The Top Asian United States of American Narrative Feature Filmmakersby Michael Kang | created - 16 Jan 2012 | updated - 17 Jan 2012 | 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 ...
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
Roddy Bogawa is a director, known for Taken by Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis (2013), Some Divine Wind (1992) and Junk (1999).
17. James Boss
Actor | Eternity
Korean American James Boss was born in Los Angeles and attended The Art Institute of Los Angeles to study graphic design. He later began acting at the Howard Fine Studio, studied under Ivanna Chubbuck, and then relocated to South Korea's Seoul Institute of the Arts to further his study in theater. ...
19. Tony Bui
Writer | Three Seasons
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 Jambulingam Chandrasekhar. He is a director and actor, known for Super Troopers (2001), Beerfest (2006) and Club Dread (2004). 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
Educated at Harvard University, USC Film School, and Boston University School of Law. Chey's work has been seen on E! Entertainment, The Wall Street Journal, The LA Times, VIBE TV, MTV, Daily Variety, Hollywood Reporter, TNT, USA Networks, the Dove Awards, MovieGuide Awards, People Magazine, and ...
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).
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 Scorcese, Barbara Kopple, and Spike Lee. Chutney Popcorn (1999) was her feature film debut.
Director | Lumpia
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 | American Horror Story
Michael Goi, ASC, ISC was born and raised in Chicago. He attended Columbia College, graduating as valedictorian of his class with a BA in Film. He subsequently served as a part-time instructor at the college, teaching lighting and basic film techniques. He has compiled over 70 narrative credits, ...
52. Gregory Hatanaka
Producer | Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance
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; The Stranger, directed by the legendary Academy Award ...
55. James Wong Howe
Cinematographer | The Rose Tattoo
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 was born and raised in New York and attended high school and college in New Jersey. He was captain of his high school Varsity football team, played LaCrosse and Wrestled, while learning Taekwondo in the summers. At 17, a full financial-aid scholarship took him to Rutgers University ...
Actress | The Sensei
Diana Lee Inosanto is the daughter of legendary martial artist, Dan Inosanto and Sue Ann Reveal. She is also the goddaughter of global icon, the late Bruce Lee. Dan was such close friends to the late Bruce Lee, that in honor of his friend, he named his daughter, and first child, "Diana Lee".
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 | The Being
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
Director | 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 director and producer, 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
Writer | The Expanse
Award-winning writer/director Georgia Lee has directed five short films. Her first two shorts, "The Big Dish: Tiananmen '89" (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...
86. Justin Lin
Producer | Better Luck Tomorrow
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 | Living Among Us
Brian A. Metcalf, a member of the (DGA) and (VES), attended the Joe Kubert School of Art and the Gnomon School of Visual Effects. He has since held a number of positions as a creative director, traditional artist, writer, photographer, visual effects artist and supervisor working on games, DVDs, ...
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 | My Degeneration
Jon Moritsugu was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1965. He started filmmaking when he went to Brown University in 1985. Ever since graduating with his thesis film "Der Elvis," he has been a cinematic force to be reckoned with. His films have been all over festivals from New York Underground to Sundance...
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.