S. Leo Chiang is a filmmaker based in San Francisco and Taipei. His most recent film, Island in Between, received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Short Film in 2024. His previous film, Our Time Machine, played at over 50 film festivals worldwide, winning 10 awards, and was nominated for a News & Documentary Emmy Award and a Gotham Award. In 2020, he directed two episodes of the Peabody Award-winning 5-part PBS series, Asian Americans, which traces the epic history of Asians in the US over the past 200 years. His other films include Emmy Award-nominated A Village Called Versailles, about the rebuilding and transformation of the Vietnamese American community in post-Katrina New Orleans (PBS Independent Lens); Out Run, which profiles the only LGBTQ+ political party in the world; Mr. Cao Goes to Washington (Inspiration Award 2012, PBS broadcast 2013); To You Sweetheart, Aloha (PBS broadcast 2006); One + One (CINE Golden Eagle Award 2002); and Safe Journey ( Short Movie Award 2002).

Besides his directing work, Leo served as a producer for After the Rain (Special Jury Award, Doc NYC 2021), and is producing the upcoming film My Sister-in-Law, the Prime Minister.  He has also collaborated with other filmmakers as an editor (True-Hearted Vixen, POV 2001; Recalling Orange County, PBS/VOCES 2006), and as a cameraman (United in Anger, MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight 2012; Ask Not, Independent Lens 2009; The Tailenders, POV 2006).

Leo holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical & computer engineering and received his MFA in film production from the University of Southern California. His work has received support from funders such as Sundance, Tribeca, ITVS, Creative Capital, Catapult Film Fund & CAAM. He has taught documentary production at the University of California at Santa Cruz, University of California at Berkeley, Northwestern University, and the Communication University of China. He is a co-founder of the Asian American Documentary Network (A-Doc) and previously the co-chair of New Day Films, the social-issue documentary distribution co-operative. Leo is a consulting producer for CNEX, the Chinese documentary foundation, and a Documentary branch member of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences (AMPAS).


2023 Island in Between, Director/Writer/Editor
2021 After the Rain, Producer
2020 Asian Americans, Director/Producer
2019 Our Time Machine, Director/Producer
2017 Eye, Camera, Producer/Camera
2016 Out Run, Director/Producer/Camera
2014 Limited Partnerships, Co-Producer/Camera
2012 Mr. Cao Goes to Washington, Director/Producer/Camera
2012 Still Around: Tita, Director/Camera
2010 A Village Called Versailles, Director/Producer/Camera
2005 To You Sweetheart, Aloha, Director/Producer/Camera
2004 A Few Drops in Cambodia, Director/Camera
2002 Safe Journey, Writer/Director
2002 One + One, Director/Producer



  • Nominee, Best Documentary Short Film, Academy Awards®


  • Winner, Peabody Awards


  • Best Cinematography in a Documentary Feature, Tribeca Film Festival
  • Winner: Documentary Competition, CAAMFest
  • Grand Jury Award, International Documentary Feature, LA Asian Pacific Film Festival
  • Best International Director; Best in Category “All in the Family”, Doc Edge
  • Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature Film, Indie Street Film Festival
  • Grand Prix for Best Documentary Film, Minsk International Film Festival Listapad
  • Best Editing, China Academy Awards of Documentary Film
  • Best of Fest Audience Award, Wakefield Doc Fest
  • Special Jury Award, Salem Film Fest
  • Jury Award – Best Documentary, Pordenone Docs Fest
  • Grand Prix China Screen d’Or, Les Écrans de Chine


  • Best Cinematography, LA Asian Pacific Film Festival
  • Centerpiece Presentation, TWIST Seattle Queer Film Festival
  • Opening Film, &PROUD Yangon LGBT+ Film Festival


  • Inspiration Award, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
  • Audience Award, New Orleans Film Festival
  • Best Documentary & Opening Night Film, DC APA Film Festival
  • Best Documentary, Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival
  • Audience Choice Award, Vietnamese International Film Festival
  • Centerpiece Presentation, Boston Asian American Film Festival


  • National Emmy®-Award nomination
  • Henry Hampton Award, Council on Foundations
  • Audience Award, New Orleans Film Festival
  • Audience Award, SF International Asian Am Film Festival
  • Audience Award & Call to Action Award, LA Asian Pacific Film Festival
  • Best Documentary, Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival
  • Best Documentary, Crossroads Film Festival
  • Third Eye Award, DisOrient Film Festival
  • Notable Video for Adults, American Library Association


  • Audience Award, LA Asian Pacific Film Festival
  • Special Recognition Award, Silver Images Film Festival


  • CINE Golden Eagle Award
  • Cable Positive Award, Silver Lake Film Festival