Chloe Zhao: who is she and why is she important?

Arlina Yang, Staff Writer

While the name, Chloe Zhao, is most likely unfamiliar to most, she has made history as the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated for the Golden Globe category for best director. 

Chloe Zhao is a Chinese film maker, who studied film production at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Her rise to fame started off with her first debut film, ‘Songs My Brothers Taught Me’, that featured a relationship between a Native American, specifically Lakota Sioux, brother and sister. In 2015, It first premiered in the Sundance Film Festival and was also shown at the Cannes Film Festival. And the film was eventually nominated for Best First Feature at the 31st Independent Spirit Awards.

In 2017, her second film ‘The Rider’ was also played in the Cannes Film Festival and won not only the Art Cinema Award, but also nominations for Best Feature and Best Director at the 33rd Independent Spirit Awards.

Her most recent film, ‘Nomadland’, released on Hulu on Feb. 19, 2021 has already received the Golden Lion Award since it’s premiere at the Venice Film Festival. She won the People’s Choice Award at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, Best Picture by Toronto Film Critics Association, and many more. It was for this film that she made history as the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated for the category of Best Director of the Golden Globe.

And her upcoming films including the untitled Bass Reeves biopic with Amazon Studios, ‘Dracula’ with Universal Studios, and ‘Eternals’ with Marvel Studios. Zhao, an indie filmmaker, became the third woman and the second woman of color to work on the studio’s upcoming projects. She is also the second Asian woman to take over a major superhero film, the other being Cathy Yan, who took on Birds of Prey by D.C.

As a woman of color and talented filmmaker, Zhao has opened doors to filmmakers with diverse backgrounds with her multiple ground-breaking accomplishments. And with many forthcoming films directed by her, we are sure to see more incredible works from Chloe Zhao in the future.