Alex Liu


Choose a theme

Copy (Ctrl C) the code below

Smog is a dystopian short film set in a near future where a thick layer of smog shrouds the outside world. Our story focuses on the relationship between a man and a woman in a secluded farmhouse, and the woman's attempts to escape the man's mental and physical abuse when she discovers there might be someone or something else out there in the smog.

Smog is a haunting short film written and directed by Alex Liu, and produced by Ben van de Laar. The film was written to hold a mirror up to modern day society and question the darker aspects that have become reluctant normalities. Smog is a suspenseful thriller, and uses the genre to exaggerate its themes to get its message across to the audience in an effective and entertaining way.

Kali Kopae, the Woman
Calvin Tuteao, the Man
Writer/Director: Alex Liu
Producer: Benjamin Luke van de Laar
Director of Photography (DOP): Simon Godsiff
Production Designer : Ben Milsom
Art Director: Rehua Wilson
Editor: Betsy Bauer


Smog has already garnered financial support from the New Zealand Film Commission based on the quality and vision of the script alone, and they have agreed to match fund this Boosted campaign up to the value of $8000. That means every dollar you donate, the New Zealand Film Commission will chip in a dollar too!

We have also gained the support of Avalon Studios, where the film will be shot in its entirety. The crew out at Avalon believe in the film and have been incredibly supportive, offering advice and many resources along with the studio itself to help make Smog a reality.

Because of the cinematic scope that we hope to achieve with Smog, we are inviting you to participate in helping us bring this special film to life. While the support we've received so far will go a long way, your donations will make a big difference.

Funds raised on Boosted will help cover the costs of materials and experienced production and set designers to bring the dystopian world of Smog to life. Your donations will also pay for more camera, lighting and sound equipment, accomodation for actors, travel and food for cast and crew, as well as props, costumes and make-up.

We believe that with your help, Smog will be a top contender on the international film festival circuit.

Boosted is an all-or-nothing crowdfunding platform, which means if we don't reach our goal in 30 days all donations are refunded. Help us even further by sharing this page with friends and family, as we can only gain support if people know about the film!

If we reach our goal of $18,000, we will be able to make an AMAZING film! Throughout the film's production, we will keep you updated and share images/videos from behind the scenes at various stages, as well as sneak-peeks into the world of Smog. We are grateful for your support, and hope you will join us on our journey!

NZ income earners qualify for a 33% tax credit on their donations from the IRD with a receipt provided by The Arts Foundation.

Thanks for your support!


  • SMOG has wrapped production!


    SMOG has wrapped principal photography! That's right, we did it! In five days out in a fog-filled Avalon Studios, we shot the film.

    A HUGE thank you to everyone who donated, shared and supported the film in it's early stage.

    Keep an eye on our Facebook page as head into the editing room for updates on how it is shaping up:

    SMOG has wrapped production!
  • Video update + 66% with 6 days to go!



    We are 66% of the way there with less than week to go! Amazing! And thank you again to everyone who has donated, shared or even taken a look at the page.

    BUT-the dreaded BUT...we are not there yet! We need to hit 100% in 6 days otherwise we don't get a single cent of the money donated! Please, please, please to spread the word about SMOG and tell them we need their help!

    Here's a little video update from writer/director Alex Liu as we continue to work towards the shoot.

  • 62% of the way there - SMOG's Director of Photography


    62% of the way there with 13 days left! Amazing progress, but we still have a bit to go! Please continue to share this page, as well as invite others to like our Facebook page and follow writer/director Alex Liu’s blog here.

    A key person in helping to create the unique world of SMOG is our Director of Photography Simon Godsiff.

    Simon is a cinematographer based in Wellington, New Zealand. Having worked in the industry now for fourteen years, his film career began at the award winning Weta Workshop, where he worked for seven years on many feature films including 'The Chronicles of Narnia’, 'District 9', ‘Avatar', ‘Elysium' and 'King Kong'.

    He has built a reputation as an experienced and talented Director of Photography, shooting many short films, commercials, and international art projects including Joseph Michael’s ‘Antarctica Project'. Simon is currently the Director of Photography on the latest ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’ TV series, where he has collaborated closely with all of the eight directors throughout three seasons of the hit show. Simon also directed the CGI lighting look development on the show-with his passion in creating inspiring cinematic imagery being echoed across both the live action and CGI worlds of ’Thunderbirds'. Simon’s commitment to quality film making and emotive lighting is reflected through all his work, no matter the size of the project

    Check out his website and showreel here to see some of his amazing work in action, as well as the images below.

    62% of the way there - SMOG's Director of Photography
  • 32% donated! And meet our awesome production designer!


    32% of the way there! Thank you so much to all that have donated-but we're not there yet. Remember, Boosted is an all-or-nothing platform, so if we don't hit our target we don't get a single cent! Please continue to share this page and our Facebook page around to friends, family or whoever, and you can also follow writer/director Alex Liu's blog here.

    Interested on who's working behind the camera on SMOG? Here's a little profile on our production designer:

    SMOG production designer Ben Milsom has worked in the film and television industry for almost 18 years in numerous roles. Recently, he took on the role of director and production designer for series 3 of ITV's 'Thunderbirds Are Go' in Wellington.

    In his time in the art department, Ben has worked as New Zealand's key stand-by props on numerous medium and large scale international movies including 'King Kong', 'Bridge To Terabithia', 'The Waterhorse' and 'Avatar'. He then transitioned into art direction, tackling productions such as 'The Lovely Bones', 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand', 'Yogi Bear', and was the main unit art director on 'The Hobbit' Trilogy. More recently, Ben was the supervising Art director on the VFX motion-control-miniature-shoot unit for Dennis Villenueve's 'Blade Runner 2049', working alongside miniature VFX DOP guru Alex Funke.

    We are very happy to have Ben onboard as production designer for SMOG. His wealth of knowledge and experience across all parts of filmmaking will ensure we will bring the world of SMOG to life! Check him out in this making-of video from the set of 'Blade Runner 2049':

  • Off to a flying start and the cast of SMOG


    Wow!! Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to the film so far, we're off to a flying start.

    We'd like to share with you a bit more info the two actors we have cast to play the main roles in SMOG:

    The Woman - Kali Kopae
    Acclaimed NZ stage actress Kali Kopae will be playing the role of The Woman. She is well known for her role in the solo theatre show ‘Not in our Neighbourhood’, for which she won best actress at the 2015 Wellington Theatre Awards. Her other credits include Frida Kahlo in ‘La Casa Azul’ and Christine in ‘A Doll’s House’.

    The Man - Calvin Tuteao
    Calvin Tuteao, playing the role of The Man, has been a professional actor for over 25 years. His first role was that of gang leader Taka in ‘Once Were Warriors’, where his heavily tattooed face was also used as the main image on the film’s iconic poster. Many Kiwis will also recognise him as Dr Victor Kahu, a character he played on TV drama Shortland Street from 2000-2004. He has recently been seen playing Turangi in Jane Campion’s ‘Top of the Lake’ and Joe in NZ feature film ‘The Last Saint’.

    And those are our actors! We have 27 days left to reach our goal, so please continue to share this page. Remember, you can also keep updated via our Facebook page  or writer/director Alex Liu's blog that is updated every week.

    Off to a flying start and the cast of SMOG