Chinese New Zealander Roseanne Liang has taken an unusual path into filmmaking. She first made a splash with documentary Banana in a Nutshell, based on her own cross-cultural romance with a European Kiwi. The film won her multiple awards, including SPADA New Filmmaker of 2005; she also turned it into movie rom com My Wedding and Other Secrets. Liang has also directed Berlin-winning short Take 3, and comical web series Flat3.
Probably the most difficult thing was separating the documentary from the film. Even though the documentary forms the backbone of the film, you really have to find out what makes fiction work. Roseanne Liang, on making a movie out of her documentary Banana in a Nutshell
Aucklander Emily Chu (award-winner Michelle Ang) is a young ‘banana’ (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) hoping to conceal a cross-cultural tryst from her prudish Chinese parents in this romantic dramedy. Director Roseanne Liang’s feature debut draws on her autobiographical ‘video diary’ Banana in a Nutshell, which screened at the 2005 International Film Festival. In the audience was producer John Barnett, who immediately offered to fund an adaptation. On its March 2010 release My Wedding gained several five star reviews and strong box office.
Ingeniously unfolding three tales in unison, Take 3 follows a trio of young asian-Kiwi actors on one horrifying day of auditions. Director Roseanne Liang (My Wedding and Other Secrets) mines comedy from the competitive, cookie-cutter world of casting, while questioning the way minority actors are asked to perpetuate old-fashioned stereotypes. The stars are My Wedding lead Michelle Ang, Katlyn Wong (comedy A Thousand Apologies), and Li Ming Hu (Shortland Street doctor Li Mei Chen). Take 3 won special mention in the Generation 14plus section at Berlin film fest.
Being Eve was a popular and self-aware comedy-drama for teens. It launched the career of actor Fleur Saville, who played 15-year-old amateur teen anthropologist Eve. This excerpt from episode 22 of the second series sees angst and ambition collide as Eve dreams of Hollywood success via a school Shakespeare production. Shakespeare himself makes a cameo (as Eve's muse), as she struggles with her original vision for the classic, but will she be upstaged by Sam? Being Eve won best drama at the 2002 NZ TV Awards and fostered young directing and producing talent.