Filmmaker Spotlight: Jonathan Lim

Jonathan Lim is the director and producer of “Pali Road,” a film featured on the X1 Asian American destination this July in the ‘Best of APA Cinema’ collection. We had the chance to ask Jonathan what inspired his filmmaking journey and how his Asian American background influences his work.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Lim

Tell us about your film featured on X1 this month!

Jonathan Lim: Having made all my previous films in China, I was intrigued and motivated to develop a story that could bridge both Western and Eastern cultures. When exploring the rich history, culture and mysticism of Hawaii, it began to feel like this was the perfect place to have that type of film take place.
Hawaii is both east and west. Driving through Honolulu and then being told the legend of “Pali Road” inspired me to develop this mystery romantic thriller. “Pali Road” is about a girl who is struggling with her life decisions and tragically ends up in a deadly accident. When she wakes up she finds herself in an entirely new world. It’s not till the end that we reveal the mystery behind her new world.

How did you get into filmmaking?

JL: I started off exploring filmmaking with some short courses and eventually ended up in the Beijing Film Academy for a year. For my final short film project, I ended up making a full-length feature film instead. The film was about a teenage kid with big basketball dreams but is getting bullied by the captain of their high school basketball team. The film ended up getting acquired by Sony Pictures and China Film Group.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Lim

What are some films and/or filmmakers that have inspired you?

JL: “Man on Fire“, “Inception“, “Seven” and “Fight Club” left lasting impressions on me.

Do you have a favorite Asian American film?

JL: “The Joy Luck Club“, “Better Luck Tomorrow“. I recently enjoyed “Gook” as well. Kudos to Justin Chon.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Lim

How does your Asian heritage influence your work?

JL: I’m challenged by the task to make films that can work both for Western and Eastern audiences. I think these stories are important and need to be told. They need a voice.

What is your outlook on the state of Asian American cinema?

JL: It’s good that films are getting made at the studio level. “Crazy Rich Asians” hopefully will open the door for other projects and filmmakers.

What’s next for you?

JL: A martial arts western mash-up about the first Chinese that arrived in America.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Lim


Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Jonathan Lim! Watch the “Pali Road” on the X1 Asian American destination or with Xfinity Stream this July.

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For more Filmmaker Spotlights or Asian American news and entertainment visit Xfinity Asian American.