The moment Sherry Yang steps onto a film set, she falls in love with what she does all over again. She is an extraordinary producer, and her passion for her work translates into each and every film she has done. She loves the feeling of working tirelessly night and day, as it allows her to see the magic of the filmmaking process in its entirety. She loves that as a producer, she nourishes a project from beginning to end; she works with every department; she is the go-to person for any problem that may arise and always has a way of solving it. For Yang, her work is more than satisfying, it is addicting, and that is why she is in demand all over the world.
Yang has produced many high-achieving films, and the success of each comes down to her talent and work ethic. Her versatility is superlative, and whether working on a historical story, such as the award-winning film The Letter, a telling comedy, exemplified by her films Jiaozi and Cash Back, or meaningful dramas like Te Echo de Menos, Yang’s producing is continuously top-notch. She has now also extended her resume to the thriller genre with her work on the new film Under the Pieces, and she has once again showed the world what she is capable of.
“I had always been very interested in the human psyche, which sparked my interest in Under the Pieces. I have been especially fascinated by the notion of dual personalities. This film decided to take a step further and make it multiple personal identities, and that made me excited. It was going to be another challenge to see how a mysterious murder would play out. I wanted to be one of the key elements that help in bringing this story to its successful,” said Yang.
Under the Pieces follows a detective as she tries to put the puzzle pieces together of a horrendous murder that occurs inside a loving couple’s home. Yang was responsible for gathering the team, setting up meetings and rehearsals, and running daily productions. She also had to hire a writer and director. When she found Yuki Yoshimatsu, Yang then was involved in the creative aspect of the film. She would go over each draft and work with her team to ensure they were telling the right story. This made her extremely attached to the script, and she had to make sure she found the right actors for each part. Finding someone who can convincingly portray multiple personalities is not easy, as they had to be someone who could change their entire disposition just from the look in their eyes, but eventually she found just that in Mikael Mattsson. Her work was not done after that; once filming was completed, the team then looked for the ideal editor, one who would display the story in a manner that the audience would understand what happened whilst keeping the mystery of it until the very end, which they found in Monge. Undoubtedly, the film could not have achieved what it did without Yang, and these thoughts are echoed by her team.
“Sherry demonstrated exceptional problem-solving skills and communication abilities within and outside the production crew. In particular, when working with her, I don’t remember having a single problem with other departments or locations. When a producer is talented and particularly adept at their job it often goes unnoticed, because everyone else can tend to their own responsibilities without unexpected distractions. In this respect, Sherry was always an unsung hero on set by solving every ongoing problem that we were unaware of at the time. She is the best kind of producer, one who provides an environment where everyone on the crew can excel up to and beyond their individual abilities to collaboratively make the best possible product. I don’t even know much about her past work and accomplishments because when I’ve worked with her she has always been focused entirely on the job at hand rather than talking about herself. The filmmaking business is often correctly characterized for its narcissism. It is an industry where many people prop themselves up by tearing others down. It is notable that I have never heard a negative comment about Sherry from anyone else or a diminishing remark from her about anyone else. This might seem like a small thing, but it is a significant asset to the film industry because she has the type of work ethic and personality that sets a cultural and social example for an industry that is too often lacking,” said Edwin Beckenbach, a gaffer on Under the Pieces.
After premiering at the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood in February where it won Best Student Film, Under the Pieces has had quite the film festival run. It was a selection at the celebrated Cannes Short Film Corner, as well as the L.A. Shorts Awards 2017 where it won Best Short Film Silver Award and the NYC Indie Film Awards 2017, where it took home Best Short Film Platinum Award.
“It is exciting that the film did so well. I am happy that many audiences and festival juries were able to understand the story and enjoy it. It assures us that the film was understandable and that we were able to tell the story correctly. We hope that this film has not only surprised audiences with the ending, but that it allowed them to connect with its message. We wanted the audience to understand that although perhaps not to the extreme of murder, but any individual in a stressful situation can snap with one simple push,” said Yang.
The film started out as Cinematographer Royce Gao’s passion project. Gao approached Yang knowing she was the best producer possible for her cherished film. Yang was not only eager to tell the story, but also to take on a more creative producing role, finding the correct writer and director, and being a part of the writing process. This made communication critical for the project’s success.
“I truly liked how I got to be involved creatively. The fact that I was able to put a few inputs to the story made this project a lot more personal to me. It made me more passionate to make sure the story was told right. I enjoyed being valued not only for my skills as a producer, but also for my creativity,” she said.
Above all else, however, Yang wanted to tell the story not just as a thriller that would excite and terrify audiences, but as a teaching tool. She wanted to educate viewers on multiple personality disorder, and put in a lot of research to make the story as authentic as possible.
Be sure to check out Under the Pieces and get a glimpse into Sherry Yang’s outstanding producing talents.
Top photo Victoria Geske, Sherry Yang – by Yuki Yoshimatsu