Meet an AWC Alum: Evan Jackson Leong

The Armed With a Camera Fellowship for Emerging Media Artists has recently opened its call for Fellows for its 2016-2017 cycle. Applications are due October 7, 2016. For submission guidelines and more info, click here.

What’s been keeping you busy? How has life been after AWC? What projects are you currently working on right now?
It has been almost 15 years since I did AWC and I've been busy freelancing, creating, and honing the craft since my fellowship. I'm currently working on my first feature film SNAKEHEAD.

How did you first hear about AWC? What made you decide to apply?
I heard about AWC in the early years of the program. Justin Lin or Ernesto Foronda told me to apply and I'm glad I listened. Back then, there weren't a lot of opportunities to experience a program like this one.

Tell us, how has the program experience challenged your filmmaking process?
The fact that you have to share you work with other filmmakers in the editorial stage challenges your growth and you are faced with other peer's opinions. Since I didn't go to film school, being around other artists that were on the same level as me was awesome.

How did it feel to be a part of the AWC Fellowship - working amongst AAPI filmmakers?
I appreciate working with filmmakers from my own community because our narratives are aligned and there is a common thread in all the stories we tell. This creates a safe place for creativity and we are innately sensitive to the cultural references.

Who do you think would benefit most of the AWC Fellowship?
I think all young AAPI filmmakers benefit the most from the fellowship. When you work with AWC you are exposed to seasoned filmmakers and the process on a level that is always beneficial for a budding filmmaker. We can always learn.

Evan Jackson Leong is a 6th generation Chinese American director and documentary filmmaker and is the founder of Arowana Films. Evan is known for his documentar Linsanity abou eremy Lin, which made its world premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. A majority of his work is based in the Asian American community. He directed the documentary 1040: Christianity in the New Asia (2012) and the documentary short T Genesis (2002), which tracks the behind ­the­ scenes making of and trajectory of Justin Lin's film, Better Luck morrow. Under the mentorship of Justin Lin, Evan honed his craft directing various music videos, short films, commercials, and documentaries in the Los Angeles Asian American community. Evan then moved to New York working for MTV News and other various cable networks. In addition to directing, Evan is a capable cinematographer, steadicam operator, photographer, and editor. In short form digital, he has worked on various projects with Michelle Phan. And some of his most recent work has been with the acclaimed fashion influencer Chriselle Lim.