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July 31, 2020

A Creative Arts Queen and Producer in the Making

Lydia McClory

Today’s Alumni Spotlight: Queena Liu

For this week’s Youth Film Festival Alumni Spotlight, we’re celebrating Queena Liu who submitted three films in the Creative Arts category last year – all of which were finalists at the 2019 Forest City Youth Film Fest. One of those films, Melatonin, took home FCYFF’s award for Best Overall Film. Her three films Tour the Kit, Transmission and Melatonin all centered around music. Tour the Kit is an energetic and fast-paced film starring Queena’s friend Lucy on the drums. Manual Transmission is an animated film set to a Chopin melody and Melatonin is a music video for an original song she produced – how cool is she? 

“I had a ton of fun making ‘Melatonin’ because it was sort of the culmination of all my skills and interests put together at the time.”

Still from Melatonin (2019) featuring Lucy and Karen Grant.

Queena just finished up high school and is heading to Ryerson for film in the Fall. Right now, she is taking the time to play music and draw before heading to university. Have you seen her drawings, by the way? Check out Queena’s ridiculous skills on her Insta – @lliuqueena. In other news, she’s just been hired for a new project with the Young and Free Press. We can’t say too much about the project right now but keep an eye out for updates on their Instagram – @youngfreepress. 

This year, Queena submitted a film to the Youth Film Festival called Bugs in My Tummy. When we asked her to describe the film in one word she said, “I think it could accurately be described as ‘gross,’ depending on your tolerance of slimy bugs.” I don’t know about you, but I am officially intrigued. Queena discovered FCYFF through school – the films she submitted to the Youth Festival last year were school projects. The encouragement and support she received from her art teacher really kept her going and inspired her to enter the festival.  

FCYFF is a great way to be a part of the local community of film lovers. It shows that people here really want to see the work of young filmmakers, which is gratifying to find.”

Queena’s favourite part of the filmmaking process is the production phase – sound mixing, editing, and colour grading. She said one of the most difficult things about filmmaking is coming up with the initial idea and getting that idea off the ground. Queena added that having project deadlines, and festival deadlines help push you to keep creating and get started. I’d have to agree – it’s difficult to get started sometimes. Although, objectively speaking, she makes it look easy. I think she’s created some ingenious work. Her experimental camera work and original ideas expressed through her fresh lens is something you definitely have to check out. If you want to check out Queena’s past work head over to our website, fcff.ca, and watch last year’s films.  

Xavier Dolan, a director from Montreal, is one of Queena’s favourite young filmmakers. He directed his first movie, I Killed My Mother, at just 19 years old – it’s worth the watch. Queena also recommends checking out Burning Cane on Netflix directed by Philip Youmans – another young filmmaker who is currently on the rise. Lastly, she said Snowpiercer directed by Bong Joon-ho is a must watch and is simply “mind blowing.” I’d have to agree, the film Snowpiecer is truly mind-blowing. 

Still from Manual Transmission (2019).

We asked Queena if she had any advice for young filmmakers. Her best advice is to fully immerse yourself in all media and never stop producing work – no matter how small the project may be. She added, “Now is a great time to experiment and find out what you’re good at. If you can, play with software like Premiere Pro, After Effects, DaVinci, Final Cut, Logic, Cubase, or Pro Tools. I find the best way to learn and grow is by using tools you don’t know how to use yet.” Right now, it’s difficult to make movies, but keep creating. You can always take photos, paint, draw, write!

In ten years Queena hopes to be producing full time and I don’t doubt she’ll be an amazing producer one day. With her fresh eye, camera skills, producing chops and original imagery, Queena is going to kill it out there. We cannot wait to see what she comes up with next! 

Each month, we profile emerging filmmakers — keep an eye out for more Youth Film Fest Alumni Spotlights right here! Follow our socials at @FCYouthFilm