Cinema Escapist is a web publication with a mission to explore and connect the world through a cinematic lens.
To this end, we don’t focus on Hollywood. Instead, we comment on international films and television using a unique bent.
Normal critics ask: “why is this movie good or bad?”
We ask: “what can you learn from this movie, and why does it matter?”
This distinct focus has allowed us to…
- Interview luminaries from dozens of countries including Syria and Ukraine.
- Get advance movie/TV screeners from partners like HBO.
- Provide updates from events like the Berlin International Film Festival.
We take this approach because media and society are intimately intertwined. Movies, television, and other visual media are not only art, but also portals for intellectual discovery. Intentionally or not, they reflect the politics, history, geography, and culture of the societies that produce them.
Therefore: by better understanding media from different parts of the world, we can bridge cultures and create opportunities for mutual understanding.
Anthony Kao, Founder and Editor-in-Chief
By day, Anthony is a technology product manager in Silicon Valley. By night, he runs and writes for Cinema Escapist. Anthony has an intellectual fascination with East Asian politics and totalitarian regimes like North Korea and East Germany. His favorite films include Empire of the Sun, Yi Yi, and The Fog of War.
Richard Yu, Asia Editor and Co-Founder
Richard is currently living in China working on tech products, and originally hails from California. He dreams of spreading Asian cinema around the world. His favorite films include My Old Classmate and The Battle of Red Cliff.
Akshay Suggula, Co-Founder
Akshay is on the M&A and VC team at PayPal, helping them buy and invest in world-class, next generation Fintech companies. “Cinema deciphers the soul,” or so he says. His favorite films include Lost in Translation and Whisper of the Heart.
Oscar Harding, Africa & Diaspora Editor
British-born Irishman Oscar has been engaged with the cinema of the African continent and Diaspora for several years now. He previously worked on the Jordanian Academy Award-nominee Theeb and various other films, TV series, documentaries, and VR Projects. His favorite films include The Dark Knight, Cinema Paradiso, White God, Oldboy, and Pan’s Labyrinth.
Jake Goldwasser, Europe Editor (Emeritus)
Jake is a polyglot and coordinates translations for Khan Academy. In addition to language, he is interested in poetry, cartooning, DIY, color, music, myth, and geography. Some of his favorite movies are Psycho, Annie Hall, In Bruges, The Lives of Others, and Brooklyn.
Leo Schwartz, Latin America Editor (Emeritus)
Leo is a content junkie and has mostly worked in media on the dreaded side of PR. He has lived in Buenos Aires and Spain and is excited to spend all of his time watching Latin American movies in a productive manner. His favorite films include Amores Perros, Y Tu Mamá También, The Master, Wet Hot American Summer, and Synecdoche, New York.
Emily Hsiang, Staff Writer
Emily is a film editor with a background in Anthropology and strong interests in popular culture and mass media. Her past works include documentaries (Hanzi, Maker) and narrative films (sci-fi Paradoxical, thriller The Very Last Day). Her favorite films include Mad Max: Fury Road, The Wedding Banquet, and Clueless.
Jianne Soriano, Staff Writer
Jianne is a Hong Kong born and raised Filipino, now working in Tokyo as a travel and social media writer for a travel website. She majored in journalism at Hong Kong Baptist University, and has directed and produced her own documentary on the experiences that ethnic minority youths face in Hong Kong. She loves South Korean dramas and East Asian cinema, especially the works of Hirokazu Kore-eda, Shunji Iwai, Wong Kar-wai, Lee Chang-dong, and Makoto Shinkai.
Xingting Gong, East Asia Editor
Xingting is currently a PhD candidate at Stanford University. In her spare time, she loves to write about and watch all forms of media (movies, TV, anime, etc). Since films have the ability to reach billions of people all over the world, Xingting believes it is especially important to highlight the ones that tell meaningful stories. Her favorite movies include Edge of Tomorrow, The King’s Speech, and of course, Gully Boy.
James Guild, Staff Writer
James is a PhD candidate in political economy currently based in Indonesia. He writes about politics, economics, food, travel and film on his blog. At Cinema Escapist, James primarily covers the Indonesian film scene, which is experiencing a burst of innovative output made by Indonesians and for Indonesians thanks to the rise of talented young directors and industry reforms.
Sharon Rwakatungu, Staff Writer
Born and raised in Uganda, Sharon’s main contribution to the African film industry is through a weekly film podcast called Cinema Red Pill. She dreams of becoming a filmmaker someday. Her favorite films include Bamako, Punch-Drunk Love, and Grave of the Fireflies.
Boukary Sawadogo, Staff Writer
Boukary is Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies at the City College of New York. He has published extensively on African cinema. Outside the classroom, he runs a Facebook page and YouTube channel on “African Cinema Talk Series,” and is also the producer and director of a comic web series on the experience of West African immigrants in New York City.
Katy Stewart, Staff Writer
Katy grew up on a diet of musicals, Westerns, and Audrey Hepburn films, but developed a love of independent cinema from around the world through learning foreign languages. She is a PhD Candidate at the University of Sheffield researching Francophone and Lusophone African cinema in the digital age. Her favorite films include Timbuktu, Girlhood, and My Fair Lady.
Margaret Redlich, Staff Writer
Margaret currently works at a software start-up and has a masters in media studies from DePaul University, and is also the author of the book Don’t Call It Bollywood and the blog www.dontcallitbollywood.com. She has been a devoted fan of Indian film for the past 13 years ever since she saw Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge on the big screen and fell in love with Shahrukh Khan. Her favorite films include Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Bahubali, and Ohm Shanthi Oshaana.
Timothy Niwamanya, Staff Writer
Timothy is a writer and filmmaker based in Uganda’s capital city of Kampala. He is also one of the people behind the Ugandan film podcast Cinema Red Pill. His favorite films are I Vitelloni, Come Back Africa, Persona, Goodfellas, Memento, Requiem for a Dream, and Viva Riva!
Jordan Li, Staff Writer
Jordan studied History and Asian Studies at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Besides enjoying movies, Jordan has a passion for aviation modeling and military history. His favorite films include Time of Eve and Good Will Hunting.
Fred Han, Staff Writer
A recent graduate of Ohlone College with a degree in Respiratory Therapy, Fred is an amateur badminton player and a huge fan of romantic comedy Korean dramas. Fred came to the US from Korea when he was in 3rd grade. His favorite films/K-dramas include Inception, A Taxi Driver, Oh My Ghost, and Sungkyunkwan Scandal.
Matt Gill, Staff Writer
A recent Muhlenberg College graduate, Matt is a Queens-based writer who divides his time between freelance film writing and an internship at Civilian Magazine. Though he asserts that the only movie that has ever made him cry is Quincy, a few that get him close are George Washington, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Old Joy.
Lorna Codrai, Staff Writer
Lorna Codrai is a freelance writer and film journalist who splits her time between the UK and the UAE. She is never happier than when in the cinema, preferably with the screen to herself, or when has just discovered a hidden gem. Her favorite films include Cool Hand Luke, Fight Club, Caramel, Stand By Me, and Theeb.
Elizabeth Li, Staff Writer
Elizabeth Li graduated as a film/animation major. She is currently a coordinator, illustrator, and designer for Stanford Children’s Health. In her spare time, she loves to consume all forms of media and reflect on how movies shape our lives. Her favorite films include The Grand Budapest Hotel, Redline, and Akira.
Srujana Yadlapalli, South Asia Editor
Srujana is a Boston-based consultant at Bain & Company who loves watching films in a variety of languages. She strongly believes there is no outlet more powerful than TV and film through which to influence and impact society at large. Some of her favorite films include C/o of Kancharapalem, Banglore Days, and Taare Zameen Par.
Brenda Chang, Staff Writer
Brenda graduated as a Computer Science/English major, and works as a software developer. In her spare time, she likes to consume media in various forms: books, music, and of course, movies. She enjoys a regular Sunday routine of getting coffee, hunting for used books, and wandering around Bryant Park. Her favorite films include Chungking Express, Millennium Mambo, The Piano Teacher, and Mulholland Drive.
Jamin Shih, Staff Writer
Jamin is a Lecturer of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Merced. He researches the political impacts of popular culture on contemporary contested sovereignty movements, particularly in a Taiwanese context. His favorite films include Pan’s Labyrinth, Knives Out, and Sorry to Bother You.
Arjun Baokar, South Asia Editor
Arjun is drawn to stories by their potential to change what people believe, and loves to explore the strengths of different story-telling mediums (including movies of course!). He primarily writes fiction and poetry, and dabbles in a little screenplay on the side. His favorite films include 3 Idiots, BlacKKKlansman, Lage Raho Munna Bhai, and Andhadhun, but he also really enjoys watching universally hated movies.
Jackie Chen, Staff Writer
Jackie is based in Los Angeles and works in entertainment finance. In her spare time, she enjoys writing fiction, reading about popular culture, and hosting murder mystery dinner parties. Her favorite films include Blindspotting, Parasite, Sleepless in Seattle, and Princess Mononoke.
Lindsay Wong, Staff Writer
Lindsay is a history and Asian studies double major from the University of Melbourne with a passion for writing. Having lived in New York City, Tokyo, Singapore, and Melbourne, she loves exploring movies from all around the world. However, she has a particular affinity towards Korean and anime. Her favorite films and K-dramas include Parasite, Midnight Runners, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, and anything by Studio Ghibli.
Woojin Lim, Staff Writer
Woojin Lim is a freelance political journalist and film reviewer who currently studies philosophy at Harvard University. On the side, he has interviewed Asian artists and co-published a philosophy-themed column. Having lived in Seoul, Vancouver, Tokyo, and Cape Town, he loves to embark on new adventure travels. His favorite films and K-dramas include Burning, Waking Life, Oldboy, When the Camellia Blooms, and Be Melodramatic.
Justin Chor Yu Liu, Staff Writer
Justin is a candidate for an MFA in Film and TV Production at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. He recently graduated from Northwestern University, majoring in radio/television/film, gender and sexuality studies, and Asian humanities. Born and raised in Hong Kong, his favorite movies are Yi Yi, Moonlight, Weekend (2011), and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Cinema Escapist is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization registered with the United States Internal Revenue Service and California’s Secretary of State. Our Federal Tax ID number is 83-0922032.
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