Dayyan Eng (known as Wu Shixian to audiences in China) is a Chinese-American writer-director with a distinguished international background. He studied film in the US and transferred to the prestigious Beijing Film Academy where he finished his undergraduate studies in directing. Starting his career directing TV commercials for the Asian and global market, Eng first won recognition at Venice, Sundance and Cannes film festivals for his short film Bus 44, and for his debut feature film, the acclaimed cult-hit Chinese romantic-comedy Waiting Alone. This made Eng the first American to direct a Chinese feature film. He also became the first foreign member of the China Film Director’s Guild, and made history as the first foreign director to have a film nominated for “Best Picture” at the Chinese academy awards. Eng is continually listed as a favorite amongst the “post-80s” generation in audience polls and critics lists in China, and was regarded as “one of the top directors’ to watch in China” according to Variety. Eng followed up with the genre-bending dramedy Inseparable, which he wrote, produced and directed. The film premiered at the 2011 Pusan Int’l Film Festival and stars Daniel Wu and Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey -- who became the first Hollywood actor to star in a fully Chinese-financed film. Inseparable, which also co-stars Gong Beibi, Yan Ni, and Peter Stormare, was named as one of The Wall Street Journal’s Top 10 Most Notable Asian Films of the Year. In 2017, Eng returned to his comedy roots with an indie film (co-written by Justin Malen) Wished, which debuted in third place at the Chinese box office -- behind Transformers 5 and a Chinese sci-fi action film -- went on to beat market expectations and gross R$70 million. Wished had the highest audience scores (averaging 8.0/10) for local Chinese comedies released that summer. The fantasy-comedy starred Xia Yu, Yan Ni, K-pop star Victoria Song along with cameos from China’s biggest names including Daniel Wu, Wang Baoqiang, Ning Jing, Bao Bei-Er et al. Eng divides his time between Beijing and Los Angeles, and is repped by Paradigm Talent Agency and DMG in the US.
In 2015, Eng was invited to be on the five-member jury of the prestigious China Film Director’s Guild Awards. In 2007, Eng was invited to direct the first-ever opening short for the Chinese academy awards. He got some of Asia’s biggest stars, Ziyi Zhang, Liu Ye and Ge You, to spoof the action-movie genre in a humorous send-up on national TV in China.
In 2005, Eng completed the Chinese independent feature film Waiting Alone which he wrote and directed, featuring an ensemble cast of young Chinese stars including Xia Yu, Li Bingbing, Gong Beibi, and featuring cameos from some of Asia’s biggest names, including Chow Yun-Fat. It premiered to critical raves and was an audience favorite at the 17th Tokyo International Film Festival. The film has been called one of 2005’s “best films” by over 50 Chinese media outlets and Variety. Waiting Alone became a favorite in China among young people following its release, and went on to receive 3 nominations, including Best Picture, at the Chinese academy awards (Golden Rooster Awards); as well as winning the “Best First Feature” and “Best Actor” awards at the popular Beijing Film Festival. Waiting Alone became a best-selling DVD in China and its national network TV premiere debuted at #1. It was picked up for international distribution by Arclight Films in Cannes 2006. The film continues to add a following to its already large fan-base and is now considered a “classic” in China by critics and audiences alike.
In 2001, Eng wrote and directed Bus 44. The film premiered and won awards at the 2001 Venice Film Festival and 2002 Sundance Film Festival, and was invited to the 2002 Cannes Film Festival “Director’s Fortnight,” becoming the first Chinese short film to be invited to each of these festivals. The film was covered extensively in the Chinese media at the time and was critically acclaimed in China, the US, and in Europe, gaining TV and theatrical distribution in territories worldwide.