Celebrate the A100, the most impactful Asian Pacific Leaders.

Cathy Yan

Director, Writer & Producer

Cathy Yan is a filmmaker known for her distinct aesthetic, darkly humorous tone and love for subverting typical genre rules and telling unconventional stories. Her debut film, DEAD PIGS, which she wrote and directed, won the Special Jury Prize for ensemble acting at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, among several other accolades. The film, which is set in Shanghai, came to fruition after she read a news story about 16,000 dead pigs mysteriously floating down the Huangpu River.


Most recently, Yan directed the critically acclaimed DC film, BIRDS OF PREY: AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN, starring Margot Robbie as the titular character Harley Quinn in the first ever female team-up comic book film. Directing this film made her the first Asian woman to direct a superhero film and only the second female director ever to direct a superhero film. Additionally, she is slated to direct and produce A24’s film adaptation of SOUR HEARTS, a beautiful collection of short stories by Jenny Zhang. Yan will also co-write the script for the film along with Zhang. The film will be an autobiographical coming-of-age story about the immigrant experience from the point of view of a young girl whose parents relocate from Shanghai to New York in the ’90s.


Yan studied at Princeton University, where she earned her BA, and New York University, where she received a dual MFA and MBA in film. Previously, she was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal in New York, Hong Kong and China, and brings her sharp, journalistic instincts to her filmmaking. Yan was born in China and is currently based in New York.