MEL (Machine Engineered Love) is a company that tests compatibility for potential couples and aims to find the perfect match for you without wasting time on the wrong ones.

Arthur is a loyal client of MEL as he shares MEL's philosophy - rational and logical. There are usually no surprises in his life, except for one day, he meets Stephanie, a lovely waitress, and falls in love with her at first sight.

They meet at MEL for their compatibility test. During a series of intercuts between them in separate test rooms, we see a glimpse of Stephanie and Arthur's personalities and values.

The result makes not only them but also us, the audience, start to reflect on the nature of relationships. What matters the most, love or compatibility? And when these two conflict, are you still willing to start this journey?

  • Ayako Karasawa
  • Emily Qiu
  • Ligia Lopes Schiozer
  • Tianyu Liu
  • Binghan Li
  • Shantishree Patil
    Production Designer
  • Qiao Hu
    Sound Designer
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Romance
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 31 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 8, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, 4K ProRes Raw
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Chapman University
Director Biography - Emily Qiu

Emily Qiu is an aspiring director and current MFA directing student at Chapman University. With a background of years in architectural design, she was trained to have a unique creative mindset and a strong aesthetic vision. She has a natural sense of storytelling which is equipped by her strong passion for exploring human emotions embedded within any genre.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I believe that anyone, at some point in their life, has pondered the nature of romantic relationships.

For relationships, which one shall we value the most? The outcome or the process? And when conflict arises, which one shall we choose? Love or compatibility?

Relationships often start with one strong emotion we call it love, followed by gradually familiarizing each other's values. This bonding period can be painful, and often considered "time-wasting" if it ends in a breakup. The reason MEL is so fascinating is because it reverses this process. It compares your values and personalities at the outset, so that the pain of the bonding period could be reduced or even erased. That makes us wonder, if compatibility can guarantee a stable and long-lasting relationship, does love still matter?

It reminds me of the "matchmaking" culture that is prevalent in our Asian community. In the matchmaking market, people are quantified into silhouettes by certain criteria and then meet with another silhouette. For matchmaking culture, a stable married life is the most important outcome, the ultimate goal of life, and love is only the icing on the cake. It's great if you have it, but won’t hurt if you don't.

So this brings me to the other topic I mentioned above, how important is the outcome of a relationship. If there is a high probability that a relationship is going to end in regret, (as those cold percentages in our story) are you still willing to start the relationship because of that passion and love?

As MEL’s director, I do not intend to explore determinism or free will here, nor do I try to portray and criticize a dystopian society (perhaps at first glance it might appear that way). I hope that in today's society, where efficiency and results are prioritized, this simple and sweet story can invoke those butterflies in your stomach, give hope and resonance to those who still believe in love, and leave a trace of warmth to those of us who choose to be naive.