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Local filmmaker brings different communities together in short film

Two women lying down
The official poster for “Plus 1s,” with Nicole A. Davis on the left and Liz Eng on the right. (Image courtesy of Edwin Rubio.)

Actor and Boston native Liz Eng wanted to tell a story more like her world.

“Sometimes your friend groups are very linear, where everyone is the same as themselves,” Eng said. “For me, my friends vary in ages, races and sexual orientation.”

Her short film “Plus 1s” was selected for the 2023 Roxbury International Film Festival, which premiered June 23. The romantic comedy features two women navigating the world of dating. Eng is one of the lead actors, along with black actor Nicole A. Davis.

“When I wrote ‘Plus 1s,’ I noted that media lacks diversity,” Eng said. You see a Latina and a white person. You don’t see two people of color together. It’s a celebration of individuals living as there are.”

She started writing the script in 2022, then found her cast and crew.

“I believe it’s a story that hasn’t been told before and I’m glad to be part of that voice,” Davis said.

The crew bonded while filming during the pandemic. When one of the directors Katelyn Grace Reddy tested positive for Covid, she proceeded to direct over Zoom.

“I was working my whole summer on this project and it was really upsetting I couldn’t film in-person,” Reddy said. She will be a senior at Emerson College in the fall.

Six people are standing and smiling together.
From left to right: David J. Curtis, Nicole A. Davis, Brian Moller, Andrea Lyman, Amory Wallace and Liz Eng. (Image courtesy of Paige Tolan.)

Eng credits the film production to her team.

“It’s not my success, it’s our success,” Eng said. “I want to see everyone grow leaps and bounds. Yes, it’s my film, which takes a village.”

Eng’s warmth was appreciated by the staff.

“Working with Liz is one of the best things,” Davis said. “Liz is one of the most kind, caring and giving people.”

Eng was inspired by her family to hone her craft.

“It’s essentially all about my mom and how she raised me,” Eng said. She was an immigrant from Taiwan, with an open heart and open mind.”

Eng produced “East of Hollywood” in 2015 before writing, producing and acting in “Plus 1s.” The short film garnered awards at Asians on Film and won the Best Audience Award at the Boston Asian American Film Festival.

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