Yi Chen Studio Founder Yi Chen Honored as April Filmmaker of the Month

Monday, April 1, 2013
Emerging filmmaker recognized for outstanding documentary on historic DC neighborhood

The District of Columbia Office of Motion Picture and Television Development (MPTD) is pleased to recognize Yi Chen, emerging filmmaker and founder of Yi Chen Studio, as the April 2013 Filmmaker of the Month. Her work, which uses both narrative and documentary style filmmaking to explore the diverse and complex issues of the nation’s capital, has already received recognition locally and nationally.

Yi Chen began her filmmaking career with the release of a narrative short entitled “FL 324”. Shot on black and white 16mm film on location in the District, the film is a story of alienation and reconciliation faced by a young Asian gay man in the midst of a family conflict. The film premiered at the 10th annual DC Independent Film Festival and was selected by the Heritage Film Festival in Maryland, the Falls Church Film Festival in Virginia, as well as the Katra Film Series in New York. Yi also won two Peer Awards for Best Narrative Short at the 2010 Our City Film Festival.

The success of the film led to the founding of Yi Chen Studio in 2008, a boutique production company where Chen produced and directed her second independent project “Chinatown.” The film is a half-hour vérité documentary about one of the District’s oldest ethnic communities. The film’s intimate observation of the residents sheds light on the intricate cultural and social issues facing the gentrified neighborhood. Chen presented the film at the 2013 Our City Film Festival as part of the Atlas Performing Arts Center’ INTERSECTIONS Art Festival. She’s currently working on outreach and community engagement for the film, in addition to researching for her next project. 

Yi’s interest in giving the voiceless a voice through visual storytelling also reflects in her freelance work for clients including the United Nations, Link TV, MIT TechTV, History Channel, and PBS. Two Public Service Announcements she edited for Nothing But Nets, a global grassroots campaign to end malaria deaths, debuted on the 55 feet tall Toshiba Vision screen in Times Square. 

Yi’s love for cinema started when she was writing film reviews for her college newspaper.  Now a freelance reporter for the Asian Fortune newspaper, she has written reviews of Chinese director Feng Xiaogang’s 2012 war epic “Back to 1942” as well as the Freer Gallery’s Korean Film Festival DC. She currently lives in Ward 3 of the District of Columbia.

The DC Film Office launched the Filmmaker of the Month initiative to feature a District-based filmmaker who exemplifies the vast amount of talent and creativity based here in the nation’s capital. The Filmmaker of the Month initiative is part of its mission to elevate the national and international profile of the city’s most talented filmmakers. Previous filmmakers honored include Metro Teleproductions founder Dave Lilling, Jezebel Filmworks’ founder Ada Babino, Time Traveling Media founder Lawrence Green, and Stone Soup Films Founder Liz Norton.

You can visit the Filmmaker of the Month section to learn more about Yi and previous Filmmaker of the Month recipients.

***Do you know a filmmaker you would like to see featured as the DC Film Office’s Filmmaker of the Month”? If so, please forward your suggestion to [email protected].