Hollywood Going to Dig International Filmmaker Rachel Ye’s Approach of More for Less
Mingzhu Ye (Rachel) is a former top-ranked contestant in China’s most famous singing TV competition, Super Girl, who recorded multiple tracks for the soundtrack for the TV series Journey to The West, then also performed in numerous music videos. She also appeared in the movie Forever Enthralled, and in the TV series The Legend of Yang Guifei.
But that was then, and this is now. She’s got bigger goals in mind.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a Master’s degree in Filmmaking, enterprising Rachel Ye is using her sound business skills and financial management acumen, which she learned in the financial industry, to now focus her attention on producing movies. For example, filmmaker Rachel Ye has multiple roles as producer, writer, casting director, director and editor for the comedy short film Table For Four. Her film was an official selection in the 2019 LA Shorts International Film Festival — a festival that has all the qualifications of Academy Award, BAFTA and Canadian Screen Award.
Indeed, Rachel Ye is on fire, and now has three other short films she has in post-production including, Corn, Dolly, and The Woman in The Darkness. She explains:
“I have a great passion to help independent filmmakers implement their film goals, and enjoy making their dreams come true. I have learned to live by the motto of ‘more for less’ which is represented in my productions, as I always strive for the least cost to create and shoot the best productions. After learning from several years working in the financial business, I went back to school, graduating from the New York Film Academy with a Master’s degree, and a major in Filmmaking. In my opinion, this could be described as the business management major of the film school. Because we learned almost all the key elements of the film industry — directing, producing, cinematography, screenwriting, lighting, acting, production design, editing, sound design, etc. So, I absorbed as much as I could, getting a comprehensive understanding of every aspect of filmmaking. I got to know the importance of each position and how challenging it is to make a good movie.”
For Hollywood, in a time of constrained budgets and tight shooting schedules, having that sound business mind and getting things done — “more for less” — is a huge advantage.
It’s ironic that one of the most inspiring movies for her growing up was a Hollywood blockbuster with a huge budget. The genial Rachel Ye recalls:
“Growing up, I loved movies where I found myself getting emotional with the characters on screen — movies like Farewell My Concubine (1993) directed by Kaige Chen and starring Li Gong and Leslie Cheung, and an Oscar nominated Best Foreign Language film. But the movie that really opened my eyes was Titanic, which was the first movie I actually watched in the movie theater. The whole storyline is full of arcs and very touching, and the visual and aural feelings were breathtaking. It can be said that this movie inspired my perception of the movies.”
Although she loved singing and acting and appeared on famous TV shows in her homeland, she never considered herself a full time performer. But interestingly, it was while she was shooting a music video that she had an “eureka” moment, explaining: “While I was being filmed, I wondered what I would have done as a director. I imagined telling the story in a different, maybe a new way. This made me realize that I wanted to learn filmmaking professionally. And, I kept that goal at the back of my mind.”
Now, she’s doing the directing and producing and everything else, giving the example of Table For Four:
“I had several rounds of auditions just to get the best cast available. Finally, I got eight very good actors. I rehearsed with them many times before filming. And, I spoke with them often, trying to know each other more, which helped make the communication better between us when filming. At the same time, I did all the work of the pre-production. Whether it was big things, like finding the right location or getting a shooting permit; or whether it was smaller, but just as important, things such as renting a truck or ordering the food, the experience was invaluable for me. I learned every step of the pre-production. Additionally, I also kept on top of the details of the production design and wardrobe, working closely with the production designer. We spent two weeks walking through numerous shops and rental houses every day, looking for the props and costumes that best fit for the story. And, then with our attention to detail, the filming process was very cool and smooth. I was so lucky to assemble such a professional crew and excellent actors. And, I burst out crying in joy when we wrapped.”
Rachel Ye’s Table For Four recently won an award in the 15 Minutes Of Fame Indie Film Festival in Florida and got another two nominations in the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival and DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival. And, she has plans to start her “own production company this year, so that I can develop more business and start to produce some big movies, TV series, music videos and commercials.”
Stay tuned for the upcoming release of Rachel Ye’s Corn, Dolly, and The Woman in The Darkness. Check out movie clips, photos and career updates on her website, and on IMDb, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.