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Headshot of S. Leo Chiang

S. Leo Chiang

What keeps him motivated as an independent filmmaker:

My masochistic tendencies?

I want to be proud of my work as a filmmaker, and I believe I can achieve that more readily as an independent. I find being able to share experiences with other independent filmmaker friends can be very helpful and motivating in doing my own work.

His three favorite films:

I have a hard time naming all-time favorites. How about my favorites in the past couple years:

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel)
Following Sean (Ralph Arlyck)
Rachel Getting Married (Jonathan Demme)

His advice for aspiring filmmakers:

Keep thinking about the audience for the film you want to make — who they are, where they are, what they are interested in, and why. Knowing who you are telling your stories to will make you a better storyteller.

His most inspirational food for making independent film:

Pocky sticks.

Filmmaker Bio

Born and raised in Taiwan, Leo Chiang immigrated to the United States as a teenager and received a MFA in film production from University of Southern California before beginning his filmmaking career. In 1998, the Directors Guild of America commissioned him, then a film student, to direct and edit Directing: How to Get There, for which he documented early careers of several well-known directors including Robert Wise, Norman Jewison, and Steven Spielberg. His other films include To You Sweetheart, Aloha, about the 94-year-old ukulele master Bill Tapia (PBS broadcast 2006, Audience Award at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2005); One + One, a documentary about mixed HIV-status couples (CINE Golden Eagle Award 2002); and Safe Journey, a short fiction film. Chiang is currently working on a documentary about Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao (R-LA), the first Vietnamese American member of the U.S. Congress and a Versailles community member. He also collaborates with other documentarians as an editor (True-Hearted Vixen, Recalling Orange County), and as a cameraman (It’s STILL Elementary, Ask Not). Chiang is an active member of New Day Films, the social-issue documentary distribution co-operative.

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