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May 30, 2024
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Dream Weaver and Cross-cultural Storyteller: Producer Lola Xia On Her Two Most Important Shows

Producer Lola Xia
Photo Credited to: Lola Xia

In the realm of Chinese film and television, few boast backgrounds as diverse and international as Lola Xia’s (also known by her Chinese name: Jianjie Xia). With her rich cross-cultural exposure and trilingual proficiency in Mandarin, English, and Korean, Lola has brought a unique perspective and creative dynamism to the industry. This is especially evident in two acclaimed shows that sparked widespread buzz – “The Missing Half” and “Taiwan Crime Stories.”

The Missing Half: A Heartfelt Love Story

“Film and television carry culture and resonate emotionally. I hope to use my work to connect different cultures and demographics, achieving greater resonance in emotions and values,” says Lola, encapsulating the ethos behind “The Missing Half.” The 2018 Taipei-shot drama premiered on Tencent Video and STAR Chinese Channel in 2019, swiftly becoming a pan-Asian sensation. On Tencent Video’s international streaming platform, WeTV, nearly 900,000 viewers rated it 8.3/10. On WeTV’s YouTube channel, total views exceeded 7 million.

In this love series exploring regrets and misunderstandings, viewers follow the protagonist as they unravel the memories of youth through letters. The narrative not only delves into the theme of love but also touches upon family and friendship. A user on Douban exclaimed, “This is a series that makes you laugh, cry, and feel warmth.” 

“Series is a form of companionship,” says Lola. As the producer of this romantic drama, she insisted on portraying the authentic emotional journeys of the characters during the development and production process. Simultaneously, she added appropriate comedic elements with the goal of allowing the protagonists to enter the hearts of the audience, providing warmth and healing during hard times. 

Taiwan Crime Stories: A Profound Exploration of Society and Humanity

Following the warmth and romance of “The Missing Half,” Lola displayed more versatility through “Taiwan Crime Stories” – which has also drawn acclaim since premiering on Disney+ and Hulu this January 4th. Adapted from real Taiwanese cases, the four-part anthology comprises “Derailment,” “A Matter of Life and Death,” “Gravity of Sin,” and “Dark Currents” – delving into sensational crimes against backdrops of early 2000s adversity. The stories probed the motives behind crimes, while also exploring themes of faith, temptation, redemption, and obligation. Apart from its mind-bending plot twists, the Taiwanese show collaborated with Hollywood teams and assembled a cast, writers, and directors of high caliber, receiving 12 nominations at the 58th Taiwan Golden Bell Awards, and 4 nominations at the 28th Asian Television Awards. Furthermore, it was nominated for Best Asian TV Series and Best Supporting Actor at the 2023 Asia Content & Global OTT Awards held at the Busan International Film Festival, gaining broad recognition in the Asian market.

As a trilingual co-producer, Lola Xia was instrumental in development and production. Recalling the challenging pandemic-era process, she says, “Although it was the first time working on a crime-themed story and facing the complexity of societal backgrounds and human nature, the process of developing the scripts with the team was challenging and convoluted. However, fundamentally, we kept exploring authentic human emotions to provide the audience with an unprecedented immersive emotional experience. This aligns with the storytelling philosophy I’ve always believed in.”

Connecting Styles and Cultures

“Whether romance or crime, moving audiences emotionally matters most. Transcending cultural and social differences to examine universal human experiences and values is my constant pursuit,” Lola affirms. This bridging vision has driven her to keep pushing boundaries.

She concludes by discussing the significant impact these two vastly different works have had on her producer’s journey. They not only provided her the opportunity to be deeply involved in every aspect of production, from the creative inception of projects to the final cut but also allowed her to witness the incredible talents in the Chinese language film and television industry. 

Lola expresses gratitude for the enriching experiences gained from these two shows. Currently residing in the United States, her next step involves taking on the dual role of a Chinese-English bilingual screenwriter and producer. She aims to become a bridge connecting Hollywood and the Asian market, dedicated to creating and developing more emotionally stirring original films and series.

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