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10 Female & Non-binary Asian Filmmakers You Should Know


Row 1: Lulu Wang, Marco Chiong, So Yong Kim, Karyn Kusama; Row 2: Mira Nair, Neelu Bhuman, Alice Wu; Row 3: Nisha Ganatra, Jessica Yu, Jennifer Phang



Alice Wu


Alice Wu is Chinese-American Filmmaker. Before she became a filmmaker, she received two degrees in Computer Science from Stanford University. Her first feature, Saving Face came out in 2005, and it somewhat mirrored her own coming out story. The main characters in her films are typically Asian.


Noted works:

Saving Face (Director, Writer)

The Half of It (Director, Writer, Producer)

Over the Moon (Writer)



Jennifer Phang


Jennifer Phang is a film director and screenwriter living in San Francisco. She is of Chinese-Malaysian and Vietnamese ancestry. She received her B.A. in Media Studies from Pomona College and her M.F.A. from American Film Institute. Her very first film, Half-Life, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. Her film Advantageous won the Special Jury Award for Dramatic Feature at Sundance. Phang has also directed episodes of shows like Quantico and The Expanse.


Noted works:

Advantageous (Director)

Half-Life (Director)

Look For Water (Screenwriter)



Lulu Wang


Lulu Wang was born in Beijing China, and moved to the U.S. when she was six years old. She is known for films like Posthumous and The Farewell. The Farewell, for which she won many awards including the Independent Spirit Award, was based on real events. She had a lot of trouble getting the film made because financiers in China and the U.S. didn’t think it would appeal to audiences in either country.


Noted Works:

The Farewell (Director, Writer, Producer)

Posthumous (Director, Writer)

Touch (Director, Writer)



Karyn Kusama


Karyn Kusama was born in St. Louis, Missouri. The first film she directed and wrote was Girlfight, a sports drama. Her films have a tendency to be very feminist and serve to empower women.


Noted Works:

Æon Flux (Director)

Girlfight (Writer, Director)

The Invitation (Director)



Nisha Ganatra


Nisha Ganatra is Canadian-American filmmaker. She has made a name for herself as a director, actress, writer and producer. She started out pursuing acting and then expanded into screenwriting and filmmaking. She created the short film Junky Punky Girls, which won her the NYU Tisch Fellowship and Outstanding Short Film from PBS.


Noted Works:

Junky Punky Girls (Director, Writer)

Late Night (Director)

The High Note (Director)



Mira Nair


Mira Nair is an Indian-American filmmaker known for her documentaries and feature films. She attended Miranda House at University of Delhi and Harvard University. Her films tend to shine light on and challenge the cultural norms of Indian society.


Noted works:

The Namesake (Director, Producer)

Mississippi Masala (Actress, Producer, Director)

Monsoon Wedding (Producer, Director)



So Yong Kim


So Yong Kim is a Korean-American filmmaker. She has made four feature films and is currently involved in directing a television show called Dr. Death. She is also a writer, editor and producer.


Noted Works:

Treeless Mountain (Director, Writer, Editor)

In Between Days (Director, Writer, Editor)

Lovesong (Director, Writer, Editor)



Jessica Yu


Jessica Yu is a filmmaker who has worked in many genres. She has been recognized for some of her documentaries, and she won an Academy Award for Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien. She broke a barrier by becoming the first Asian-American woman to direct a network drama pilot for the show Bluff City Law. She also received an Emmy nomination for Fosse/Verdon.


Noted works:

In the Realm Of The Unreal (Producer, Writer, Director, Editor)

Fosse/Verdon (Director)

Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien (Writer, Producer, Director, Editor)



Neelu Bhuman


Neelu Bhuman is an Indian non-binary filmmaker. Their work has been showcased at the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival. Their project Transfinite is a compilation of seven short films written by seven trans and gender non-conforming writers. Bhuman’s work empowers the trans community and other minority groups. Their work tackles culture, class, race, gender and other important subjects that affect society.


Noted Works:

Transfinite (Director, Writer, Producer)

More Love. Less Prepackaged Bull***t (Director, Actor)

My Mom Is Worried Sick (Director, Actor)



Marco Chiong


Marco Chiong is a multi-talented filmmaker. They are a cinematographer, director, and production designer. They graduated from USC with B.A. in Film and Television Production.


Noted works:

Now That We’ve Met (Cinematographer, Editor)

Preservation (Writer, Director)

The Order (Production Designer)


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