Private Project

Dear Vanessa

Amidst a night of heartache and longing, two Asian girls, Lucy and Vanessa seize an opportunity to get closer through laughter, tears, and shared dreams. As their connection deepens, Lucy must navigate her hidden feelings toward Vanessa while exploring the possibility of a profound and unexpected love. Along the way, Lucy reveals her desire to create a story about their journey, and the film becomes the realization of her deepest aspirations.

  • Roku Jingwen Long
  • Liz Shaodan Ji
  • Roku Jingwen Long
  • Emily Xiaoyue Ruan
  • Jueun Kang
    Key Cast
  • Isabel Yun-ru Chen
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, AAPI, LGBTQIA+, Coming out of age
  • Runtime:
    13 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    May 23, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Columbia University
Director Biography - Roku Jingwen Long

Roku Jingwen Long (She/They) is a bilingual writer, director, and producer born in Beijing and currently based in New York. She specializes in international and cross-cultural film and commercial productions, showcasing her talent for storytelling across different cultures. In 2022, her short film 'Echoes' received the esteemed Jack Larson Award for Collaboration from Columbia University, and it is now gaining recognition on the festival circuit. Demonstrating her creative prowess, Roku received the Emerging Filmmakers Grant in 2023 for her upcoming short film 'Tropical Seed,' which is in the development phase.

Roku is a Columbia University MFA Film candidate, and she also holds a BFA in Film and Theater Directing from the Communication University of China. Her previous short films, 'Secretly' and 'First Love,' garnered accolades at three renowned film festivals in China, solidifying her reputation as a talented filmmaker.

With a keen focus on exploring the intricate tapestry of human emotions and relationships, Roku's works offer a uniquely feminine perspective. She has an extensive professional background, having worked in TV writing, commercial directing, and producing since 2015. Her list of past clients includes prestigious names such as Riot Games, PUBGMobile, Blackpink by YG Entertainment, Advene Design, and numerous others.

Currently, Roku is channeling her creative energies into crafting her feature film script, 'Still,' as well as producing and directing short films. Further showcasing her storytelling abilities and her commitment to the art of filmmaking.

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Director Statement

"Dear Vanessa" is a heartfelt film based on the true story of our producer, Liz Ji, and I am incredibly proud to have co-written and directed it. As an Asian LGBTQIA+ woman filmmaker, this film holds a special place in my heart as it explores themes of love, connection, and self-discovery.

The essence of "Dear Vanessa" lies in the tender and delicate emotions that exist between girls, embodied by the characters Lucy and Vanessa. I wanted to create a cinematic experience that evokes a sense of silkiness, calmness, and comfort, akin to the touch of feathers, velvet, and fur. This film serves as a love letter that Lucy, the protagonist, writes for Vanessa, capturing the essence of their unique relationship.

Through intimate moments, such as Lucy and Vanessa applying lip gloss together or dancing comically, we aim to portray the genuine bond between them. Their interactions are filled with warmth and a shared understanding, as they navigate personal challenges and find solace in each other's presence. The script beautifully portrays the complexity of their connection, blending moments of laughter, vulnerability, and support.

In "Dear Vanessa," we aim to celebrate diversity and challenge societal expectations. The film embraces the experience of Asian LGBTQIA+ individuals, shedding light on their stories and exploring universal themes of love and self-acceptance. By featuring strong, multidimensional female characters, we hope to inspire and empower audiences, encouraging them to embrace their true selves and foster authentic connections.

Visually, we employ a sensitive and evocative approach, utilizing light, color, and composition to enhance the emotional depth of each scene. The club scenes, bathed in vibrant hues, contrast with quieter moments that emphasize the characters' vulnerability and introspection. We aim to immerse the audience in the characters' journey, allowing them to experience the range of emotions alongside Lucy and Vanessa.

Ultimately, "Dear Vanessa" is a story about friendship, self-discovery, and the power of human connection. It explores the nuances of relationships, both romantic and platonic, while capturing the beauty of embracing one's true identity. Through this film, we hope to foster empathy, understanding, and a sense of belonging among viewers from all walks of life.

I am immensely grateful to the talented cast and crew who helped bring this story to life, and I am excited to share "Dear Vanessa" with audiences, hoping it resonates deeply and leaves a lasting impression.

With sincere admiration,
Roku Long
Director, "Dear Vanessa"