The Top Asian United States of American Narrative Feature Filmmakersby michael-930-915046 | created - 16 Jan 2012 | updated - 9 months ago | Public
For your edutainment, here is a list of all the Asian Americans who have made a narrative feature film. The list is limited to people of Asian decent who are at least 1.5 or 2nd generation US resident/citizen and who have made at least one narrative feature film that can be verified (e.g. IMDB, official website, festival screening, etc.)
Examples of filmmakers not included in the list:
ex. 1: Ang Lee (The Incredible Hulk) is not included because he spent his formative years in Asia. ex. 2: Julia Kwan (Eve and the Firehorse) is not included because she is Canadian. ex. 3: Rena Tajima (Who Killed Vincent Chin) is not included because she makes documentaries. ex. 4: Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) is not included because he is not Asian nor American.
If we combined all the co-directing efforts and hapas, we hover around 100 total. Pretty inspiring. These are the pioneers. The Film Committee of 100 so to speak. BTW many of these films are available on DVD -- get to know your history and support Asian American film!
Help me if I missed anyone. I compiled this list a couple years ago so it is probably missing some folks. Also, FYI for putting the list together, I am putting myself at the top.
1. Michael Kang
Director | The Motel
Michael Kang is a Korean American filmmaker based in New York. He was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island but has been in New York since attending New York University Tisch School of the Arts' Dramatic Writing Program where he was a Founder's Day Honors Scholar. His feature film directorial...
Michael Kang is an independent filmmaker currently in recovery from a three year stint in Los Angeles.
Before becoming a filmmaker, Michael had the highest batting average on his little league team and scored 750 on the math section of the SATs -- two skills which never come into play in his current daily life.
His feature film directorial debut "The Motel" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and an internationally premiered at the Pusan Film Festival. The film is currently available on DVD through Palm Pictures. “The Motel” is the recipient of the Humanitas Prize as well as three top jury prizes from the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, The San Diego Asian Film Festival and The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival . The film was also nominated for “Best First Feature” at the Independent Spirit Awards.
In addition, Michael was a fellow at the Sundance Filmmakers Lab in 2002. He also received the 2002 Geri Ashur Award in screenwriting through the New York Foundation for the Arts. Michael was also honored with a National Endowment for the Arts Artist’s Residency at the prestigious MacDowell Colony. Michael also recieved a fellowship with the ABC/DGA New Talent Television Directing Program.
His second feature film "West 32nd" premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film made its international premiere at the Pusan International Film Festival where Michael received the Overseas Korea Foundation Filmmaker Award. The film is available on DVD through Pathfinder Pictures.
Michael's latest feature "Knots" made its world premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival. http://www.knotsfilm.com/
Actor | Fatal Beauty
To be a "series regular" on a primetime network television show is a plateau of success to which many actors aspire. For Steven, who starred as "Doc" Randy Matsuda on the critically acclaimed Emmy Award winning CBS Vietnam drama series Tour of Duty (1987) (1987-88; and currently in syndication on ...
11. Dante Basco
Actor | Hook
Dante Basco, born 29th of August 1975 in Pittsburg, California, is an actor and producer, perhaps best known as the voice-actor for Prince Zuko in the beloved animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Also known for his roles in the live-action films Hook (1991), But I'm a Cheerleader (1999) and ...
Director | Patang
Prashant Bhargava was born on January 12, 1973 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Prashant Kumar Bhargava. He was a director and editor, known for Patang (2011), Sangam (2004) and Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi (2014). He died on May 16, 2015 in New York City, New York, USA.
Prashant was born and raised on the southside of Chicago - land where them Cadillacs got big rims, the chicken is better known as Harold's and the beats hit hard like the wind.
Prashant began his career as a graffiti artist tagging up on desks in seventh grade. His favorites include Hanuman, films by Terence Malick and deep dish pizza. He is an international science fair award winner and surprising agile on the dance floor. He can also cook. He was last seen fishing for his golf ball on the 11th hole.
Prashant studied computer science at Cornell University and theatrical directing at The Actors Studio MFA program.
Seven years in the making, his feature film debut PATANG premiered this year at the Berlin Film Festival and in the World Narrative Competition at the Tribeca Film Festival and was the Best Narrative Feature at the Hawaii Film Festival and at the DC APA Film Festival.
His short film SANGAM premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, garnering several awards and distinctions. The film was distributed by Film Movement and MUBI and broadcast on Arte/ZDF, The Sundance Channel and PBS.
For the past fifteen years, Prashant has directed and designed commercials, promos, title sequences and music videos for such clients as HBO, IBM, PBS and Accenture.
16. Roddy Bogawa
Director | Some Divine Wind
Roddy Bogawa is a director, known for Some Divine Wind (1992), Taken by Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis (2013) and Junk (1999).
17. James Boss
Actor | Eternity
James Boss, eldest of two children, was born in Hollywood, California and raised in Hacienda Heights, California by Korean American parents Sun Kim, and Young W. Kim.
He began martial arts training at the age of 6. Upon graduating high school, he attended The Art Institute of Los Angeles studying ...
18. Q. Allan Brocka
Q. Allan Brocka's work as a director and screenwriter spans a range of genres in television, animation, live action, documentary, commercial, and feature film. He is best known as the creator, director and showrunner of Rick & Steve the Happiest Gay Couple in All the World, a prime time animated ...
19. Tony Bui
Writer | Ba mùa
Arrived in US at age 2, and raised in Sunnyvale, California. His father ran a video store and he soon was inspired to make his own Super8 movies. Studied film at LA's Loyola Marymount University. Visited Vietnamese several times before making first short film, Yellow Lotus (1995). His 2nd film, ...
21. Eric Byler
Director | Charlotte Sometimes
Chinese American writer/director Eric Byler grew up in California, Virginia, and Hawaii before graduating from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Eric was nominated for a 2003 Independent Spirit Award for his debut feature film Charlotte Sometimes (2002), which also earned nominations for producer ...
Director | Super Troopers
Jay Chandrasekhar was born on April 9, 1968 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Jayanth Jumbulingam Chandrasekhar. He is a director and actor, known for Super Troopers (2001), Club Dread (2004) and Beerfest (2006). He has been married to Susan Clarke since September 18, 2005. They have three children.
27. Huy Chheng
Producer | Sweet and Sour
This shy Angelino grew up in the outskirts of Chinatown, Echo Park. As a child, Huy Chheng knew she wanted to pursue arts, which developed into a passion for filmmaking after taking her first course at the University of California, Los Angeles. Since then, filmmaking and finding funding for her ...
28. Timothy A. Chey
Producer | Fakin' Da Funk
One of the faith-based writer/directors in the U.S. of over 13 feature films, Timothy Chey, has an extraordinary number of commercially successful and critically acclaimed credits to his name, including 'Freedom' (Cuba Gooding, Jr., Sharon Leal, William Sadler), 'David and Goliath' (Jerry Sokolosky...
32. Jon M. Chu
Director | G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Jon is an alumni of the USC School of Cinema-Television. There, he won the Princess Grace Award, the Dore Schary Award presented by the Anti-Defamation league, the Jack Nicholson directing award, and recognized as an honoree for the IFP/West program Project: Involve.
After making his student short, ...
34. Lee Isaac Chung
Director | Munyurangabo
A son of Korean immigrants, Chung grew up on a small farm in rural Arkansas and then attended Yale University, majoring in Ecology. During his senior year, Chung dropped his plans for medical school and turned to filmmaking. He studied film at the University of Utah, earning his MFA in 2004.
36. Mark Decena
Writer | Dopamine
Mark Decena is a writer and director, known for Dopamine (2003), e2: The Economies of Being Environmentally Conscious (2006) and The Light (2005).
39. Dayyan Eng
Producer | Du zi deng dai
Dayyan Eng (known as Wu Shixian to audiences in China) is a Chinese-American writer-director with a uniquely international background. Growing up in several countries, he studied film at the University of Washington and transferred to the prestigious Beijing Film Academy where he completed ...
43. Nisha Ganatra
Director | Chutney Popcorn
Nisha Ganatra was born in Vancouver, Canada, and raised in California in a traditional household.
Ganatra is a graduate of the prestigious New York University (NYU) film school, where she studied with Martin Scorsese, Barbara Kopple, and Spike Lee. Chutney Popcorn (1999) was her feature film debut. ...
Director | Lumpia with a Vengeance
Patricio is originally from Daly City, California, where he started making video movies with his neighborhood at the age of 13. After graduating with a BA in cinema production at the University of Southern California, Patricio became the Associate Producer of the award-winning film The Debut" and ...
46. Cellin Gluck
Director | Sugihara Chiune
Cellin Gluck is a director known for Persona Non Grata (2015), Oba The Last Samurai (2011), Sideways - aka Saidoweizu (2009) and Lorelei (2005). As an assistant director/production manager he is known for Godzilla (2014), Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), Transformers (2007), Remember the Titans (2000) ...
47. Michael Goi
Cinematographer | Mary
Michael Goi, ASC, ISC
Michael Goi, ASC, ISC was born and raised in Chicago, where he established himself in the fields of documentaries and commercials. As a cinematographer, he has compiled over 70 narrative credits, including films for cinema and television screens such as "American Horror Story,"...
52. Gregory Hatanaka
Producer | Choke
Gregory Hatanaka is a film distributor and producer.
Hatanaka has overseen and/or been affiliated with the distribution of over 200 films including: John Woo's iconic film The Killer starring Chow Yun-Fat; The Coen Brothers' Blood Simple; Until the Night starring Norman Reedus; The Stranger, directed...
55. James Wong Howe
Cinematographer | Seconds
Master cinematographer James Wong Howe, whose career stretched from silent pictures through the mid-'70s, was born Wong Tung Jim in Canton (now Guangzhou), China, on August 28, 1899, the son of Wong How. His father emigrated to America the year James was born, settling in Pasco, Washington, where ...
57. James Huang
Actor | Starting from Scratch
James Huang resides in Melbourne, Australia where he teaches acting with his company the Hollywood Actor Lab and works as a filmmaker with his production company Yellow Sun Films. His feature film 'Starting from Scratch' was acquired and distributed worldwide after a successful film festival run. ...
Actress | The Mandalorian
Diana Lee Inosanto is the daughter of martial arts legend, Dan and his wife Sue Inosanto. She is also known as the goddaughter of global icon, the late Bruce Lee (hence, Diana Lee). As an American actress, director, writer, martial artist, stuntwoman, and children's book author, Diana paved a way ...
63. Amyn Kaderali
Director | Little Man
Amyn grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and got his bachelor's degree at UCLA before finding his sweet spot in New York. He got his MFA in Directing at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Film Program, where he made his mark with "Little Man," which garnered awards worldwide, including Best ...
70. Jackie Kong
Director | Night Patrol
Jackie Kong is a director, producer, and screenwriter known for irreverent comedy and over-the-top horror films. In 1983, she made her feature film debut as director with the low-budget drive-in horror film The Being, which starred Martin Landau and Jose Ferrer. In 1984, she followed up by ...
75. Stan Lai
Writer | An lian tao hua yuan
Born in Washington D.C., he holds a PhD in Dramatic Art from Berkeley. He taught at Taiwan's National Institute of the Arts and helped established the Graduate School of Theatre. Founder of renowned theatrical troupe, Performance Workshop, he is one of Taiwan's leading playwright and theatre ...
80. Grace Lee
Grace Lee was born in Columbia, Missouri, USA. She is a producer and director, known for American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs (2013), Barrier Device (2002) and Janeane from Des Moines (2012).
82. John H. Lee
Director | Nae meorisokui jiwoogae
John H. Lee's films are imbued with top-notch cosmopolitan sensibilities. He has become one of the most sought after directors in all of East Asia and is a member of the rising generation of international directors from the region, having both a distinct voice as an auteur and wide commercial ...
84. Georgia Lee
Producer | The Expanse
Award-winning writer/director Georgia Lee has directed five short films. Her first two shorts, "The Big Dish" (B&W, 16 mm 1998), and "Bloom" (Color, 16 mm, 1999), have shown at numerous film festivals. "Bloom" was also acquired and broadcast by PBS as part of the Reel New York series. In 2000 she ...
86. Justin Lin
Producer | Furious 6
Justin Lin is a Taiwanese-American film director whose films have grossed $2 billion worldwide. He is best known for his work on Better Luck Tomorrow, The Fast and the Furious 3-6 and Star Trek Beyond. He is also known for his work on television shows like Community and the second season of True ...
Writer | Bend It Like Beckham
Paul Mayeda Berges was born on September 11, 1968 in Los Angeles, California, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for Bend It Like Beckham (2002), What's Cooking? (2000) and Paris, je t'aime (2006). He is married to Gurinder Chadha. They have two children.
96. Brian A. Metcalf
Producer | Adverse
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Brian A. Metcalf (WGA, PGA, DGA, VES, ASCAP) is an Asian-American, award-winning filmmaker (writer, director, producer and actor). His most recent film, Adverse, is a drama/thriller that he produced, directed, wrote and acted in and stars a large ensemble cast with ...
97. Anne Misawa
Producer | Waking Mele
She has studied filmmaking at the University of Southern California's Graduate Film and Television Program and also has a previous Master's degree in Creative Writing from New York University and has studied at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Naropa Institute with its ...
99. Jon Moritsugu
Director | Scumrock
Jon Moritsugu was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and graduated from Brown University in 1987. As a writer and director, he has created 7 features and numerous shorts, music videos, and commercials which have screened at MOMA, the Guggenheim, Whitney, Cannes, Sundance, Berlin, Rotterdam, and more. He is a...
100. Jimmy T. Murakami
Director | Breath
Jimmy T. Murakami was born on June 5, 1933 in San Jose, California, USA as Teruaki Murakami. He is known for his work on Breath (1967), Heavy Metal (1981) and When the Wind Blows (1986). He was married to Ethna Murakami. He died on February 16, 2014 in Dublin, Ireland.