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Jiping Liu’s Film Artistry

Have you ever wondered why some films are able to completely transport you while others may have you commenting, “I didn’t quite buy it.”; if so, it’s probably because of the work that goes on behind the camera. The actors are unquestionably important to your suspension of disbelief but it’s often the ability of professionals who manifest the world in which the actors display their talent that opens the door and beckons you in. The contributions of immensely talented professionals like Graphic Designer Jiping Liu might be taken for granted unless you are a filmmaker yourself; the precise reason that she is the first choice of so many filmmakers. Subtle touches which reassure the viewer that the world they see on camera actually exists, that’s the magic of Jiping Liu and the cornerstone of her renown in the film world. Her work is often the opposite of VFX artists who seize the audience’s attention; it’s her ability to make the extraordinary blend in and seem completely appropriate that is such a strong attribute and a challenge to wield.

Photo courtesy of Ke Shuai

Genres in film are like accents or languages, the command of one does not necessarily mean you can transfer that ability to another. Someone who does possess the ability to vacillate from genre to genre with exceptional skill is highly valued. Co-directors Na Liu & Jun Xia enlisted Jiping for their Horror film Into the Mirror for her this very reason. The film’s numerous awards (Winner of Best Horror Short at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards, Best Short Film at WorldFest Houston, and numerous wins at the American Horror Film Festival) confirms the brilliance of this decision on the part of these directors. This chilling tale of a couple’s stay at a haunted AirBnB displays how the Horror genre continues to evolve and find new stories congruent to the progression of modern life. Though never on set during the production, Jiping’s presence is strongly felt in the film. From storyboarding in the early stages of the film to the design of graphic pieces as props, and even the official film poster, Jiping had one of the most visually prominent influences on Into the Mirror.

Having worked with Jiping on films like She Gives Me Sight (multiple award-winner at the Hollywood Boulevard Film Festival, Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival, and others) and Svago, producer Huidi Sun enlisted Jiping as Graphic Designer for Tape. The intense and realistic drama in the story shows the pain and dissolution of a marriage and family due to infidelity. Set in the not too distant past, the story greatly benefited from Jiping’s ability to serve the dual roles of graphic designer and costume designer. The subtle yet vital believability of the era in which the story takes place helped lead this film to numerous awards at the Five Continents International Film Festival and Independent Shorts Awards (including winner of Best Drama Short and winner of Best Women Short).

Inside Linda Vista Hospital is one of the most frightening films you may ever see. Awarded Best Horror Short at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards, the film required Jiping to get extremely comfortable with designs which incorporated blood. A diary with bloody handprints, a bloody and rusted key holder; the combination of a Horror tale and a hospital required a seeming deluge of blood. The film follows three supernatural phenomenon investigators who enter an abandoned hospital, cultivating all of those fears one might have about a hospital operated by sick minds. Known for its surprise ending, Inside Linda Vista Hospital is a continuation in this genre’s amazing ability to reinvent its stories. Editor Jun Xia worked with Jiping on Inside Linda Vista Hospital, Emily, Into the Mirror, and a number of films. As a result, Jun has likely seen more of this graphic designer’s work up-close and with greater discernment than anyone. Declaring why so many filmmakers are drawn to work with Jiping, Jun states, “She is literally the first person I think of when graphic design is brought up for a film. Her work is incredible and always surprising. A lot of people don’t know about her strong background in painting and then how she made the switch to a career in film. This uniqueness and fearlessness to try something new is what makes her so incredible to work with. She’s an exciting and talented professional!”

Author: Patrick Wilson
Jiping Liu’s Film Artistry Reviewed by JaamZIN on 11:30:00 AM Rating: 5
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