DESDEMONA CHIANG is a Taiwan-born American director and writer based in Seattle, WA and Ashland, OR. She works in a variety of genres, including new plays, Shakespeare, and musicals. Chiang is known for her visceral, no-nonsense approach to theatre, with her distinct point of view as an immigrant and Asian American woman, and an interest in using storytelling to spark social discourse.
Most recently, Chiang was awarded the Sundance Institute Asian American Fellowship, which aims to improve AAPI representation in the film and television industries over the long-term by cultivating AAPI talent and elevating their stories. Her TV pilot MADE IN USA been developed with the Sundance Episodic Intensive Lab, The Orchard Project, the Writers Lab, and was a winner of the WeScreenplay Diverse Voices Lab.
Awards/Affiliations: Princess Grace Award, Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Theatre, SDC John Gielgud Directing Fellowship, Drama League Film/TV Fellowship.
MFA Directing: University of Washington School of Drama.
Tara Austin is a film producer based in Los Angeles by way of London, Berlin, Montréal & Goa, India. A graduate of the AFI Producing program, (MFA 2022) Austin has always been drawn to international stories told by underrepresented voices. The 2022 queer horror short film, RINGING ROCKS, starring Hunter Doohan and produced by Austin premiered simultaneously at the Sun Valley Film Festival and Overlook Film Festival earlier this spring and will continue its festival run through fall 2023. Austin also produced the short film, DOG LOVER, which screened at the Newport Beach Film Festival, Tallgrass Film Festival and was a semi-finalist at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. It won Best Comedy Short at the DTLA fest, Best Short Film at Highland Park Independent Film festival and Best Short Film at the Broad Humor Festival. Before honing in on producing Austin studied film history and film theory and holds an MA in Film Studies from Concordia University, (Montréal, Canada) and a BA in Film Studies, from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Selena Leoni is an award-winning transnational producer from Italy and China, known for her social advocacy and humanistic storytelling. She’s a BAFTA Newcomers member and Film Independent’s Project Involve Producer Fellow. As a film, television, and multimedia producer with over 10 years of interdisciplinary experience, Selena developed and produced many acclaimed projects, including feature films, short films, VR scenarios, and documentaries, that have played and won awards in Academy Award-qualifying festivals such as Austin Film Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. As program director of Flip The Script Short Film Program, she empowers emerging filmmakers and champions underrepresented voices. With her passion for globalized character-driven stories and her experience in production, Selena continues to champion social inclusion and give a platform to those who have been historically marginalized in the film and television industry.
Milan Agarwal is a manager and head of international content at Tulsea, a strategic media and content management company which represents and advises various entities, including leading creative talent, production companies, and gaming, animation, and media startups. Milan works closely with clients to develop their projects and focuses on international opportunities bridging content and storytellers in India, Africa and Southeast Asia with the U.S. and Europe – including English and local language projects in feature film, television and digital media. Previously, Milan was a Director in Universal Pictures’ Film Strategy & Operations group. During his tenure, Milan managed the greenlighting process and supported executives during key negotiations. Milan was involved with several key financing, content and distribution deals, including partnerships with Blumhouse, Legendary, Perfect World, and Amblin Partners as well as the acquisition of Dreamworks Animation. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley.
Rayana Rasamee is a Thai-American cinematographer based in Los Angeles. As a product of immigrant parents, she is enamored with stories that examine the human experience while showcasing inclusive imagery representative of her upbringing. Rayana’s cinematography work encompasses narrative feature films, documentaries and commercials for world-renowned clients such as Toyota, Puma, WNBA, Palm Beach Tan and CoverGirl. Her career in film took off after deciding to pivot from a decade-long journey working in tech. In 2018, she was accepted to the inaugural class of the American Film Institute’s Cinematography Intensive for Women (CIW) and in 2022, she completed her MFA in Cinematography at the AFI Conservatory with support from AFI AWARDS Audi Scholarship, Tom Yoda Award and P.E.O. International.
JUSTINE ELLEN CHENProduction Designer
Justine Ellen Chen is a genderqueer, Chinese-American filmmaker working in Los Angeles. In their production design work, Chen is primarily interested in the way that space can hold a story and become a fluid, temporal archive. Their work is greatly informed by the displacement and dissonance of their identity within the context of their upbringing in a Southern California immigrant family, as well as their commitment to showcasing real complexity of underrepresented identities on and off screen today. Chen has production designed for union and non-union narratives and commercials, including Disney Launchpad, Film Independent Project Involve, Hillman Grad Rising Voices, and Hennessy X.O among others. Their work has been showcased at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, and Outfest. As a director, they are the recipient of the 2022 WAVE Grant and the 2021 Peregrine Collective Grant for their film ‘Inheritors.’ BFA film production, USC.
Born and raised in Singapore, Cheeyang Ng is an award-winning singer-songwriter who writes at the intersection of queer, Asian and immigrant stories. Recipient of the Princess Grace Award and the ASCAP Foundation’s Lucille & Jack Yellen Award, they have performed around the world, including Lincoln Center with Carole King and Carnegie Hall with a cappella group Vocalosity. They are the first Singaporean composer to headline a concert at the Millennium Stage at Kennedy Center, Joe’s Pub and Feinstein’s/54 Below. Musicals in development include EASTBOUND (2020 NAMT, Village Theatre) with Khiyon Hursey, MĀYĀ (2021 NAMT, Live & In Color, Hypokrit Productions) with Eric Sorrels and THE PHOENIX (Johnny Mercer’s Writers Grove at Goodspeed Musicals) with Desdemona Chiang & Eric Sorrels.