SAVE THE PATIENT.
3am. 1980s Hongjing.
In an aging private hospital, a single-minded surgeon is forced to break her physician’s oath when violent gangsters storm in to stop a crucial operation.
No other genre of cinema engages my heart, mind and body like action does. It’s the clench of muscles in the belly, the deep-seated desire to see justice in this world; the ugly, beautiful and complicated navigation
of morality and humanism.
Do No Harm explores the first corruption of a woman’s moral code.
It is the short film prequel to a feature film project, Black Lotus. The strand pulled under pressure in Do No Harm leads to a more dangerous unravelling of humanity in the larger story. Both are stylistic, sophisticated action films that beat with a conflicted heart of feminine savagery.
The film was inspired by my own complicated relationship with theoretical violence. Since motherhood, I’ve become more aware of my own murderous potential. I harbour dark thoughts, wonder about the lengths to which I would go to protect my children. My desire to make action films is a catharsis of these undignified, visceral emotions.
But it’s not all brooding grimness. Writing action is one thing. Making action is, I’ve discovered, gleeful. For me, filmmaking is about the joy/terror of synergistic collaborations with other people. I can’t be sure it was the promise of kick-assery that drew our world-class cast and crew, but I am sure we were never as happy as when we were playing with squibs, blood rigs and prosthetics. Roll on the cars and explosions, I say.
I aspire to tonal complexities in storytelling, and making a stylistic, emotionally-charged action film such as this one was challenging. I wanted action that was believable, brutal, but also enticingly cinematic. I wanted the logic of violence to be sound - violent people don’t do violent things because they are evil; they do them because they are practical. Actors Marsha Yuan and Jacob Tomuri were physically experienced practitioners, but we needed more time to find their particular emotional reality for this script. When they found it, magic happened.
This, I think, is why directing is such a buzz for me. I didn’t write some of the best lines. The passing glints of dark comedy in the film were not all planned. The unusual playfulness of the score appeared to fall into my lap, through the stylistic choices of the editor and the composer. Don’t get me wrong - I prepare and plan as much as the next director, but it’s the happy unintentionalities that make the whole thing sing. The result is every bit the intense, satisfying, specific tale of flawed humanity I hoped it would be.
CAST & CREW
Marsha Yuan, is an American Born Chinese actress who has done most of her work in Hong Kong and China. She is known for her debut role in the Hong Kong TV series, War of the Genders. And she later appeared in films such as, Men Suddenly in Black, the Hollywood film, Around the World in 80 Days, the musical film, Cooking For 2 which was featured in the 2016 Hawaii International Film Festival, and as a guest star in the Van Damme movie, Pound of Flesh.
Marsha originally studied musical theatre at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and has also been in various musicals and plays internationally. Her background as a dancer, certified pole dancer and yoga instructor, as well as some experience in various forms of martial arts training made her very excited to play the leading role in Do No Harm.
Jacob Tomuri is a professional actor and stunt performer who has worked in the film and television industry since he was a child. His most recent work includes stunt doubling for Tom Hardy in The Revenant, Legend and Mad Max: Fury Road, assistant stunt co-ordinating the soon-to-be-released feature film Ghost in the Shell and starring in commercials filmed both here and overseas. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand with his fiancé and two children.
Roseanne enjoys the cut and thrust of genre, gender and culture. She’s made internationally acclaimed short films (Take 3), a festival-favourite documentary (Banana in a Nutshell), an award-winning dramatic feature adaptation of the documentary (My Wedding and Other Secrets) and cult hit comedy webseries (Flat3, Friday Night Bites). When she grows up she wants to be Ang Lee and Kathryn Bigelow and Denis Villeneuve.
Hamish graduated from Canterbury University’s School of Fine Arts in 2003, where he majored in film (BFA). After studying he began working within the camera-line before branching out into directing and finally producing both in New Zealand and the UK.
His most recent short film with Roseanne Liang Do No Harm has been selected to premiere at Sundance 2017. His other recent short with Zoe McIntosh THE World in Your Window has also been selected to premiere at Tribeca 2017.
He currently produces commercials, short films, music videos, docos and is developing his first feature film.
Tim is one of Australia & New Zealand’s most experienced producers. Australian credits include: Malcolm (AFI Best Film 1986); Mark Joffe’s Spotswood, Vincent Ward’s Map of the Human Heart, Cosi, Death in Brunswick, Michael Rymer’s Angel Baby (AFI Best Film 1995), Gillian Armstrong’s Oscar & Lucinda, Two Hands (AFI Best Film 1999), Ned Kelly, Scott Hicks’ The Boys are Back, Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty (Official Competition, 2010 Cannes Film Festival) and Julius Avery’s Son of a Gun. His New Zealand credits include: Toa Fraser’s No.2, (Audience Prize, Sundance Film Festival), Out of the Blue (Best Film, 2008 NZ Film Awards), Andrew Adamson’s Mr Pip, The Dark Horse (Best Film, 2014 NZ Film Awards), Consent (Best Tele-Feature, 2014 NZ Film Awards), Lee Tamahori’s The Patriarch and most recently Matt Murphy’s Pork Pie.
STUNT CHOREOGRAPHER/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Tim has been a stuntman, stunt coordinator and fight choreographer in NZ and Internationally for 17 years. He first started as the Frodo stunt double in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and has since gone on to work on over 60 credits in film and television.
As a fight choreographer Tim is dedicated to designing interesting and imaginative fights in stunt sequences, his 28 years experience in various martial arts equips him well to handle a wide range of styles required for fights in any genre.
Tim is always researching new ways and ideas to bring a fresh approach to his fight designs.
Credits: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Without a Paddle, River Queen, King Kong, The Water Horse, Prince Caspian, The Warriors Way, Spartacus – Blood and Sand, Yogi Bear, The Hobbit Trilogy, Mad Max: Fury Road, Gods of Egypt, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 2, Pete’s Dragon, Evil Dead, Hacksaw Ridge, Ghost in the Shell.