2016 AWC FELLOWS
Sumiko Braun is a filmmaker, actor, writer, scholar, community advocate, and mother hailing from Carson. She strives to create meaningful nuanced work that explores the beautiful brutal depths of humanity with characters differently situated in the spectrum of experience and inbetweenness. Sumiko is a M.A. Candidate in Asian American Studies at UCLA. Her master’s thesis is a documentary short that examines U.S. colonialism and empire through the diasporic experiences of Samoans living in LA’s South Bay. Through UCLA’s EthnoCommunications program, she also directed the documentary short MASTER OF THE SKY: THE LIFE AND ART OF SAM KOJI HALE. Oddly, Sumiko is best known for her role in sci-fi cult classic SHARKNADO (SYFY), and can also be seen on SECRETS AND LIES (ABC) and EXTANT (CBS). She also produced and acted in THIS LAST LONELY PLACE, which premiered at the Newport Beach Film Festival and screened at Cannes.
Conrad Lihilihi was raised in O’ahu, Hawai'i and it wasn't until his sophomore year in high school, through a film assignment given to him by his English teacher, did Conrad realize his passion for filmmaking. Conrad moved to Seattle, WA to attend the University of Washington and created his own major, Ethnic Identities in Film. Determined to pursue an entertainment career, Conrad moved to Los Angeles in the summer of 2008. Upon moving to Los Angeles, Conrad gained invaluable directing experience both shadowing the directors and working as a Production Assistant on NBC's Emmy winning show, THE OFFICE. He then went on to work in both Production and Post Production on numerous projects for NBCUniversal, E! Entertainment, Sony, FOX, MTV, SpikeTV, Defy Media, Asylum, and Gametrailers. He currently resides in Los Angeles directing/editing music videos and commercials, and is a Video Editor for Warner Bros. subsidiary, Telepictures.
Quyên Nguyen-Le is a queer Vietnamese-American filmmaker from Los Angeles, who recently finished studying Comparative Literature and Philosophy, Politics, & Law at the University of Southern California. Currently, Quyên is focused on creating projects that make social justice mainstream and accessible.
Tulica Singh began her career writing and filming in between bartending and waitressing shifts in New York City. In two years she created 30 shorts, before deciding to pursue graduate school. In 2012 she was accepted into USC's School of Cinematic Arts. Her short film DREAM GIRL was screened in eight festivals including the academy qualifying Palm Springs International Film Festival, winning awards for best comedic short. It was then screened in festivals across Germany as part of a distribution deal with Salzgeber & Co. In 2013 she received the prestigious Jon Huston Scholarship for excellence in directing. Her web series CROISSANT MAN has been in 20 festivals sweeping categories and winning 13 awards, including the prestigious Vimeo Staff Pick, best web series and outstanding writing. The show will make history as one of the first short-form independent web series to be distributed through Amazon Prime.
Kayla Tong is a cinematographer-editor graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. She is originally from Hong Kong and moved to Los Angeles, where she is currently based, at the age of 15. She was a cinematography fellow in the Asian Film Academy of the Busan International Film Festival in 2014. Through her films, she hopes to tell real stories of the marginalized and to help audiences rediscover the spark in humanity. She enjoys experimental art and carry that spirit in her work. As an avid traveller, Kayla has been to 26 countries. Her dream is to become a nomadic filmmaker and experience different cultures of the world.
Faroukh Virani is a Los Angeles based director and editor who has completed studies in Film Production at USC's School of Cinematic Arts (MFA) and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts (BFA). Faroukh serves as an Assistant Editor on CW's series iZOMBIE with past credits on GOTHAM and the upcoming CONTAINMENT. Growing up, his parents operated an Indian video rental store and the style of 'Bollywood' cinema greatly influences his creative work. Faroukh’s USC Thesis film, VIMANA, has screened at various film festivals including the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, CAAMFest, and most recently part of PBS’ Online Film Festival.
Stanley Wong grew up in Louisiana and got a degree in film from the University of New Orleans, disappointing his overbearing Asian parents. Stanley has made numerous award winning short films, most notably PAC MAN: THE MOVIE, which gathered 4+ millions views and was featured on MTV, G4, Collegehumor, and even the Washington Post. After graduation, Stanley and a group of classmates made the feature film STEVE CHONG FINDS OUT THAT SUICIDE IS A BAD IDEA, which he produced, starred, edited, and contributed to the story. It premiered at the TCL Chinese Theaters as part of the Dances with Films Festival and won the Audience Award at the Asian American International Film Festival. Stanley also played the token Asian in the "Jump Street" series and will appear in the upcoming movie THE BIG SHORT opposite Ryan Gosling and Steve Carrell.