29 API Directors Who've Taken Hollywood By Storm With Some Legendary Films

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we're highlighting 29 API film directors who've found success in Hollywood. Combined, they've directed everything from major blockbusters to beloved comedies to Best Picture winners and everything in between:

1.Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi stands on the red carpet in a dark suit with a white shirt at a "Next Goal Wins" event

2.Jemaine Clement

Jemaine Clement poses at an FX event wearing a casual button-up shirt and jeans

Notable filmography: What We Do in the Shadows (2014), his feature directorial debut and co-directed with Taika Waititi

Notable TV shows (as creator): What We Do in the Shadows (2019)

Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic / Getty Images

3.Celine Song

A woman stands on the red carpet in a formal black suit with a white shirt, next to a golden statue resembling an Oscar

Notable filmography: Past Lives (2023), her feature directorial debut

Accolades: Oscar-nominee for Best Original Screenplay for Past Lives in 2024

Mike Coppola / Getty Images

4.Dev Patel

Dev Patel smiles in a sleek black tuxedo at a formal event

Notable filmography: Monkey Man (2024), his feature directorial debut

Kristina Bumphrey/Variety via Getty Images

5.Chloé Zhao

Chloé Zhao at the Breakthrough Prize event, wearing a textured long-sleeve top with silver necklace

Notable filmography: Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015), The Rider (2017), Nomadland (2020), and Eternals (2021)

Accolades: Four-time Oscar nominee, winning Best Picture and Best Director in 2021 for Nomadland

JUAN PABLO RICO/AFP via Getty Images

6.Ang Lee

Ang Lee in a black tuxedo with a bow tie at a red carpet event

7.M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night Shyamalan in a white outfit at a Warner Bros event at CinemaCon

8.Ishana Night Shyamalan

Woman in a turtleneck sweater and high-waisted trousers poses at a "Watched" event

Notable filmography: The Watchers (2024), her feature directorial debut

Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images

9.Tusi Tamasese

Man with long curly hair and a beard wears a black blazer over a white V-neck shirt

Notable filmography: The Orator (2011) and One Thousand Ropes (2017)

Andreas Rentz / Getty Images

10.Daniel Kwan

A person with round glasses, short hair, and a mustache, wearing a patterned scarf and a black jacket, poses for a photo

11.Bong Joon-ho

Bong Joon-ho stands with his hands crossed, wearing glasses and a textured coat

Notable filmography: Mother (2009), Snowpiercer (2013), Okja (2017), Parasite (2019), and Mickey 17 (2025)

Accolades: Three-time Oscar winner, including Best Picture and Best Director for Parasite in 2020

Julien Hekimian / Getty Images

12.Lee Tamahori

An elderly man in a tailored suit poses on the red carpet at a TIFF event

13.Rachel House

Smiling woman with long hair wearing glasses and a camouflage jacket at a media event with "The Power of Inclusion" backdrop

Notable filmography: The Mountain in 2024, her feature directorial debut

Fiona Goodall / Getty Images for New Zealand Film Commission

14.Asif Kapadia

A man in a dark suit, black sweater, and white shirt with his hands in his pockets stands against a backdrop

15.Adele Lim

Simu Liu wearing a strapless floral jumpsuit, smiling at a red carpet event

Notable filmography: Joy Ride (2023), her feature directorial debut

Monica Schipper / Getty Images

16.Lee Isaac Chung

A man in a casual light jacket smiles at the 28th Busan International Film Festival held from October 4-13, 2023

Notable filmography: Munyurangabo (2007), Minari (2020), and Twisters (2024)

Accolades: Two-time Oscar nominee, including Best Director for Minari in 2021

Woohae Cho / Getty Images

17.Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Jennifer Yuh Nelson in a light, casual outfit, holding a microphone while seated on stage at a media event

Notable filmography: Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011), Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016), The Darkest Minds (2018)

Accolades: Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature for Kung Fu Panda 2 in 2012

Andrew Toth / Getty Images for Netflix

18.Ryusuke Hamaguchi

Apichatpong Weerasethakul waves while posing at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on 09.09.2023, dressed in a blazer and casual pants

Notable filmography: Happy Hour (2015), Asako I & II (2018), Drive My Car (2021), and Evil Does Not Exist (2023)

Accolades: Two-time Oscar nominee, including Best Director for Drive My Car in 2022

Daniele Venturelli / WireImage / Getty Images

19.Destin Daniel Cretton

A man wearing a modern style kimono on a red carpet

Notable filmography: Short Term 12 (2013), The Glass Castle (2017), Just Mercy (2019), and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

Amy Sussman / Getty Images

20.Andrew Ahn

Person smiling at the camera in front of an Outfest backdrop, wearing a light-colored jacket with frilled detailing

Notable filmography: Spa Night (2016), Driveways (2019), and Fire Island (2022)

Emma McIntyre / Getty Images

21.Jessica Yu

Unknown woman on the Critics Choice Awards red carpet in a sleeveless dress with a black top and a blue gradient skirt

22.Wayne Wang

Wayne Wang on the red carpet at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), wearing a casual jacket over a shirt

23.Christopher Kahunahana

A man wearing a black tuxedo, a bowtie, dark sunglasses, and layered Hawaiian kukui nut leis attends a Gold House event

Notable filmography: Waikiki (2020), his feature directorial debut

Vivien Killilea / Getty Images for Gold House

24.Gurinder Chadha

Gurinder Chadha at a BFI event, wearing a textured jacket and floral skirt, smiling at the camera

Notable filmography: Bend It Like Beckham (2002); Bride and Prejudice (2004); Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008); and Blinded by the Light (2019)

Notable TV shows (as co-creator): Beecham House (2019)

Tristan Fewings / Getty Images

25.Randall Park

Randall Park at the 2024 Writers Guild Awards, wearing a black tuxedo with a bow tie and smiling at the camera

Notable filmography: Shortcomings (2023), his feature directorial debut

JC Olivera / Getty Images

26.Park Chan-wook

Park Chan-wook on a red carpet wearing a dark suit, white shirt, and maroon tie with a backdrop featuring large, partially obscured yellow letters

27.Lulu Wang

A woman in a double-breasted blazer with sunglasses stands on the red carpet at an AMC Theatres and TCM event

Notable filmography: Posthumous (2014) and The Farewell (2019)

Notable TV shows (as creator): Expats (2024)

VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

28.Shekhar Kapur

Man in a black shirt and stylish white jacket with intricate lapels, stands on a red carpet event

Notable filmography: Masoom (1983), Mr. India (1987), Bandit Queen (1994), Elizabeth (1998), The Four Feathers (2002), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), and What's Love Got to Do with It? (2022)

David M. Benett/Max Cisotti/Dave Benett / WireImage / Getty Images

29.Finally, John M. Chu

Jon M. Chu at a red carpet event, dressed in a patterned blazer and white shirt

Check out more API-centered content by exploring how BuzzFeed celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! Of course, the content doesn't end after May. Follow BuzzFeed's A*Pop on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube to keep up with our latest API content year-round.

Illustration featuring diverse individuals in traditional and contemporary attire celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Text: "BuzzFeed Celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month."
Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed