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Born and raised in Taiwan, Wenhwa Ts’ao is a prolific and award winning filmmaker.  Her film projects are funded by various prestigious granting organizations; she is the recipient of the Kodak Faculty Scholar Award, the Individual Artist Support Initiative Artists Fellowship, the Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Media Artist Fellowship, and the Appalshop Southeast Media Program Fellowship.


She has received project grants from the City of Chicago Community Arts Program, the Columbia College Faculty Development Grant, and Ilford Imaging INC. In 2011 American Film Institute recognized her achievements and selected Wenhwa for the prestigious American Film Institute Directing Workshop for Women. 


Since the mid 90s, her films have screened in juried and Film Academy accredited film festivals worldwide, including Palm Spring International ShortFest, Montreal World Film Festival, San Francisco Asian American Film Festival, Creteil Festival International de Film de Femmes, Vancouver International Film Festival, MadCat Women’s International Film Festival, Mill Valley International Film Festival, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, Victoria Independent Film Festival, the Chicago Film Festival, and in festivals and showcases in China, Romania, Mexico, Ecuador, Korea, Iran, Africa, Australia, Bermuda and the Netherlands.


Tsao’s work focuses on issues related to the Chinese American experience, especially the immigrant experience. She writes stories she can relate to and care about. Currently, Tsao’s working on a VR project about a five-year-old adopted Chinese girl, her imaginary journey back to China to look for her birth parents.  

She received Distinguished Alumni Award from her Alma Mater Tainan University of Technology in 2015 and Excellence in Teaching Award from Columbia College Chicago and Excellence in Teaching Award from University Film & Video Association in 2016.  In 2018, Tsao served on the U.S. Fulbright Student Program as one of the Committee Members reviewing the Creative and Performing Arts Application. Currently, Tsao is serving as one of the Trustees for University Film & Video Foundation and board member for University Film & Video Association, an international organization that dedicated to media education.  Tsao is a tenured Professor, the Associate Chair, and Director of Graduate Study (2006-2013) at Cinema and Television Arts Department, Columbia College Chicago.

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