Certain people seem predestined for a specific path in their life. Of course, the reality of this scenario eventually leads back to the nature vs. nurture argument. Producer Ruijia Wang was born into a lineage of storytelling with her photographer grandmother and producer father. While she may have fermented in an environment of close family members who understood the power of the medium, Ruijia’s journey has led to her refinement as a masterful producer committed to bringing vital stories of the modern age to the public. This is profoundly resonant in her latest film Caroline which has received recognitions from the Paris Film Festival, Chicago Indie Film Awards, and New York Movie Awards, as well as wins at the International New York Film Festival and Hollywood Gold Awards.
There are many talented professionals in the film industry. Regardless of their vocation, the ideal person for any job is a combination of superior skill and proper perspective. Known for professing an inclination to pursue realistic and true stories, Ruijia Wang was the ideal producer for Caroline. By concentrating on the remarkable nature of real people and their experiences in the world, Ruijia has cultivated her own style among her peers. Her contention that the lives of those around us all can be illuminated to communicate the great potential of the human spirit and the common bond of struggle that we all must contend with is the power source that drove Caroline to such greatness. Wang informs, “A producer can most certainly have a style. We work behind the scenes so the public may not be aware of that, and I’m okay with this. What is important to me is telling these stories of real people in a way that the rest of us can feel the trials they go through, and in seeing this we can understand that we are not alone during those moments when we feel insecure.”
Caroline is a teenager who falls in love with a girl named Vivian. Nothing seems to be easy or mundane in Caroline’s love life. In addition to dealing with Vivian’s other female love interest and her boyfriend Tommy picking on Caroline, she must deal with her own mother’s physical and emotional absence during this trying time. When Caroline considers suicide, it’s an unexpected guardian who steps up to aid her in finding comfort. Particularly poignant scenes in the film, such as when Caroline returns home to find a note taped to the dinner her mother has left her or when she contemplates suicide as she walks along a bridge, illustrate the loneliness and desperation many teens can experience.
The gravitas of this film is palpable. The tone achieved by the cast and crew belies the challenges experienced during the making of the film. While Southern California’s ever stable climate has allowed it to become a filming hub for the entire industry, Caroline was filmed during a particularly rainy March in which a city wide blackout took place. In such an instance, the true merit of a producer such as Ruijia Wang is tested. She confesses, “Working in a city that I’m not familiar with and handling the emergencies that came up during the shoot was also a good lesson. The experience that I’ve learned from it is priceless. The development part was not very challenging but many challenges happened during pre-production and production. That’s to be expected and it’s what we prepare for. When you believe in a story so much, you are always ready to do whatever it takes to get the production there. I had my first experience on my father’s set when I was four-years-old so I have been preparing for anything and everything for my whole life.”
Writer: Coleman Haan