“I think every time when the world shakes or something happens that really changes our lives, people look to storytellers to make sense of things. So, more than ever, I think this is an important time for you to listen, to look around you, and to be inspired,” Oscar-winning filmmaker Chloé Zhao (Nomadland, Songs My Brothers Taught Me) emphasizes in her webinar on Finding Your Way as a Filmmaker. In recent years, Zhao has inspired and taught us, not only with the stories she tells but with her own career trajectory and unique artistic approaches.
Within the past decade, Zhao has gone from the Graduate Film program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts to writing, directing, and even editing three indie features. The first, Songs My Brothers Taught Me, premiered in the 2015 Sundance Film Festival’s US Dramatic Competition and garnered her an Independent Spirit Awards nomination for Best First Feature. Her second feature, The Rider, premiered in the 2017 Cannes Film Festival’s Director’s Fortnight selection where it won the Art Cinema Award. For her most recent film, Nomadland, she won the Oscar for Best Director and Best Picture, and she's now going on to direct Marvel Studios’ Eternals. Read on for the important lessons she has learned along the way.