Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Amy Tiong

By Catherine Woo

Welcome to NYWIFT, Amy Tiong!

Amy is a director, writer, and production coordinator whose stories bring underrepresented voices to the forefront. She directs both narrative films and documentaries, which received recognition from Bustle, NBCNews, PictureStart, Coverfly, and the NAACP. The vulnerability in her work empowers others and shines a light on topics such as disordered eating, grief, and sibling love.

Amy tells us about working on a microbudget project during pandemic times, collaborating with friends and her new immigration horror feature film, When You’re Ready to Go. Read all about it here!

Amy Tiong behind the scenes of Worthy


How would you summarize your experience and career highlights in about 100 words?

I am a Gates Millennium Scholar and graduated from NYU Tisch. My recent narrative, Take Care Zora, which I co-directed as the Finish the Script Competition winner, was made in partnership with Dolby and Ghetto Film School. I was selected for Bustle’s New Filmmaker series, where I directed my editorial short BitterSweet which received press from NBC News.

PictureStart commissioned my documentary, highlighting the MMIW (Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women) movement. My feature script, When You’re Ready to Go, is in the top 3% of scripts on Coverfly and is an immigration horror story. I recently directed a piece with the NAACP for their cinematic shorts competition. I am developing two feature scripts while production coordinating at Vice.

I focus on stylized storytelling that puts BIPOC in the forefront.


What brings you to NYWIFT?

I am always looking to expand my network and love the welcoming, encouraging nature of NYWIFT. I could not pursue this filmmaking path without my peers, and I know that your community is paramount!


Your short film BitterSweet is a powerful reflection on your upbringing and relationship with food. How did it feel to make such a vulnerable, personal, and moving project?

This was my first time working on an editorial piece, and I was lucky that the team at Bustle allowed me a lot of creative freedom. We were shooting in peak pandemic times, so I had to ask myself what I can do on a microbudget with a 3-person crew. It was the limitations that led to this piece I hold dearly. Ultimately, having a small, intimate production crew of myself and two of my best friends (shout out to the very talented Briana Man & Kadi Tsang) led to something vulnerable. I felt free to mess up and be honest around them.

The pandemic was particularly hard for those with disordered eating because of our contained environments, so why not address it? Though it was scary being so honest, the biggest reward was the folks who reached out, saying the piece brought them comfort knowing someone out there shared their experience.


Polaroids from behind the scenes of Bittersweet

Behind the scenes of Bittersweet


A still from Bittersweet


Following BitterSweet, you made For the Missing, a documentary about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. What was it like getting to know the people featured in the documentary and their community while making a film about such a painful topic?

Narrative pieces have always been my comfort zone, but occasionally, I do a documentary and feel so grateful afterward that I did. Meeting Jordan, Verna, and Northstar was awe-inspiring. Though this topic has a lot of grief, they approach life with determination and hope. I have never seen people that work harder. As a director, I had to emphasize that side of things. I think it’s crucial that when you’re working on any story that involves a tragedy (and in this case, it involves countless tragedies) that there is a purpose to the film – that you offer a way forward.



Behind the scenes of For the Missing


A still from For the Missing

For the script to Take Care Zora, you collaborated with Antonio Salume, Rocky Perez, and Abby Perez. How did you all come together? What was the process of collaborating on this film like?

Antonio and I knew Rocky as she acted in a prior film of mine. She had mentioned that she wanted to tell a story emphasizing the caretaker role, and there was much to be said there. Anotnio and I applied to the Dolby x GFS Finish the Script challenge and ultimately workshopped our script with Carlos Lopez Estrada. Seeing the relationship between Abby and Rocky, we knew that the story’s core had to be sibling love.



The Academy Museum Screening of Take Care Zora

The premiere of Take Care Zora


Congratulations on your feature script’s advancement to the finalist round of the WeScreenplay, Screen Craft, and Stowe Story Lab Fellowships and the top 3% of scripts on Coverfly! What did this mean to you?

Thank you! Honestly, this script, When You’re Ready to Go, was the second feature I wrote, so it meant a lot that it was so well received. It gave me confidence that this story I hold dear to me needs to be told. The script is a horror immigration story that chronicles the life of a Chinese delivery driver. It wasn’t easy to write as it was often emotionally taxing, but for me, that unease is usually an indicator that it has a bigger purpose than just myself.


What’s next for you? Where do you hope to be in five years?

I am currently working on financing the short for When You’re Ready to Go while continuing to workshop the feature script. I am also developing another rom-com thriller that studies the nature of interracial relationships.

I’m just looking to create as much as I can right now! In five years, I hope to establish stronger industry ties, gain representation, and continue making films with my colleagues.


You can follow Amy on Instagram @AmyBTiong or LinkedIn. Her website with all her work is amybtiong.com.


Catherine Woo

Catherine Woo Catherine Woo is an intern at NYWIFT and an aspiring screenwriter. She will graduate from NYU Tisch with a BFA in Dramatic Writing in 2024. She has interned at Rattlestick Theater and Protozoa Pictures. She has done production photography for PrideFest 2023 at The Tank and Broke People Spring 2023 Play Festival at NYU.

View all posts by Catherine Woo

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