Filmmaker. Explorer. Happy Couch Potato.
Judie Yang (楊渝惠) is a Taiwanese independent director and filmmaker who works in Taiwan, U.S.A., and Japan. Graduated with a MFA Cinema degree from San Francisco State University in 2019, Judie explores the challenge of coming back home and the search of identity within the domain of Taiwanese diaspora in her works. Her thesis film Taiwanese Cha Cha Cha was official selections in the nation’s biggest Asian American film festivals, including CAAMFest and 43rd Asian American International Film Festival, while being awarded internationally. Her latest film, The Granddaughter Detective was funded by ChiaYi County in Taiwan. The film had its festival premiere in San Diego Asian American Film Festival in October 2020. (LinkedIn)
Judie was born and raised in Taiwan, but starting from age 3, she has been traveling between Taiwan and U.S.A., mostly for schools. This gives her a lots of opportunities to introduce myself in new environments and pushes me into thinking about who she am, what her relationship with Taiwan is, and how she should act in these new places as a Taiwanese. These experiences make “Taiwanese identity” a recurrent theme in Judie’s films.
How does being Taiwanese/Taiwanese American and/or community ally play a role in your life?
With my “nationality” often being denied, challenged, or misunderstood, being a Taiwanese means I’m born with this skepticism toward the existing structure. I can rarely feel settled in international occasions as I may, for example, being asked to present myself as of another nationality in order to be admitted to an event or to be allowed to enter a building.
This identity also helps me grow as a comedy filmmaker. The discomfort is so subtle and new to most parts of the world that I need to sharpen my storytelling skills to engage foreign audiences. Hopefully, this would invite them to want to know more about this culture.
If you could teach future generations 1 thing about being Taiwanese/Taiwanese American or Taiwan, what would it be?
The magic of Taiwanese peanut powder! It makes everything taste fantastic!
What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?
That the meaning of “MIT,” Made In Taiwan, becomes equivalent to high quality and fun. People would trust and want to know more about this brand with this unique culture.
Favorite memory of Taiwan/Taiwanese America?
I was super fortunate that my previous film, Taiwanese Cha Cha Cha was selected by several Asian American Film Festivals. There I met all these amazing Taiwanese American creators and audiences with who I could exchange ideas and felt understood and motivated. It’s a wonderful experience knowing that I’m not on this journey alone trying to get Taiwanese/Taiwanese American culture out.
Favorite Taiwanese food?
Gua Bao, Taiwanese Sausage with Sticky Rice, and Boba Milk Tea!!
Connect with Judie via email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Judie is currently in the development stage of her first feature film, JuJu Land. It’s set on an imagined island of Taiwan largely modeled from PengHu. Plot: An alien is coming to steal the religious icon from JuJu Land, an island 4 hours away from Taiwan. AhMi along with her cousin, who comes back to JuJu Land from the States for summer, needs to protect the island together while solving their own problems created by growing up in different cultures. The script is 90% done, and Judie is currently looking for creative collaboration and funding.