Renowned Production Designer Angran Li Reflects on a Journey of Creativity, Cultural Fusion, and Collaboration

Angran Li, the visionary production designer renowned for her captivating film and stage sets, shares profound insights into her extraordinary journey from a childhood fascination with movie magic to becoming a leading figure in the industry.With a blend of cultural influences, artistic flair, and a passion for storytelling, Li’s work continues to redefine the boundaries of production design, leaving an unforgettable mark on every project she touches.

Li’s journey began with a curiosity that transcended mere movie-watching. “When I was unsatisfied with just watching the movies, I started digging into the behind-the-scenes stories,” she recalls. “I was always curious about how magic happened in the world of Harry Potter films…”

Navigating the path to becoming a production designer was not without its challenges. Reflecting on her journey, Li shares, “I think a lot of people back in my culture don’t name the position and title of what I always wanted to do, which is Production Design…”

Her cultural background has been a profound influence on her approach to production design. “I think I was very conscious that I didn’t grow up in the States,” Li explains, “and I think what I was trying to figure out is to design in my mind as someone from a foreign country and express the benefits of seeing things that others don’t…”

Drawing inspiration from her extensive travels and exposure to diverse cultures, Li’s artistic vision is enriched by her experiences. “My parents used to take me to travel every year,” she shares. “We’vebeen to a lot of places as a family when I was little…”

For Li, the most rewarding aspect of her work is the opportunity for continuous learning and creative exploration. “I love to watch myself do new things and get fluent in things that I didn’tknow how to do,” she enthuses.

In her creative process, Li emphasizes the importance of collaboration and iteration. “I think it varies on the type of project,” she remarks. “I rely on my director a lot…”

Despite her success, Li remains grounded, acknowledging the challenges faced by aspiring production designers from diverse backgrounds.“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” she advises.

As she looks toward the future of production design, Li is optimistic about the industry’spotential for diversity and inclusion. “I feel like every 25-ish years, there will be some new technological revolution within the industry,” she observes.

Li’s approach to collaboration is rooted in mutual respect and communication. How do you approach collaboration with other members of the production team, such as directors and cinematographers? “This might be one of my favorite questions of all time,” she muses. “I love this working triangle…”

As she continues to push the boundaries of her craft, Li remains committed to telling stories that matter. “I wanted to fight for the low-budget indie projects, including shorts, while I further develop my journey with big studio projects,” she shares.

Angran Li’s dedication to her art, coupled with her indefatigable commitment to storytelling, continues to inspire audiences worldwide. As she forges ahead in her career, she remains a beacon of creativity, diversity, and innovation in the dynamic world of production design.

You can listen to her in-depth interview on Live On Air with Steven Cuoco on Spotify: