Produced by Tim White (Mahana, Mr Pip) and Hamish Mortland with Drew McGeorge (notes to eternity, Fantail) as DoP, Do No Harm is a teaser for Black Lotus, which Liang hopes to have ready for production in 2017.
Liang met Tim White, EP for Do No Harm, at the Big Screen Symposium in 2013. She pitched him a number of ideas, and Black Lotus was the one that interested him. He’s on board as producer for the feature, which has been in development with NZFC support since 2014.
Shortly after taking the reins at the NZFC, Dave Gibson announced changes to the Premiere Shorts funding strand, including renaming it Premiere Pathways. A short film is no longer a required outcome of the scheme, which is now intended to help filmmakers bridge the gap between shorts and features. Liang’s Do No Harm will be a standalone short, but has been conceived as one of the tools for trying to attract interest and finance to Black Lotus.
“It’s always good to be able to show financiers the tone, especially for genre and visual films,” Liang said. The feature is in the early stages of advanced development, “a draft away from seeking production finance”.
Liang has been developing feature Black Lotus since then. While working as a standalone short Do No Harm will be one of the tools for trying to attract interest and finance to Black Lotus.
Mostly set in a hospital and shot over a week in August in a disused West Auckland factory space, Do No Harm is the origin story of a mentor character from Black Lotus. The action of Do No Harm takes place in the 1980s, 30 years before that of the present-set Black Lotus. The actress Liang created the mentor in Black Lotus for was Hong Kong actress Cheng Pei Pei, who played the mother of Michelle Ang’s character in My Wedding & Other Secrets.