that was very lucky. But the point is – he got out of his comfort zone and got his feature film off the ground – despite maybe being a little optimistic about the budget.

I’m not saying – mortgage your house to make your film. But I am saying we need to push past preconceived boundaries. Maybe it’s just making a phone call or going to a mixer where you don’t know anyone. You have to start somewhere. And like this podcast – I just started. And now I’m making connections and learning a ton. So just do it.

  1. Chinese talent is looking to collaborate: Lewis said he started this huge not-for-profit film festival not only for Chinese films and talent to reach a broad audience – but also because some U.S. producers are overlooking great talent right under their nose. There are Chinese writers/producers here in L.A. (and most major film capitals) who are looking to cross over. But they’re facing a huge obstacle that Americans don’t – immigration.

So, this is a big opportunity for American producers to make that Chinese connection – by attending the L.A. Chinese film festival and these Chinese IN Entertainment mixers.

You can check the show notes for their Facebook address.

  1. Opportunity isn’t where you’d expect it: Lewis said he found his job on that Jackie Chan film through Indie.com. Now he admitted that you almost never find a job there but he tried it anyway and he hit the jackpot. So, there are no sure bets. Sometimes you just have to try everything before you succeed.

Takeaways: Continuing on that theme of opportunity – I have one takeaway:

  1. Opportunity is everywhere: You may not think that Chinese domestic films could be an area of opportunity for Americans – but like Lewis who found a job in an unexpected place – you need to look under every rock.

Lewis mentioned that some domestic films don’t have the best production values but still make money in China. I wrote a blog which I’ll link to in the show notes about the difference between American and Chinese screenwriting. American screenwriting style is more universally accepted. Even if some Chinese writers or producers are only focusing on the Chinese domestic market – that still could be an opportunity for you.

For example – the Russo brothers consulted on “Wolf Warrior 2”. They used their own stunt team to elevate the action and they assisted on a creative level which helped propel the film to a box office superstar.

As an American writer/producer/ agent/manager/ film or TV exec – there are opportunities out there for you in the China market.

Perhaps you can consult Chinese writers or producers on the creative aspects of their films.

I will link in the show notes my blog How Chinese films can attract a wider audience) – but their need is your opportunity. And you can find these Chinese writers that relate to finding Chinese partnering, screenwriting, and crowdfunding such as:





But to reiterate Lewis’s thoughts – the Chinese talent here and in China is looking to connect with Americans. This is your opportunity. And you can find these Chinese writers/producers at the LA Chinese film festival and Chinese In Entertainment mixers.

Now, as far as for the episodic side of this podcast I’ll tell you about my week in my journey to getting my own green light for my film and TV projects.

  1.  I went to the AFM the American film market and I had some very good meetings. One kind of stands out in a funny way.  I was introducing myself to the executive who was really busy so he didn’t have time to talk.  So I started a conversation with the receptionist. It turns out she’s a young intern, a young Chinese girl and we had a nice little chat. And she told me that her family owns a production company in China.  So we definitely exchanged WeChat.  So you never know.

2. The second thing is that someone approached me and asked if I change my China-German co-pro to a China-Canadian co-pro. I’m like –  I don’t like – why not? I’ll consider that. So I was joking about that to someone in another meeting – an American company and it turns out the executive is Canadian and has connections to a production company in Canada.  So I don’t know maybe there’s writing on the wall that I should focus on a China-Canadian Co-Pro.

3. The third thing is that I did hear from the manager of that director I mentioned a few weeks ago. That director has connections to a Chinese film fund so fingers crossed. They’re reading the script.

And lastly, I discovered a new networking group ‘Chinese In Entertainment’, and definitely will get involved. So I got a lot of writing to do so got a run!

But I want to say thank you- thank you again for listening. And to show your support please go to iTunes, subscribe, and leave a rating so other people can find this podcast. The more we work together r-  the more opportunities will be out there for everyone.

And I’ll see you at the premiere. Bye! 再见! (Yī huǐ jiàn)

China Hollywood Greenlight Podcast – Episode 4

Zhao Lewis Liu

Show Notes



Host: Caryn McCann




Twitter: @chgreenlight


GUEST:  Zhao Lewis Liu

IMDB:  http://imdb.to/2zDuamq

: http://bit.ly/2eTY1yV

Communication University of China

DC Chinese Film Festival,

Asia Society Southern California

U.S. China Film Summit

Chinese in Entertainment

Film: Caihong City:  http://imdb.to/2zHK0Kr

Los Angeles Chinese Film Festival

Dates: November 17-19, 2017

Where: Downtown Independent Theater:


Buy tickets:  http://bit.ly/2z18X6F


Get a Festival Pass Discount: 
If you are looking for red-carpet VIP treatment and dinner get 10% off all our festival passes with code: CIEPASS2017


Special Ticket Discount: 
If you only want to commit to a showing (or two) get $2 off every ticket with code: