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Life & Work with Dante Jiayu Liu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dante Jiayu Liu. 

Dante, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I was born in Changsha, Hunan, a city deep inside mainland China. My life was unexpectedly influenced by world cultures. When I was 14, my parents sent me to Oregon for my high school education. After university, I started my journey with film in the North American office of Huace Film. Now I work as a narrative/commercial director in LA, serving brands such as BMW, Li Ning, and others. 

To be honest, I don’t remember when I actually decided to be a director. I just remember I have always loved movies. I loved how a director’s job is to wrap ideas in moments of life, expressing them through a mixture of light, shadow, and sound. I dedicate my life to tell story through the art of motion pictures. The soul of my work will always be about the real feeling everyone shares no matter how different our own stories are. 

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I wouldn’t say it is completely smooth, but at least I’m doing something I love. 

I think one of the biggest struggles I have always been fighting with is to find the people that trust your vision. Making a film is no easy work. It takes a tremendous amount of effort from a large group of people. It is a difficult journey to complete, and it is even harder without a group of people that shares an unquestionable level of mutual trust. And due to the nature of our work, one has to find this group of people every time when we start a new project. It is no doubt the most challenging, constant problem I face all the time. 

With the right group of collabrators, all other problems just melts away. 

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
As a director, I have always found directing is a selfish form of art. To me, the plot of a story is just a guise for what I believe matters to me. If my film is ever going to convince another person, I myself have to be the first person to be convinced. The most important and difficult part about this is to find the connection between my own feelings and others’ feelings. The soul of his film will always be about the real emotions everyone shares no matter how different our own stories are. I look back at the films I made, and I have always tried to find the simplest story to demonstrate the complexity of human emotions. 

I don’t burn myself out in the pursuit of grand, magnificent beauties. I have fallen in love with the sublime hidden inside people’s relationships with others. 

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
Have faith in yourself and your work. The work always saves you. 

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Image Credits

Jesse Grant

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