Asian Female Director Brings Emotional Wuhan Story to Hollywood

Kay Zhang trailblazing filmmaker
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Photos: Kay Niuyue Zhang

Kay Zhang, (above) trailblazing filmmaker, producer, and creative force behind the award-winning film, Mother in the Mist is making waves in the film festival circuit and has her eyes set on Hollywood for more Asian representation.

Originally from Wuhan, Kay was inspired to make this film based on a story a family member shared when COVID-hit Wuhan. Moved by the struggles her fellow citizens were facing, Kay wishes to make a film about family and motherhood that resonates with us all.

Mother in the Mist follows Zhao (Shen Shi Yu), a new mother who has yet to see the daughter she gave birth to, and Snowie (Wang Xi Wen), a little girl fighting her own way to the heart of the catastrophic epidemic in the hope of seeing her mother. The two join forces, evading curfew and protocol to be with their loved ones.

After graduating from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in International Comparative Studies, and working as a bilingual Production Coordinator for a year, Zhang decided to pursue a long-standing love for films and filmmaking and attended USC School of Cinematic Arts for an MFA program in Film Production.

As a producer, several of her short films and features were screened at Oscar-qualifying film festivals internationally including Flickers' Rhode Island IFF, St. Louis IFF, USA Film Festival, and Beijing IFF, and won the 27th DGA Student Film Awards Best Women Filmmaker, Gold Medalist of the 47th Student Academy Awards, and Special Jury Prize at the BAFTA Student Film Awards.

Her projects have been funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, FOX Fellowship Endowment Fund, Moustapha and Malek Akkad Endowed Fund, Lisa Lu Foundation, Jack Larson, and James Bridges Merit Fund, and several other generous funds. She worked as a Key PA in renowned TV and feature films such as Spongebob Squarepants season 9-12, Bureau 749 by Chinese director Lu Chuan, and Normal Heros from Alibaba Studios.

Zhang’s creativity is inspired by her experience as an international citizen, constantly crossing borders both physically and culturally. Her passion is to depict stories that reflect nuanced emotions and struggles of diverse women and children.

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