Connect with us


Behind Closed Doors with Film Producer Yunyi Zhu



Movie Marker Magazine went behind closed doors with Beijing-born film and television producer Yunyi Zhu to chat about working on the crime movie ‘MADMA!D’, and life in China ahead of her move to Los Angeles.  

Welcome to Movie Marker Yunyi! Tell us a little about yourself.

Hello! I am Yunyi Zhu, and I was born and raised in Beijing, China. I came to the US for college in 2017 and finished my undergrad at University of Wisconsin – Madison with a double major in Radio, TV, Film and Economics. After graduating from college, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my dream in filmmaking and got a MFA in Television and Film production from Loyola Marymount University in 2023. My career has taken me to some of the most renowned film production companies in the world, including Warner Bros., Mei Ah Entertainment (Hong Kong), Vanishing Angles, Tencent Pictures, and many others.

What got you into producing and made you realize that it was your chosen path?

From my earliest years in school, I have been active in assisting organizing talent shows, sports meetings, and various campus events. This enthusiasm persisted as I progressed through the time and now, where I extended my experience by actively contributing to the events in the filmmaker’s community. Event planning has been a source of immense joy for me, particularly in the collaborative aspect of working with a team. In the process of organizing events, I experienced a profound sense of connection with every team member, akin to a cohesive family unit. Discovering my innate ability as a team player has been a gratifying revelation throughout this journey. Witnessing the shared enjoyment and fun among the audience and participants brought about by the team’s collective efforts filled me with an overwhelming sense of pride and added an extra layer of fulfillment. It’s not just about coordinating logistics; it’s about creating a shared experience that fosters a sense of camaraderie and leaves lasting memories for everyone involved.

Through my roles in event coordination and leadership positions, I have cultivated a deep appreciation for the art of bringing people together and a multifaceted skill set that extends beyond the realm of event management. My experiences have played a pivotal role in shaping my problem-solving skills and team collaboration strategies, allowing me to navigate challenges and guide teams toward shared goals. Moreover, I’ve learned that every detail holds significance in achieving the ultimate goal. The lessons learned from these experiences have proven invaluable assets, significantly influencing my work in production.

Following my experience working on set, I discovered an undeniable attraction to the responsibilities of a producer – the organizational architects of the set. It has empowered me to not only exercise creativity in working on developing compelling stories but also to find solutions to bring them to life. Much like my earlier endeavors in event organization, it requires attention to detail and a knack for seamless coordination. As the orchestrator of the set, I relish the challenge of ensuring that everything aligns to create a compelling narrative. This journey has allowed me to channel my organizational skills while pursuing my passion.

Despite COVID-19, I was not deterred and continued to pursue my passion. I did my best to secure real-world opportunities. I interned for a famous Hong Kong producer and winner of the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Screenplay, Frankie Tam Kwong Yuen. The firsthand film industry experience helped me gain a deeper insight of the film industry from pre-production to post-production. Working on a few TV series and features, I polished my writing skills and learned how to collaborate with other talented filmmakers under a fasting-pacing environment. Researching materials, brainstorming and writing with other writers, meeting with directors and producers enabled me to improve my communication skills and find my own voice as a fledgling and enthusiastic filmmaker and artist and make me ensure that I would want to pursue producing for a career.

Congratulations on the movie, “MADMA!D.” What is the movie about?

MADMA!D is a thriller film about Florence. After her husband’s death, Florence covers herself as a maid in her enemy’s home, waiting for revenge. I am the writer-producer and director of the film. We filmed in Pasadena in California.

How did you prepare for production?

In the beginning, I sent the script to my friend, Kevin Yiu, who is an amazing producer to read. He said he likes the idea of a woman’s revenge and would like to be on board to make this film happen together. We worked together on budgeting, scheduling, and overall planning, then we divided our tasks as producers. I was mainly in charge of casting, crewing, and budget managing, while he took on the other responsibilities.

When we started to look for directors of this project, Kevin encouraged me to direct. At first, I was hesitant – I had never produced and directed anything together before, and I wasn’t sure if I was capable of taking on such a big responsibility. But Kevin believed in me. He saw something in my vision for the project that he thought could only be brought to life by my own hand. He pushed me to have confidence in myself and my abilities, and he offered to be my mentor and guide throughout the process. With Kevin’s encouragement and guidance, I took the leap into directing – and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made, and it also intrigued me to expand my role into a director. He saw something in me that I didn’t even see in myself, and he gave me the push I needed to achieve something great. I will always be grateful for his support and encouragement, and I hope that one day I can pay it forward to someone else who needs a little push to achieve their dreams.

Can you share any fun facts from the set?

The casino scene was entirely built on stage from scratch. It was supposed to be the beginning part of the film and also a crucial moment in the story. The production design team knew they had to get it right. It was a massive undertaking, and the team worked tirelessly to create a realistic underground casino. They had to consider every detail, from the color to the props, to make it feel like a real place. Everyone couldn’t wait to see the final result. When we finally stepped onto the stage, it was magical. From the red walls to the gaming table, everything was perfect and looked exactly like what we were expecting.

How did you get involved?

It was always my goal to make a crime film with a strong female lead character. I wanted to create a character who was intelligent, resourceful, and capable of holding her own in any situation. I started working on the script in 2020. I spent a lot of time researching different types of crimes and criminals, trying to find the perfect story that would showcase my lead character’s strength and resilience. I read books, watched documentaries, and found many real-life events in the news as reference. But even with all of my research, I found myself struggling to bring the story to life. I would sit in front of my computer for hours, typing away, only to delete everything I had written and start over again. In 2021, I finished the script and started to raise funds and find partners to work on this project together.

How can we see the film?

The film was premiered at Golden State Film Festival in February 2023 and won “Best Thriller” at Los Angeles Film Award, Swedish International Film Festival, and Beyond the Curve Film Festival. It was selected by New York Lift-Off Film Festival, New York Movie Awards and Various Artists Independent Film Festival.

Thank you, Yunyi! How can people follow your journey?

Thank you! I am active on Instagram and my IMDb. My website is

Just For You