2015 Honorary Fellow
Ms Ruby Yang is a Chinese American filmmaker. Originally from Hong Kong, Ms Yang has worked on a range of feature and documentary films exploring Chinese themes as director and editor. She is the first Hong Kong born Chinese filmmaker to win an Oscar for Documentary Short Subject for The Blood of Yingzhou District (2006). Other awards received for her achievements in documentary filmmaking include an Emmy Award, a DuPont-Columbia Journalism Award, as well as two IDA Pare Lorentz Award nominations.
In 1977, Ms Yang moved to the States. She worked on director Wayne Wang’s Eat a Bowl of Tea (1989) and The Joy Luck Club (1993) and edited the first two films directed by award-winning Chinese actress Joan Chen, Xiu Xiu: the Sent Down Girl (1998) and Autumn in New York (2000), starring Richard Gere and Wynona Ryder.
In 2003, along with filmmaker Thomas F. Lennon, Ms Yang founded the Chang Ai Media Project to raise HIV/AIDS awareness in China. Since then, her documentaries and public service announcements have been seen by hundreds of millions of Chinese viewers. These include a trilogy of short and medium-length documentaries about fringe communities in modern China. They are The Blood of Yingzhou District, which records the impact of AIDS on families in Yingzhou District of Fuyang in Anhui Province; Tongzhi in Love (2008), which portrays the lives of homosexuals in China; and The Warriors of Qiugang (2010), which tells the story of a group of villagers in Qiugang in Anhui Province who take on a chemical company that is poisoning their land and water. The Warriors of Qiugang was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary Short Subject category in 2011.
In 2013, Ms Yang relocated to Hong Kong, where she was appointed by The University of Hong Kong as Hung Leung Hau Ling Distinguished Fellow in Humanities the following year. Her latest feature documentary My Voice, My Life (2014), featured a group of under-privileged Hong Kong youngsters who underwent vigorous training to produce a musical on stage. It was distributed by the company of actor Andy Lau (who was made an Honorary Fellow of The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 2007) and is one of only a select number of documentaries that has received wide theatrical distribution in Hong Kong. It has received critical acclaim from fellow filmmakers and critics and achieved a box-office gross of over HK$5 million, which is almost unprecedented for a documentary in the local film industry.
Ms Yang has been a member of the Advisory Board of the Academy’s School of Film and Television for the past six years. She has given a number of documentary, editing masterclasses and workshops to our students, which proved to be inspiring and fruitful. She has provided internships for a number of our students at her Beijing production office, and our recent graduate has worked on My Voice, My Life as Assistant Editor for 18 months.