The feature film “Million Loves In Me” had already garnered numerous international awards but here, the lead actor and Co-Producer John Yiu explains the reason and process behind a new cut of this acclaimed film for American audiences.
What made you decide to create a different version of “Million Loves In Me” (American Edited Version)?
The distributor and the Hollywood producers in the United States, having reviewed the original version, feel that the original version is more suitable for the Asian market. They prefer to have an American edited version to appeal to the North American audience. They also wanted to change most of the score to suit the North American audience.
It’s around 22-minutes shorter so how did you decide which scenes to edit down or enhance?
My co-producer, Kenny and I worked with the US editor and producers. We tried to make the scenes tighter and one of the scenes which contains quite sensitive material needs to be edited out . We tried to ensure that nothing is lost in the trim.
It must be such a time consuming process, is it literally going through the film time and again, deciding the new edit as you revisit the original cut or did you have a pretty good idea in mind of what you wanted to change with this new version?
First of all, we considered the comments from the editor and the US producers . We then went through this time consuming process of going back to the original cut again and decide if we should take the comments from the editor and the US producers by taking out some parts of the scenes away .
We also considered the new score selected by the editor and US producers. Kenny and I also have our input relating to the score by introducing some original music score created by our friend, Ms Diana Ringo into the American edited version.
I always think that editing a film must be such a tough process, the editor is I would imagine trying to envisage the filmmakers dream – I’m guessing in this process there will always be disagreement, is it a case of totally trusting the editors decision or in other words is it possible to give us an idea of how long and difficult this process can be?
Yes there was disagreement with one of the scenes between us and the US producers. They would like to edit more off but Kenny and I would like to edit less of that particular scene to keep the original flavour. The process is much longer than the making of the film and the original cut. The entire process took us three months to do it but it is worth getting the US distribution.
When you decided that you wanted a different version of the film, the American Edited Version, was it hard to explain to the editing team how and why you wanted this to be different, did they kind of “get it” straight away!?
The editing team did “get it“ straight away. The editor is great and he has valuable input by changing the sequence of some of the scenes in which Katy and Anthony are mainly in. His view is this will give a different flavour to the audience. I have to ask the audience who watched both versions and tell me if they agree with our editor.
Who would be in the editing suite when this (or the original version) was being put together?
The editor was the main person in the editing suite but he collated the comments from us (having considered the lengthy but valuable comments from the US producers) plus his own suggestions to make the entire thing work .
I know that you spend a lot of time in Canada so would have a really good understanding of how a film in North America would be looked at in regards to Hong Kong, audiences are often different in their reactions / expectations regionally of course! Was this something that you were mindful of when “Million Loves In Me” was being shot, or did it come after and whenever you did realise that you wanted a different cut, were you confident you would be able to achieve what you wanted with the American Edited Version of “Million Loves In Me”?
It is great that I lived in Hong Kong previously and live in Canada right now. I have the privilege of understanding the Eastern and Western culture and the tastes of different audiences. Originally, we have created three versions of Million Loves in Me, the first one is the original version which we submitted to most of the international film festivals for consideration. The second one is a Hong Kong edited version, which we obtained comments from a Hong Kong distributor. It suits the tastes of the Hong Kong audience. .
The third version is the Malaysia and China theatrical version in which we took into account the censorship in these countries.
The American edited version came into the scene when we realized the US distributor wanted a different cut. We are confident that we have achieved what they like.
Which version do you prefer!?
I like all versions and all versions have a uniqueness of their own. We hope the audience who likes the film will be able to experience all versions.
Interviewer: Steve Grossmith
Guest: John Y