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Conversations with Grace (Ge) Gao

Today we’d like to introduce you to Grace (Ge) Gao.

Hi Grace, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I was born in Zhengzhou, China, raised in Beijing, and then moved to California at the age of 16. After graduating from NYU Tisch UGFTV in 2017, I became the assistant to writer/director Xue Xiaolu for her Chinese-Australian co-production THE WHISTLEBLOWER (2019). In 2019-2021, I worked as the Creative Development Department Assistant at Pearl Studio (New York) and contributed to the finalization of the Oscar-nominated animation OVER THE MOON (2020). I have written and directed four festival-running short films. My feature screenplay NARCISSUS won the Best Undergraduate Screenplay at Fusion Film Festival 2018 and placed as a finalist at Screencraft Film Fund 2019. I’m currently pursuing MFA in Screenwriting at USC School of Cinematic Arts.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
As a bilingual filmmaker, the question of “who is my audience” is always challenging to answer. People in the industry have offered me suggestions that would make sense for the marketplace, but sometimes the stories I want to tell simply don’t align with what’s “in demand”. One of the reasons why I choose to come back to school is to reconnect with my voice and discover what materials truly resonate with me as a creator. I’m a firm believer that the audience will follow the storytellers’ lead if we are presenting fresh content with authenticity and passion.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m a narrative film writer/director who’s interested in romance, family drama, psycho-thriller, and music-driven stories. You can find my past work at www.gegracegao.com. In the coming year, one of my biggest goals is to kickstart my feature directorial debut. I’m most proud of the proof of concept short film I made for NARCISSUS, which is in the festival circuit now. My forte is capturing human relationships and creating memorable characters who see the world differently from others in their environment.

What do you like and dislike about the city?
I actually just moved to LA from NY in August 2021. It will be a dream to live and work bi-coastal in the future. So far, I’m really loving northeast LA and Santa Monica. Driving every day felt like a chore at the beginning, but lately, I started to go on hiking trips with my friends over the weekends and discovered the fun of singing along Spotify on the freeway. Still not used to the poor water quality in LA though.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
BTS photos by Valen Mengsheng Zeng; Poster photo by Jacqueline Beckvermit and Lorenza Astengo Fefer; Poster design by Mulan Fu; Stills by Briana Man; Headshot by Jamiya Wilson

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