Who is Cathy Yan, The First Asian Female Director to Helm A DC Film?

Cathy Yan just made history by being the first Asian woman to direct a female-driven superhero movie. This is what we know about her.

Cathy Yan. Photo: IMDB

Born in mainland China, raised in Hong Kong and Washington

Yan, a filmmaker born in mainland China, is now based in New York City. She was raised in Hong Kong and Washington. She went to HKIS in Hong Kong. She graduated with an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business and an MFA from the Tisch Graduate Film Program.

She was a journalist before filmmaking 

Before her directorial career, she was a Wall Street Journal reporter working in New York, Hong Kong and Beijing. She was also one of the youngest writers in the paper’s history to land multiple stories on the front page.

She used to work with auteurs like Jia Zhangke 

Her directorial debut Dead Pigs was executive produced by China’s renowned independent film icon Jia Zhangke. It was shot with a bilingual crew with money from Alibaba Pictures – a film company under Alibaba Group, which owns the South China Morning Post – and Media Asia.

Her feature film debut ‘Dead Pigs’ is set in Shanghai and premiered at Sundance 

The Chinese-American director made her feature film debut Dead Pigs in the World Cinema Dramatic competition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in January. The film, which is a dark comedy about the conflicting social norms in contemporary China, won the special jury award for ensemble acting.

More on the new Harley Quinn film 

The main cast members of Suicide Squad include Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Killer Croc), Karen Fukuhara (Kitana), Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flag), Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang) and Will Smith (Deadshot).Photo: DC Comics

Based on the Birds of Prey comics storyline, the new project, an untitled all-female superhero movie, will feature the standout character from Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn, along with a slew of female characters from the DC universe.


–This article first appeared on South China Morning Post-STYLE.