Private Project


“Blood-soaked secrets seep through the walls.”

"NEIGHBOUR" is a dark psycho drama about Lili, a housewife who suspects her male neighbour of killing his wife after hearing intense arguments. As she unravels the truth, danger closes in on her. However, the neighbour's murder story is actually a delusion created by Lili, who is escaping from her own guilt of killing her husband.

  • Sarah Ren
    Key Cast
  • Denis Qiu
    Key Cast
  • Yujie Ma
  • Zibo Zheng
  • Jiongquan Chen
  • Jinyu Lu
  • Jianzhen Cong
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    11 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    June 8, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    4,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, Canon R5C, Canon Log3
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - The University of Sydney
Director Biography - Yujie Ma

Yujie Ma is an emerging director from China. In 2020, she directed the drama short film JOURNEY OF SWILL, which won the first prize in the "Qingfeng Cup" Short Film Competition in Nanjing. In 2021, she directed the documentary series BEAUTIFUL JIANGSU RHYTHM and YOUNG ARTISTS GENERATION.

Yujie was born in China in 1998. Influenced by her mother, she developed a profound interest in the film industry from a young age. In 2016, she enrolled in Nanjing Forestry University to study Broadcasting and Television, where she began learning video production. Her love for suspenseful narrative films also influenced her creative style, and she actively participated in the filming of narrative films during her student years. Additionally, her experiences acting in various genres provided her with valuable insights and honed her skills in directing actors. After graduation, she worked as a commercial director for a year. However, she discovered that her passion for narrative films far outweighed her interest in commercial films. Consequently, she made the decision to venture abroad and study in Master of Moving Image at the University of Sydney.

Currently, Yujie Ma's video production skills are continuously maturing, and she is gradually transitioning from being a student to a professional filmmaker.

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Director Statement

I am excited to present our dark psychological drama to audiences. Inspired by a Japanese novel, The Murder Next Door (邻の杀人)" by AYA IMAMURA. Our film explores the intense emotions that can drive people to the brink of madness. We aim to depict the human psyche in a way that will leave audiences deeply affected. To achieve the desired effect, we have incorporated suspense and thriller elements into our storytelling, inspired by the Japanese film Confession, 2010. We use non-linear storytelling, a dark color palette, close-up shots, handheld camera work, and long takes to create a unique and captivating atmosphere.

Regarding scene selection and setting, our Asian-style apartment set and Asian actors authenticate the film's Japanese style, avoiding Western elements that could detract from the story's power. The contrast between cold and warm lighting emphasizes the contrasting natures of the two families and sets the stage for the film's surprising ending.

During the filming process, we incorporated several details to enhance the movie's suspense. For instance, we utilized a specialized visual doorbell for the deaf, sign language news, and gestures from the male neighbour as clues, subtly suggesting that the female neighbour is deaf and increasing the impact during the climax. Furthermore, in the two dialogues, when the female protagonist visits the neighbour, we designed different sizes of door gaps to imply the "true identities" of the two characters based on their psychological states.

In post-production, our editing heavily relies on montage techniques for flashback sequences, portraying the protagonist's terrifying image of the neighbour and her escape from reality. To add to the suspense and horror of the film, the design we made at the end of the film metaphorically displays dead body parts in unexpected places throughout the home, such as in the refrigerator or behind the sofa. In sound design, we employ environmental sound effects, moments of silence, and psychological sound effects. Notably, we juxtapose subtle and quiet sounds with violent conflicts to create a stark contrast, intensifying the film's eerie atmosphere.

In short, Neighbour is a unique and thrilling cinematic experience that delves deep into the human psyche, examining the darkness that can drive us to the brink of madness. We hope audiences will enjoy this dark psychological drama and be left with a lasting impression.