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2015, 65m, crime, drama, thriller
Liu Xue Jun is a real estate agent who works for a small company in Beijing. He lives a simple life and he and his wife are expecting a baby. His idyllic life becomes shattered when his pregnant wife dies in a hit and run accident while waiting for Liu to pick her up after work. The local police are able to identity the car, but not the driver, and do little to further pursue the case. The grieving Liu Xue Jun becomes obsessed with finding the driver himself, leading him to a local private detective.
Produced by: Huang Li Yin & Gamal Istiyanto
Cast: Fei Fei, Liu Yang, Ju Yuan Sheng, Xu Min Qi, Ai Guo Bao
10 questions with Middleman director, Gamal Istiyanto at the half-way mark.
Friday, April 15th, 2016
1Thanks Gamal for being apart of our spring festival! I loved your film, can you tell me what was the initial idea that made you want to make Middleman? Thank You, the initial idea of the film is from the things that I've seen vastly changing in China especially in Beijing for the past 10 years. Some events could happen without signs and also could control against your consciousness. At the same time, the society become affected by this situations. The thread underlines these things leads into growing apathy society. With "Middleman", I’m trying to explore the feeling of loss and overwhelming grief, where the central character trapped in the situation he has to choose to solve it.
2The film takes place in Beijing, are you from there? How difficult is it to make an indie film in China? I'm from Indonesia and I've been living in Beijing since 2004. I think the main difficulty making indie film in China is to get the permission and the censorship. Especially if the themes dealing with crime, politics & social issues. That's why I had to keep the crew small and shoot in Guerilla Style.
3This film does an excellent job of building towards the climactic finish. Did you always know how you wanted to end the film? What was your writing process like? Yes, I know how I wanted to end the film. Because the film used mostly Beijing language, I mostly wrote the main scene and improvise with the actor during the rehearsal.
4This is a very impressive debut feature. How did you know you were ready to a make a feature? Thank You. I knew that I'm ready to make the film when I've got some of the funding from local producer and the support from the actor & crew who really like the material.
5What was the most difficult aspect of making this film? How did you get through it? I think is to solve everyday problem during the shooting, that's include communication with the crew and the actors. And had to make sure that everybody didn't loose their energy & faith during the shooting.
6Indie film and distribution have gone under such a radical change the past 5 years, what do you think about the current state of indie film? I think the chance are higher to shoot an indie film these days, but at the same time the competition is also higher.
7What's the film that made you want to become a filmmaker? The film of John Cassavetes, when I first saw "Shadows" it really opened my mind about independent film.
8Your entire cast gives wonderful performances. How did you find them all and what did you do in order to get such great performances? Some of the actor were friends, but they were never acted in film before. And some were tv show actors. Because we had a very limited budget and time, we rehearse the scene for about a month before the shooting. So, during the shooting in actual location, we only did small improvisation and blocking.
9I feel like most indie features these days stay away from thrillers and stick to comedy or drama. What is it about the thriller/crime drama that attracts you? I've always like thriller/crime drama. And the genre always captivated me as an audience, and challenging to make as filmmaker.
10What's next? Right now, I'm in Indonesia starting to developing my second feature.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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