Leading Chinese performer stars in global movie shot during peak of pandemic

Posted: February 20, 2022 in ANNO 2020
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Crystal J. Huang

Shanghai born actress Crystal J. Huang stars in Anno 2020, an ambitious global feature film now officially in post-production after being shot on four continents at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Huang, who was raised in Shanghai but now resides in California, is one of an award-winning ensemble of international actors who feature in Anno 2020. She plays a Chinese immigrant living in the city of Dublin, in California’s East Bay region. Her screen daughter, played by Beijing-native Ruike Kuang, is on vacation in Beijing when the Covid-19 outbreak begins in early 2020.

Ruike Kuang

In dramatic scenes all too reflective of families divided during the Covid lockdowns, Huang’s character must express love for her distant daughter using remote video technology.

Anno 2020, which finished shooting last month, is considered a triumph for Sydney-based MoneyShot Productions. For lead producer Gil Ben-Moshe it represents no small victory given the travel restrictions, lockdowns and other challenges thrown up by the pandemic.

Crystal on L.A. film set of Anno 2020 (with RED Komodo 6K camera)

Adapted from a novel of the same name, Anno 2020 represents the directorial debut of Sydney-based New Zealand-born director and screenwriter James Morcan who also wrote the novel and screenplay adaptation.

Morcan, who began writing the story as soon as the lockdowns began almost two years ago, describes the story as a multicultural kaleidoscope of interconnected characters seeking redemption, forgiveness and peace during the chaotic year that was 2020.

“We show the suffering of the Chinese people during the pandemic, including deaths of certain China-based characters,” he says. “I felt this important to display, especially as Covid-19 was first detected in the city of Wuhan, in central China’s Hubei province.”

Morcan says he did not hesitate to cast Huang to star in the production.

“Crystal was my main advisor on Chinese cultural elements. She carefully translated some of the script’s English dialogue into Mandarin for scenes in her native language.

“I also gave her the freedom to improvise much of her dialogue. This helped to shape her role and mother-daughter plot into something authentically Chinese rather than reflect my Western perspective.”

Morcan says what he loves about Huang is she is not only an exceptional actress, but she is all about supporting the director and the film.

“Crystal has no ego and that, combined with her remarkable talent, equals a winning formula for any actor.”

Huang says she called on memories of her former life in Shanghai a lot to help Morcan shape the Chinese aspects of the story. The daughter of a factory manager and doctor, she grew up performing in Shanghai theatres and hosting major events. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in China before continuing her education in the USA where she performed as a pianist and ballroom dancer and came to prominence in the San Francisco theatre scene.  

Crystal with Eric Roberts

In recent years, Huang has emerged as an in-demand Chinese actress in major American motion pictures, starring opposite such renowned Hollywood veterans as Eric Roberts and Tom Sizemore.

Crystal with Tom Sizemore

Huang says her favorite film director is Woody Allen.

Anno 2020 is reminiscent of Woody Allen’s work. I think it is a timely contribution and touches on various important issues facing society in this era. It has rich diversity and almost every scene feels truly realistic,” she says.

“The film’s characters are all meaningful and unique, and James, as a first-time director, has great personal style and delivers cinematic atmosphere.”

Huang, who is also the film’s associate producer, says, “I believe Anno 2020 deserves to be seen and known by Chinese people.”

Crystal with American actress Jessica Castello

Speaking from Sydney this week, producer Gil Ben-Moshe says it’s a huge relief that Anno 2020 is now officially in post-production with a rough first edit completed.

“The film is ambitious because it was shot in 17 cities across five countries, and our China-based camera crews filmed in the cities of Shenzhen and Beijing,” he says. “Requiring the employment of camera crews and cast around the world, it features dialogue in English, Hebrew, Mandarin and Italian.”

Film still (in Beijing) from Anno 2020

Ben-Moshe says the producers’ immediate goal for Anno 2020, which he describes as family friendly, is to earn acceptance into major film festivals later in the year.

“Our longer-term targets include a theatrical release followed by online distribution on major streaming platforms. We also hope the film will screen in China, either in festivals there or in movie theatres.”


Anno 2020 IMDb page: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt13455748/

Crystal’s IMDb page: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm9849317/

Crystal’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/huangcrystal2080/?hl=en

Mandarin translation of article follows:

The Mandarin translation of the article (below) appeared today in the China Entertainment Network (Yule) media site: http://news.yule.com.cn/html/202202/338807.html


                     兰斯.莫肯Lance Morcan(澳大利亞)

上海出生的女演员 Crystal J. Huang 黄洁萍出演了《纪元 2020》,这是一部雄心勃勃的全球故事片,于新冠流行最严重的时期在四大洲拍摄。

黄在上海长大,现居加利福尼亚,是《纪元 2020》中屡获殊荣的国际演员之一。她在加利福尼亚东湾区扮演一名中国移民。 2020 年初疫情爆发时,女儿(由匡瑞可在北京饰演)正在中国度假。分离万里,只能用远程视频表达关爱。

改编自同名小说的《纪元 2020》是在悉尼出生的新西兰导演兼编剧詹姆斯·莫肯James Morcan的导演处女作,詹姆斯·莫肯是知名畅销小说和剧本作家。
两年前疫情开始后,他就开始创作。这个故事里一个多元文化万花筒,由人物的关联在 2020 年的灾难中寻求救赎、宽恕与和平。

莫坎说他毫不犹豫地让黃出演该片。他中意黄的原因是她不仅是一位杰出的演员,而且她全心支持导演和这部电影。“Crystal 忘我的合作精神,再加上她非凡的才华,这对任何演员来说都是成功的秘诀。”

黄从小在上海剧院表演并主持典礼。在中国获得学士学位后赴美国继续深造并定居。在那里她学习钢琴和交际舞。获得过东方夫人选美大奖。并在戏剧界崭露头角。近年来,黄在好莱坞中成为炙手可热的中国女演员,曾与埃里克·罗伯茨(Eric Roberts)和汤姆·西斯莫尔(Tom Sizemore)等好莱坞知名影星合作。

制片人 吉本摩西(Gil Ben-Moshe )本周在悉尼表示《纪元 2020》现已正式进入后期制作阶段,已经完成了初步剪辑。他说:“这部电影雄心勃勃,因为它是在五个国家的 十七个城市拍摄的,包括深圳和北京”。

他表示《纪元 2020》的直接目标是在今年晚些时候获得主要电影节的认可。“我们的长期目标包括在影院上映,然后在主要流媒体平台上在线发行。我们也希望这部电影能在中国上映。”

Anno 2020 IMDb page: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt13455748/

Crystal’s IMDb page: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm9849317/

Crystal’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/huangcrystal2080/?hl=en

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