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Chloe Zhao

Chloe Zhao

Chloé Zhao has made history by becoming the first woman of colour – and only the second woman at all – to win the best director award at the Oscars.

Known primarily for her work on American independent films. Her debut feature film, Songs My Brothers Taught Me, premiered at Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim and earned a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature.

Zhao has been recognised as one of the most distinctive and talented filmmakers to emerge in recent years.

Born in Beijing, her father was a successful steel executive and her step-mother is the well-known Chinese comedy actress Song Dandan.

In her best director acceptance speech, Zhao said: “I’ve been thinking a lot lately of how I keep going when things get hard. I think it goes back to something I learned when I was a kid.

When I was growing up in China, my Dad and I used to play this game. We would memorise classic Chinese poems and texts, and we would recite them together and try to finish each other’s sentences.

There’s one that I remember so dearly, it’s called the Three Character Classics. The first phrase goes… ‘People at birth are inherently good.’ Those six letters had such a great impact on me when I was a kid, and I still truly believe them today.

Even though sometimes it might seem like the opposite is true, I have always found goodness in the people I met, everywhere I went in the world.

So this is for anyone who had the faith, and the courage to hold on to the goodness in themselves, and to hold on to the goodness in each other, no matter how difficult is to do that.

And this is for you. You inspire me to keep going.”

Her next film will be a departure – a Marvel comic blockbuster, Eternals.


Her next film will be a departure – a Marvel comic blockbuster, Eternals.


A woman in her sixties embarks on a journey through the western United States after losing everything in the Great Recession, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.

THE RIDER (2018)

Once a rising star of the rodeo circuit, and a gifted horse trainer, young cowboy Brady is warned that his riding days are over after a horse crushed his skull at a rodeo. In an attempt to regain control of his own fate, Brady undertakes a search for a new identity and what it means to be a man in the heartland of the United States.


This complex portrait of modern-day life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation explores the bond between a brother and his younger sister, who find themselves on separate paths to rediscovering the meaning of home.

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