Best 50 Asian American Filmmakers in the United Statesby amy_ross16 | created - 13 Feb 2018 | updated - 14 Feb 2018 | Public
Here is my list of the best 50 Asian American Filmmakers in the United States whose work is worth checking out. In order to qualify, they would have had to make a narrative feature film and are of Asian heritage but make films in the States.
1. Ang Lee
Director | Wo hu cang long
Born in 1954 in Pingtung, Taiwan, Ang Lee has become one of today's greatest contemporary filmmakers. Ang graduated from the National Taiwan College of Arts in 1975 and then came to the U.S. to receive a B.F.A. Degree in Theatre/Theater Direction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, ...
2. James Wan
Writer | Saw
James Wan (born 26 February 1977) is an Australian film producer, screenwriter and film director of Malaysian Chinese descent. He is widely known for directing the horror film Saw (2004) and creating Billy the puppet. Wan has also directed Dead Silence (2007), Death Sentence (2007), Insidious (2010)...
3. 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, ...
Writer | What We Do in the Shadows
Taika Waititi, also known as Taika Cohen, hails from the Raukokore region of the East Coast of New Zealand, and is the son of Robin (Cohen), a teacher, and Taika Waititi, an artist and farmer. His father is Maori (Te-Whanau-a-Apanui), and his mother is of Ashkenazi Jewish, Irish, Scottish, and ...
5. Karyn Kusama
Director | The Invitation
Karyn Kusama was born on March 21, 1968 in Brooklyn, New York, USA as Karyn K. Kusama. She is a director and producer, known for The Invitation (2015), Destroyer (2018) and Girlfight (2000). She has been married to Phil Hay since October 2006. They have one child.
9. Justin Lin
Producer | F9
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 ...
12. Michael Goi
Director | Big Sky
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,"...
15. Kevin Tancharoen
Director | Fame
Kevin Tancharoen is a filmmaker, writer, producer and choreographer whose Mortal Kombat series revived the live action format for the franchise.
Kevin came to the attention of Warner Bros. with the stealth release of his viral video Mortal Kombat : Rebirth that re-imagined the video game franchise ...
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.
Producer | Lady in the Water
Born in Puducherry, India, and raised in the posh suburban Penn Valley area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, M. Night Shyamalan is a film director, screenwriter, producer, and occasional actor, known for making movies with contemporary supernatural plots.
He is the son of Jayalakshmi, a Tamil ...
18. 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 ...
19. Jennifer Phang
Director | Advantageous
A Berkeley-born daughter of Chinese-Malaysian and Vietnamese heritage, Jennifer Phang is a graduate of the MFA Directing program at the American Film Institute.
Her sophomore feature Advantageous won a Jury Prize at Sundance 2015 and was based on her award winning Futurestates short Advantageous (...
20. 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) ...
21. 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).
Actor | Courage Under Fire
Lou Diamond Phillips was born on February 17, 1962 in Subic Bay Naval Base, Olongapo City, Zambales, Philippines as Lou Diamond Upchurch. He is an actor and director, known for Courage Under Fire (1996), The Big Hit (1998) and La Bamba (1987). He has been married to Yvonne Boismier Phillips since ...
24. Jon Moritsugu
Director | My Degeneration
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...
25. Nisha Ganatra
Director | Chutney Popcorn
Nisha Ganatra is a Golden Globe winner and an Emmy nominee for her work as the Director/Producer of "Transparent." Recently she directed THE HIGH NOTE for Working Title and Focus Features, starring Tracee Ellis Ross, Ice Cube, June Diane Raphael, Dakota Johnson, and Kelvin Harrison Jr.
27. Chris Chan Lee
Director | Yellow
Chris Chan Lee is a Korean American filmmaker based in Los Angeles, CA. He graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. His debut feature film as writer/director was "Yellow" (1997), a coming of age drama/comedy about a group of Asian American teens in Los Angeles. The film features the first ...
28. Sandy Tung
Director | Alice Upside Down
Sandy Tung is an American independent film director, writer and producer. He was born on Staten Island, New York. He received an MFA in film making from New York University.
Tung was also the first director of Asian American descent to receive the prestigious Directors Guild of America Award for his...
29. Mira Nair
Director | Salaam Bombay!
Accomplished Film Director/Writer/Producer Mira Nair was born in India and educated at Delhi University and at Harvard. She began her film career as an actor and then turned to directing award-winning documentaries, including So Far From India and India Cabaret. Her debut feature film, Salaam ...
31. Albert Pyun
Director | Cyborg
Albert Pyun is an award-winning American filmmaker best known for his contributions to the science-fiction and action genres. He is credited with pioneering the cyborg sub-genre and is considered to be a maverick and renegade in independent genre cinema. With over 50 titles to his name, he has ...
32. Phillip Rhee
Actor | Best of the Best
Phillip Rhee is a master martial artist, actor and filmmaker best known for creating the "BEST of the BEST" film franchise with his producing partner and mentor Peter E. Strauss (Former Chairman of Lions Gate) and Frank Giustra, a Canadian Billionaire and founder of Lions Gate. The first "Best of ...
37. 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 ...
39. 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 ...
42. Gregory Hatanaka
Producer | A Wiseguy Christmas
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...
43. 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 ...
44. James Huang
Actor | Young Rock
James started his career in New York City and regional theatre before moving to Los Angeles in 2000 where he worked for over twenty years as an actor and filmmaker. In 2020 he relocated his family during Covid-19 to Melbourne, Australia to continue acting, filmmaking, and teaching actors with his ...
47. Ernie Reyes Jr.
Ernie Reyes Jr. was born on January 15, 1972 in San Jose, California, USA as Ernest E. Reyes. He is an actor and producer, known for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991), The Rundown (2003) and Red Sonja (1985). He has been married to Lisa Reyes since November 11, 2009.