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Editor Meibei Liu shines light on disabilities in new film ‘Headshot’

Meibei Liu knows she is a very emotional person, and as an editor, she sees that as one of her greatest assets. She laughs easily and she cries easily, and allows art to resonate with her. When editing, she uses her emotions as a weapon and a resource. She allows herself to feel close to the characters in the film, feeling their happiness and hopelessness. This enables her to capture their journey through her work. When she completes a project, she feels a sense of satisfaction unlike any other, as she has provided closure to characters that she allowed to become like friends. She never just simply puts the shots together, she cuts to each different shot for a reason. By making herself laugh and cry, she knows how to make the audience do the same.


Whether a documentary, like Pumpkin and Fried Noodles, or a narrative film, such as The Ballerina, The Shoemaker, and His Apprentice, Liu knows how to captivate an audience. Most recently, Meibei edited Dear Mamá, a film that won the top prize at Big Heart, Small Film Competition, jointly run by Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd, and her film Faith Need Not Change Her Gown is being shown at the Cannes Film Festival in May. This in demand editor is at the top of her game.

“I can think of at least five films I was involved with as a producer or assistant director where we made Meibei our first offer as editor but she was already booked. She has certainly proved herself as an incredible editor with her work thus far. She is incredibly adept at bringing out the emotional content of stories. She has a reputation as an incredibly competent and sensitive editor at the editing station and she will always be at the top of my list,” said Ryan Michael Connolly, Producer of Dear Mamá and Faith Need Not Change Her Gown.

Dear Mamá took home Gold at the Big Heart, Small Film Competition judged by celebrated filmmakers like Steven Spielberg in November, but the Bronze Prize was awarded to Headshot, another film Liu edited. Headshot is about an aspiring actress who has Down Syndrome and braves a string of discouraging auditions. When she visits a copy shop for more copies of her headshot, an employee there, who is deaf, helps her with her headshots – and a bit of hope. Through both stories, audiences look beyond the character’s disabilities and learn they can do anything. 

Headshot shows some of the real experiences that people with disabilities have. In the film, an actress who has Down Syndrome faces discrimination when she is pursuing her acting dream. I believe it will give minorities some confidence of living their life and chasing their dreams,” said Liu.

Liu is known for working extremely quickly while still maintaining high-quality, and her work on Headshot was no different. She was able to finish the editing in a certain time period but also give her creative input rather than just simply putting shots together. In the film, there were two important montages that help the film move forward, and her sensitivity when it came to music and emotional connection successfully made these two pivotal moments the turning point of the plot.

The Director of the film, Eva Ye, gave Liu full control when it came to making decisions while editing, having complete trust in the editor’s vision. While editing, Liu quickly identified parts of the film that did not work, and parts that needed to be highlighted. In one instance, she found a montage in the original script that seemed out of context. It flowed well inside the scene but didn’t provide much information and wasn’t strong enough for the film to move forward to the next stage. Liu decided to edit the montage from a different point of view while still using the same rhythm from the original scene. The end result ended up becoming a vital moment in the film, and once again, Liu’s awareness for what would emotionally resonate with audiences proved fruitful.

Headshot worked with the nonprofit organization AbilityFirst, which provides a variety of programs designed to help people with disabilities achieve their personal best throughout their lives. The film also stars Lauren Potter, known for her work in the Emmy-winning show Glee, an actress who has Down Syndrome. Collaborating with such an impactful organization with a dynamic lead on an important story is exactly the type of projects Liu wants to edit. She knows the importance of films like these for people with disabilities and society as a whole.

Written by Annabelle Lee

Editor Meibei Liu shines light on disabilities in new film ‘Headshot’ Reviewed by JaamZIN on 8:32:00 PM Rating: 5
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