20 Asian directors whose work you should watch after Crazy Rich Asians
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Crazy Rich Asians' UK release date has been brought forward to mid September, and while the world is celebrating this groundbreaking moment for Asian representation, here's a list of Asian directors whose work you should be following.
1. Aneesh Chaganty
Photo by Tommaso Boddi - © 2018 Getty Images
His feature film debut Searching (2018) stars John Cho as a father looking for his missing daughter by following the breadcrumb trail of her internet presence. The innovatively staged thriller is fantastically gripping.
2. Ang Lee
Courtesy of IMDb
Known for classics like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Brokeback Mountain (2005), and Life of Pi (2012), Lee has long been a staple of Hollywood. With two directing Oscars under his belt, cinema simply wouldn't be the same without him.
3. Bong Joon-ho
Photo by Andreas Rentz - © 2017 Getty Images
This South Korean director is best known for his biting social commentary, made through dystopian sci-fi thrillers. Snowpiercer (2013) ironically stars Chris Evans aka Captain America as a rebel on a capitalist death train, while Okja (2017) critiques consumerism with equal parts horror and humour.
4. Cathy Yan
Source: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images North America
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5. Cary Joji Fukunaga
Photo by Kevin Winter - © 2015 Getty Images
Fukunaga directed the Mia Wasikowska/Michael Fassbender Jane Eyre (2011), as well as the terrifying child-soldier thriller starring Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation (2015). He also penned True Detective in 2014 (you know, the good season) as well as everyone's favourite clown movie It (2017).
6. Dan Kwan
Source: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images North America
Swiss Army Man (2016) was Kwan's feature film debut, starring Daniel Radcliffe in certainly his weirdest role since Harry Potter - a flatulent corpse. It's funny and heartwarming and strange ... you'd never guess that Kwan also directed the iconic music video for "Turn Down for What."
7. Destin Daniel Cretton
Photo by Kevork Djansezian - © 2014 Getty Images
Cretton has a brilliant working partnership with Oscar winner Brie Larson, who's starred in his two features Short Term 12 (2013), about a counsellor at a foster care facility, and The Glass Castle (2017) a beautiful and heartbreaking coming of age story.
8. Gurinder Chadha
You'll know this iconic director from her work bringing the British-Indian experience into the mainstream through films like Bend it like Beckham (2002), Bhaji on the Beach (1993), and Bride and Prejudice (2004). She also adapted everyone's fave tween novels into Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging in 2008.
9. James Wan
Courtesy of IMDb
Horror movie maestro Wan created the Saw franchise, as well as directing the Insidious and The Conjuring franchises too. The genre wouldn't be the same without him. He took on Furious 7 in 2015, and you'll catch him next with Aquaman later this year - the first Asian American director to take on a superhero film.
10. Jennifer Phang
Courtesy of IMDb
Phang's Sundance hit, futuristic sci-fi Advantageous (2015) brought her critical acclaim, and you'll have seen her work on TV shows such as The Exorcist, The Expanse, and Marvel's Cloak and Dagger.
11. Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Photo by Ethan Miller - © 2011 Getty Images
From the animation department on the first Kung Fu Panda film in 2008, Yuh Nelson directed Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) and 3 (2016). She also recently directed Amandla Sternberg in YA sci-fi dystopia The Darkest Minds (2018).
12. Jon M. Chu
© 2011 - Paramount Pictures
The movie of the moment, Crazy Rich Asians, is directed by Chu, who has also helmed projects such as Step Up 2 (2008) and 3 (2010), Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (2011), and Now You See Me 2 (2016). He's working on an adaptation of Lin Manuel Miranda's In The Heights, as well as Now You See Me 3, and an announced Crazy Rich Asians sequel.
13. Justin Lin
Photo by Todd Williamson - © 2016 Todd Williamson
Lin led the formative years of the Fast and Furious franchise - films 3-6, from 2006-2013, and he brought that winning combo of action sequences and found family feels to Star Trek Beyond in 2016. He's rumoured to be on board for the 9th and 10th F&F films too, and frankly we couldn't be happier.
14. Karyn Kusama
Source: Jason Merritt/Getty Images North America
Michelle Rodriguez launched her career with Kusama's explosive Girlfight (2000), while Jennifer’s Body (2009) defied all expectations by becoming a cult hit. Kusama's upcoming project, screening at TIFF this year, Destroyer (2018) stars Nicole Kidman as an undercover police detective reckoning with her past.
15. M. Night Shyamalan
© 2016 - Eugene Hsu
Shyamalan's twist endings are so legendary they have their own Cards Againt Humanity card. From Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense (1999) to Will Smith in After Earth (2013) and James McAvoy in Split (2016), Shyamalan certainly knows how to pick a compelling lead for his bold screenplays.
16. Mira Nair
Photo by Jennifer Graylock - © 2013 Jennifer Graylock
Nair made her feature film debut with Salaam Bombay! in 1988, quickly followed by Mississippi Masala in 1991, and Monsoon Wedding in 2001, depicting facets of the Indian-American immigrant experience. She also directed Reese Witherspoon's Vanity Fair (2004), Riz Ahmed in The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012), and Lupita Nyong'o in Queen of Katwe (2016).
17. Nisha Ganatra
Source: Getty Images
Ganatra wrote, directed, and starred in her debut feature Chutney Popcorn in 1999, about an Indian American lesbian who offers to surrogate for her infertile sister. She's also directed episodes of all your favourite TV shows - Big Time Rush, The Mindy Project, Mr Robot, Shameless, You Me Her, Girls, Dear White People, Fresh off the Boat, Brooklyn Nine-Nine - literally all of them!
18. Park Chan-wook
At Cannes © 2017 - Valery Hache
Park blew Hollywood away with his Korean/Japanese-language film The Handmaiden (2016), an adaptation of British novel Fingersmith, which resituates the class-focussed Victorian-set crime novel into Korea under Japanese colonial rule. A masterpiece of sensuality with a few twists you'll never see coming, this one's a must see.
19. Shubhashish Bhutiani
Source: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images Europe
Bhutiani's first feature Hotel Salvation (2016) is a touching and funny story about death. A work-focussed son takes his aging father to the holy city of Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges to die, but there they discover a closeness that might just be their salvation.
20. Vikram Gandhi
© 2016 - Juanito Aguil
Gandhi made a documentary in 2011 called Kumaré, where he pretends to be a spiritual Guru in Arizona, and builds a following before revealing his true purpose. He also directed Barry (2016) - a biopic of Barack Obama as one of the few black students at Columbia University in the 80s.