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WAYNE WANG (Director) is a key figure in the development of independent filmmaking, alternating major Hollywood studio films such as "The Joy Luck Club" with smaller, independent work like "Smoke" - and garnering significant acclaim for both kinds of films. Wang most recently directed "Chinese Box," starring Jeremy Irons and Gong Li.

Born in Hong Kong where his family had fled from China after the Communist take-over in 1947, Wang graduated from Wah Yan Jesuit High School, then came to the United States at 18 to study film at California College of the Arts and Crafts in Oakland.

Wang's first feature film was his graduate student project, "A Man, A Woman, a Killer," co-directed with Rick Schmidt. Then, returning to Hong Kong with a Masters degree and a feature film under his belt, Wang went to work at the public broadcasting outlet R.T.H. (Radio and Television Hong Kong), which had become a launching pad for a whole group of young film school-trained directors who were creating what came to be known as the "Hong Kong New Wave." While there, Wang directed several episodes of the landmark realistic drama series "Below the Lion Rock," about the daily lives of ordinary Hong Kong citizens.

But Wang was frustrated by the cramped creative atmosphere and bureaucracy of the Crown Colony and decided to return to the U.S. to do social work. He moved into San Francisco's Chinatown and took a job working with new immigrants from Asia.

His experiences in Chinatown inspired Wang's second feature film, the critically acclaimed "Chan is Missing," which used an enigmatic thriller plot as a vehicle to explore social conflicts and political divisions in the neighborhood. Made in 16mm black & white, for just $27,000, produced, directed, written and edited by Wang, Chan is Missing was a decade ahead of the recent wave of "micro-budget" successes like "El Mariachi" and "Clerks."

Wang's third feature, "Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart," had its world premiere in the Director's Forgtnight at the Cannes Film Festival and received a British Academy Award nomination as Best Foreign Film.

Seeking a dramatic change of pace in both tone and subject matter, Wang then directed the all-Anglo thriller "Slamdance," a neo-noir melodrama starring Tom Hulce, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Virginia Madsen.

New York's Chinatown was both the setting and subject of Wang's next film "Eat a Bowl of Tea," a period drama set in the 1940s and starring Wang's wife Cora Miao and Russell Wong. This was followed by "Life is Cheap...But Toilet Paper is Expensive," a gangster comedy filmed in Hong Kong.

Next came Wang's first film for a Hollywood studio, "The Joy Luck Club," based on the best-selling novel by Amy Tan, then "Smoke," based on novelist Paul Auster's original screenplay, and starring Harvey Keitel, William Hurt and Forrest Whitaker. The film won the Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival and was nominated for France's Czsar Award for Best Foreign Film. It was an enormous box-office success in Europe and Asia. Wang and Auster also co-directed "Blue in the Face," a second story employing many of the same actors and settings as "Smoke."


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