Introducing Yalian Li
Yalian Li is a filmmaker currently located in Los Angeles. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at Baylor University when she was 19 years old. She has also just graduated from USC Cinematic Arts recently. During her years at USC, she was awarded the James Bridges and Jack Larson scholarship, the Fox Fellowship Endowment, and the Irving Lerner Endowment Fund—three of the most prestigious scholarships for students at USC.
Her films have been selected for more than 30 international film festivals. She has also served as an assistant director for the movie "The Day We Lit up the Sky," which scored over 20 million at the box office in China in 2021.
Furthermore, her short film "Mantis Club" is currently on the film circuit. It was in the official selection in Annapolis Film Festival and RiverRun International Film Festival. The film also screened at Hanesbrands Theater in North Carolina on April 23rd.
"Mantis Club" is all about gender. The story of "Mantis Club" is set in a gender-flipped world. The log line is “In a world where females devour males during sex, Zack, a 17-year-old virgin is asked on his first date.” The idea first struck Li after seeing a documentary back in 2017 during a road trip. She was in a crowded train station watching a documentary about praying mantises, and was particularly captivated by the sequence about female mantises devouring males after sex. She wondered, “What if women ate men after sex? How would that affect our society?”
“Women eating males” is a metaphor. The film is a dark comedy that functions as social commentary. She hopes the story simultaneously serves as an open window for the audiences to rethink the patriarchal and heteronormative elements we experience today. What is gender, and how does gender divide power? Is it based on our society, our history, or our biology?
As a storyteller, Li is very passionate about making films about women’s empowerment and the Asian community in the United States. She is currently developing a story about an Asian boy who’s trying to be the flute-playing leader of a local orchestra after he immigrated to the States.