Born and raised in the 90s astir Dhaka, Bangladesh, Ejaz Mehedi developed a keen sense of observation, and an ability to view the world through different lenses at an early age with the intention and reason behind the impulse of pressing the shutter. Through documentary photography, he forged his foundation as a cinematographer and filmmaker working in films and commercials. His approach to every project stems from the perspective of a recurring reason: An innate, insatiable longing to witness and record the human drama. His work includes the multi-Oscar qualifying short Moshari (2022), executive produced by Jordan Peele and Riz Ahmed. In 2022, the film won the Grand Jury Award from SXSW Film & TV Festival and ten awards from the global film festival circuit: Atlanta Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, Fantasia International Film Festival, Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, HollyShorts Film Festival, Gold List, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and more. His work Foreigners Only (2022) for Hulu and Disney+, the first ever Bangladeshi film commissioned by a US streaming platform, won the Gold Audience Award at Fantasia International Film Festival 2023 and Best Horror Short Award at HollyShorts Film Festival 2023. The film is also an official selection at BFI London Film Festival 2023. Ejaz actively seeks projects that resonate with his South-Asian root and identity.
Suraj Bhattarai (35) is a director from Thimphu, Bhutan. His interest lies in documenting the unique times in his community through untold stories that bring forth the intimate relationship amongst individuals and families with respect to the rapidly changing environment they live in. He is a graduate of Doc Nomads and a joint master in documentary film directing from 3 universities in Lisbon, Budapest and Brussels. He has directed 4 short documentaries as a part of the degree. His short films including Sound of Chewing Leaves (2022), New Wings (2021) and A Baby is Born (2021) have gone onto screen at the Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival, International Wild Life Film Festival and the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival respectively. He also holds a graduate degree in Business Studies from Leiden University, the Netherlands. Currently he is working as a production manager and field recordist for a feature length documentary project in Bhutan.
Kongkea Vann is a Cambodian filmmaker and a cinematographer. He graduated from the PSE Film School of Pour un Sourire d’Enfant in 2016, and has joined the cinematography workshop at Cambodia Film Commission in Phnom Penh. Shortly after, he worked as a camera assistant on several international films, including Angelina Jolie′s feature film First They Killed My Father (2017) and Rodd Rathjen′s feature film Buoyancy (2019), and has since then worked on various projects as a cinematographer for feature films, short films, commercials, and music videos. He discovered himself that he is intrigued to tell stories on social, religious, economic, and cultural issues, and he hopes to raise unheard voices through his lens. He started his career as a director with Sound of the Night (2021), which is world-premiered at Locarno Film Festival 2021. The film has been invited to over 30 international film festivals, winning several awards.
Becky Baihui Chen is a cinematographer based in Los Angeles and Shanghai, who believes in the transformative power of film to inspire social change and empower individuals. She has worked on a wide range of projects across the globe, including the indie feature I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) (2021), which earned Special Jury Recognition at the SXSW Film & TV Festival in 2021 and is currently available for streaming on Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, and BET+. Her short film credits include Welcome Back (2020), recognized as Best Live Action at the HollyShorts Film Festival, Clarity (2020), recipient of the Grand Jury Award at the Mammoth Film Festival, and La Ruta (2020), celebrated as a Gold Winner at The Telly Awards. Additionally, she has worked on numerous documentaries and commercials, collaborating with brands such as Prada, Gucci, Budweiser, Nike, and Piaget. She earned her MFA in Film & Television Production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and received a nomination for the American Society of Cinematographers Heritage Award. Moreover, she is a member of the International Collective of Female Cinematographers and an alumna of Film Independent′s Project Involve.
Tiana Ni is a production designer working across China and the U.S., holding an MFA degree in film production from Emerson College in Boston. Her works range from feature films, TV dramas and commercials. Most of them were selected for and won awards at the numerous international film festivals. Some of her recent works include All Tomorrow’s Parties (2022), which was selected for the Berlin International Film Festival 2023 and screened at the Hong Kong International Film Festival 2023. My Old Pal (2022), which won the Best Film for International Short Films at the Golden Rooster Awards 2022. Her visual approaches also extend to VFX and AI, embracing multiple techniques to explore art design.
Yiyao Zhu is a cinematographer based in Los Angeles and China. Her works One for Sorrow, Two for Joy (2022), In a Harry (2021), and Winston (2021) have been shown at Cannes Indie Shorts Awards 2022, LA Independent Women Film Awards, First International Film Festival in Xining and other film festivals worldwide. She currently focuses on narrative filmmaking, as well as commercials and documentary film projects. She graduated from Chapman University with a MFA in Cinematography, and her thesis film Paz (2020) was nominated by ASC Student Heritage Award. Her visual aesthetic is deeply inspired by traditional Chinese Shan Shui painting, and she excels at utilizing bold and minimalistic elements to challenge and expand viewer’s imagination beyond the boundary of camera frame. While she’s not hanging out with cameras, she enjoys playing with her calico cat Blueberry and competing in tennis tournaments.
Khozy Rizal is a filmmaker based in Makassar, Indonesia. His works often tackle identity, gender, sexuality and queer stories that are set in the east side of Indonesia that are rarely represented in Indonesian cinema. In 2021, he founded Hore Pictures, a production house based in Makassar and started to produce and direct several short films. Besides Makassar is a City for Football Fans (2021), and Ride to Nowhere (2022), he directed another short film called Basri & Salma in a Never-ending Comedy (2023) that was selected at the Cannes Film Festival 2023 and the film became the first Indonesian short film to compete for Short Film Palme d’Or.
Sadeq Es-haqi, born in Tehran in 1998, is a young filmmaker from Iran. With a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from the Soore University, he has gained extensive experiences as a writer, director, editor, dramaturge, and translator in both cinema and theater. His works are known for exploring important themes such as women′s issues, sexual identity, and the struggles of the queer community in Iran. His first short film, Collage (2019), has been selected for over 20 film festivals worldwide, and his second short film, Jouissance (2022), premiered at the Busan International Film Festival 2022, now continuing on the festival circuit of 30 international film festivals such as FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH. His first feature film project was selected for the prestigious Munich Film Up! program of 2022 and 2023, and won a special mention for the final pitching of the program. He is the guest artist for the fall program of Filmmakers Residency in Basel. He has also written several short screenplays that have been shortlisted or won prizes at national festivals. He is currently working on his third short film.
Saman Hosseinpuor is a Kurdish filmmaker from Iran. He started his work in 2006 acting in theater as a kid. He continued his study and received the bachelor’s and master’s degree in cinema. His focus is on Kurdish culture and making films about Kurdish people in Iran. He directed 10 fiction short films and he received more than 50 awards from festivals such as the Best Foreign Film award at the Early Bird International Student Film Festival 2018 and Vilko Filaç award at Kustendorf Film and Music Festival 2020. He has been a jury member of international film festivals such as the MikroFaF International Festival 2019 in Serbia and International Festival of Local Televisions 2019 in Slovakia. His works including The Man Who Forgot to Breathe (2017), The Last Embrace (2018), Slaughter (2018), The Other (2019), Congenital (2021) and Suitcase (2023) have been screened at the numerous festivals such as FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH 2021 and Drama International Short Film Festival 2023. He currently works on his short film, Son (2024).
Aigerim Satybaldy, born in 1988 in Kazakhstan, is a passionate film producer who began her career as a second assistant camera in 2006. With a master′s degree in Tourism from the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, she followed her true calling in the film industry. In 2012, she established an independent distribution company, A Films, to promote Asian films. She has successfully distributed and marketed over 30 titles. In 2022, A Films expanded its operations to include film development and production, reflecting her commitment to fostering talent and delivering captivating stories. Her filmography includes executive producing notable films such as The River (2018), which achieved global recognition and received awards at prestigious festivals like Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. She is currently working on upcoming feature projects, and she recently produced two debut short films, Sabyr (2022) and The Late Wind (2023).
Samara Sagynbaeva is a director and a producer from Kyrgyzstan, focusing on topics that reflect social and women′s problems in Central Asia. She studied intensive directing course at The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic. Currently, she has been making her upcoming films with European producers, with the support of Czech Film Fund, Current Time TV Channel, Audiovisual Producers’ Association, Studio FAMU and other organizations. While working in journalism, her debut short documentary The Heir (2016) won the Best Film award by choice of CIS film critics at the Umut Forum and her first short fiction film, The Swing (2019) participated in more than 40 festivals around the world and won several awards. She was an associate producer of the film The Road to Eden (2020) directed by the well-known filmmakers, Dastan Zhapar Uulu and Bakyt Mukul, which premiered at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.
A linguist-turned-storyteller, Pascale Asmar is a Lebanese producer who holds a dual PhD in Linguistics. She is an alumna of the Beirut-Locarno Industry Academy 2021, Busan Asian Film School 2021 and Asian Producers Network 2022. She co-wrote and co-produced two award-winning shorts, The Blind of the Cathedral (2015) and Perhaps Today (2017). She attended a writing residency at the Villa Bloch in Poitiers and participated in Jump In of the Poitiers Film Festival. She is currently working on several projects, developing her feature debut and co-producing a Pakistani short documentary, In Zainab’s Heaven (2023) which has been awarded the CrossCurrents International Doc Fund of Hot Docs in 2022 and the SFP5 Short Film Production Grant from Sharjah Art Foundation. She has also co-founded MovieTailor Pictures, a Beirut-based film production company that seeks to bridge the gap between Lebanon and the rest of the world through impactful rich stories that are yet to be told.
Munkhnasan Altanshagai, a young production designer based in Ulaanbaatar, has been making a name for himself in the industry. He started his career in 2019, working on music videos and TV commercials. Recently, he worked as a production designer on the short film Yellow Bus (2022), which premiered at the Tampere Film Festival 2023 and was selected at the Tenerife Shorts 2023. He also worked on City of Wind (2023) as a prop man and as an assistant director on If Only I Could Hibernate (2023), which was selected for the Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival 2023. He actively seeks opportunities to work on international projects to further enhance his skills and experience in the field.
Lin Htet Aung is a self-taught filmmaker born in 1998. He is interested in the concept of time, duration, history, archiving and projection. He is always seeking the magic of changing details in his environment through time and composes them as dysfunctional stories in his artworks. In his earlier days, he wrote avant-garde poems and published underground poetry books. He started making short films in 2017. In 2020, his experimental short film Estate (2020) won the Silver Screen Award for Best Director in Southeast Asian Short Film Competition at the Singapore International Film Festival 2020. His short film Once Upon a Time There Was a Mom (2023) has screened at International Film Festival Rotterdam and won the Principi Award at Lago Film Fest in Italy. His short films have been screened at LINOLEUM Contemporary Animation and Media Art Festival, Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg, Ruang Rantau Exhibition and Ecological Futurisms, among others. His films Seeking Wombs for Rebirths (2021) and Me and My Country Pornography (2022) have been selected for both online and on-site competitions at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen 2022.
Amar Maharjan is a freelance cinematographer based in Kathmandu, Nepal and the cofounder of cineasan.com, Nepali movie database website. After completing his undergraduate program in filmmaking, he has been involved in cinema as a cinematographer. He has been working in a range of projects such as music videos, TV commercials, short films, documentaries and two feature length films. The short film Heaven is Black (2015), won Audience Choice Award at the Toronto Nepali Film Festival, and Special Mention Award at the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival. A feature-length film Vismrit: Forgotten (2018) was selected at various festivals and won awards at the D.I.Y. Film Fest, Euro Kino International Festival in Czech Republic and Rejected Reels Film Festival. Another feature film Butterfly on the Windowpane (2020), which was selected for the New Currents, was premiered at the Busan International Film Festival 2020, and invited to the Dhaka International Film Festival 2022 and some others. He has just finished his documentary about Hari Budha Magar, who had summited the mount Everest with his artificial legs.
Surya Kumar Neupane, known professionally as Uttam Neupane, is a Nepali sound designer and mixer. He pays a lot of attention to the fact that stories in films should be told through sound, creating a world and making audiences immersed in the world. He won awards for the Best Sound Mixing at the National Film Award, Nepal, and he was awarded as an active member at the Cinema Audio Society in Hollywood, USA in 2020. His works include Chandra (2015), Dadyaa (2016), Silver Bangles (2017), Bulbul (2019), The Big Headed Boy, Shamans & Samuraies (2020), The Summit of the Gods (2021) and The Sound of Dreaming (2022), which have been screened at the Busan International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Cannes Film Festival, Oldenburg Film Festival and so on.
Awais Gohar is a cinematographer and director from Pakistan, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in film from the esteemed National College of Art, Lahore. He seamlessly intertwines the beauty of nature into his art, capturing moments that provoke profound contemplation. He has unique vision and profound understanding of the interplay between camera and light, which renders him capable of evoking emotions and ideas that go beyond the surface. Notably, he is the cinematographer of the critically acclaimed feature film Kamli (2022), which was selected for the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2023. Additionally, he lent his cinematographic expertise to the short film Republic of Wailing Trees (2023) which was selected at the prestigious UK Asian Film Festival 2023. Throughout recent years, he has skillfully directed and captured multiple short films including Beyond (2021), Until the Quiet Comes (2020), music videos, and fashion films in Pakistan.
John Michael Perez is a Filipino sound designer and re-recording mixer. Following his graduation with a degree in multimedia arts, he started his journey in sound for films in 2018. With a portfolio encompassing diverse projects ranging from films to commercials, he collaborated on the acclaimed documentary Aswang (2019), premiering at renowned festivals like DMZ International Documentary Film Festival and International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. His exceptional skills in audio-post production have earned him multiple awards in the Philippines for films such as Nervous Translation (2018), Mañanita (2019), and Cleaners (2019), each of which made its mark at esteemed film festivals worldwide such as International Film Festival Rotterdam, Tokyo International Film Festival, and Busan International Film Festival. He is also an alumnus of the Kyoto Filmmakers Lab 2022. His focus for the future is to continue his journey with sound, utilizing it as a powerful tool to the intricate depths of storytelling.
Tan Wei Ting was first trained in theater under ARTivate which is the youth wing of Drama Box, socially engaged theater company founded in 1990. She later went to the School of Arts, Design and Media in Nanyang Technological University, where she specialized in digital filmmaking. Her debut short film CA$H (2018), which she wrote, directed, and edited, was selected for International Competition at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival 2019 in France. Her latest short Love at Fifty (2022) was in competition at the Singapore International Film Festival 2022, and crossed half a million views on Our Grandfather Story. She was also an editor of My Father After Dinner (2015), which won Best Singapore Short Film at the Singapore International Film Festival 2015, and Still is Time (2017), which was selected in competition at the Uppsala International Short Film Festival 2018 in Sweden. Wei Ting believes in telling culturally-specific stories in honest forms.
Filmmaker Mohamad W. Ali. started his career in Syria during the war, graduating in Media from Damascus University. After working on many documentaries during the war, he moved to India at the age of 25 to join Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute. He is now based in India, directing films about his country, Syria like Father’s Footsteps (2023), Syrian Memories in India (2023), and The Memory Loop (2019). He has experiences to fit in each position on film sets, from pre-production to post-production, finalizing it with advanced technical knowledge. He is able to tell stories in a very authentic way as he went through the war. His main career goal is to direct feature films to show his country in a different way which is more real and true to Syria. His Film Father’s Footsteps (2023) won the Best Fiction Film award at the Sehsüchte International Student Film Festival 2023, and the Audience’s Favorite Short Fiction award at the Mediawave International Film and Music Festival 2023.
Liu Shih-Wen also known as Wen Lau graduated from the Department of Motion Picture of National Taiwan University of Art, and he is now a cinematographer of commercial films and feature films. He is good at diverging feelings with sensibility and concluding creation with rationality. The creative style is diverse and unrestricted, regardless of experience or genre framework. His work To the Sea (2021) was nominated for the Best Live Action Short Film at the Golden Horse Film Festival and the Brussels International Short Film Festival 2022. Additionally, it also received the Jury Special Award at the Golden Harvest Film Festival 2022. The other work Glowing Pains (2020) was nominated in the competition category at the FIRST International Film Festival 2020 and the Boston Asian American Film Festival 2020. He continues to create and is dedicated to telling a moving story with the most suitable visuals.
Anisa Sabiri is a director-producer from Tajikistan. For seven years, she was a tour guide while building a profile as an award-winning filmmaker. Among other festivals, her films such as The Crying of Tanbur (2018) and Rhythms of Lost Time (2021) premiered at the Busan International Film Festival and the Asian Film Archive. Having experienced the challenges of making films during the civil war in Tajikistan, she started a new wave of filmmaking by promoting film education by practice. She spoke about human rights, identity crisis and colonialism at the Berlinale, NPF Ted Talks and PEN International. For her activism, she had to move to London in 2019. She is an alumna of EFM Doc Toolbox 2023, Future Producers School of Sheffield DocFest 2023, goEast Talent Lab, CinéDoc-Tbilisi, and she is a member of Directors UK. With the support of the UK government scholarship, she graduated from the London Film School with the Award for Outstanding Screenwriting Student.
Harin Paesongthai earned his BA degree in Communication Arts from Rangsit University. As he was interested in film directing and editing, he was an intern at Phenomena Company, a production house specializing in TV commercials, and an assistant director with an award-winning TVC director, Thanonchai Sornsriwichai. Also, he has worked as an editor and post-production coordinator at Extra Virgin, a film production company of Pimpaka Towira who is an award-winning producer and director. He worked as a film editor at White Light Studio, a post-production laboratory in Bangkok, Thailand. He is an alumnus of the Editing Studio at Berlinale Talents 2017. His works including award-winning films such as Where We Belong (2019), Manta Ray (2018), and The Edge of Daybreak (2021) have been screened at the Busan International Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam and Venice Film Festival. Harin is a founder and film editor of Limbix Cut, an editing suite in Bangkok, Thailand.
Dan grew up in between the Vietnamese and French culture then moved to the US to study at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts for a BFA in Film & Television and a minor in Studio Art. She attempts to evoke emotions through body language, lighting and framing. That is why she decided to pursue cinematography, the silent side of storytelling. She has worked as a director of photography on more than 30 short films and 3 feature films in New York and Vietnam. She is the recipient of a Panavision grant and received National Best Cinematography at the Asian Academy Creative Awards 2021. Her camera work has been screened at Tribeca Film Festival, SXSW Film & TV Festival, Busan International Film Festival, amongst others. Dan is recorded to be the first Vietnamese female director of photography to capture a local feature film released in theaters in 2020 entitled Secrets of the Wind (2020).