Washington D.C. based documentary filmmaker Yi Chen is a Soros Equality Fellow and DC Arts and Humanities Fellow. Born and grew up in Shanghai, Yi immigrated to the US in 2003 and 2020 is her first-time voting. Her debut feature First Vote - about Asian American voters in battleground states - is an official selection at the 2020 AFI DOCS, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival, CAAMFest, LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, Vancouver Asian Film Festival, and more. The film is playing in virtual cinema followed by national broadcast premiere on WORLD Channel's American ReFramed series in October. It's also currently on a campus and community tour across the US through GOOD DOCS and its GOOD TALKS speaker series.
Yi’s work has been supported by the Ford Foundation JustFilms, Open Society Foundations, Center for Asian American Media, ITVS, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Kartemquin Films and Southern Documentary Fund. Her projects have participated in DCTV Docu Work-In-Progress Lab, DOC NYC Pitch Perfect, UC Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program, KTQ Labs, Docs In Progress, Tribeca IF/Then Midwest Pitch, and Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival DX Pitch.
Yi’s short films have screened at the Environmental Film Festival, SAG Foundation Shorts Showcase, Clermont Ferrand International Short Film Festival, DC Independent Film Festival, Virginia Film Festival, Vancouver Asian Film Festival, and Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum. She has been featured on WHUT, NPR, Washington Post, NBC4, National Geographic, Voice of America, and WAMU 88.5.
Yi holds an MFA in Film and Media Arts from American University and taught documentary filmmaking at George Mason University. She is a member of the International Documentary Association, Asian American Documentary Network, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, and Asian American Journalists Association.