Born in Beijing, China, Michael Yuanhao Deng is a seventeen-year- old film director, screenwriter and photographer. In his elementary school, he was taught basic editing skills, and an old camcorder lying in his father’s closet had let him set foot in visual storytelling. In middle school, he honed his leadership by directing a handful of plays and short films, during which he met his best friend, Claude, a talented music composer and pianist. Currently studying at a boarding school in America, Michael wishes to double major in film and business in college, where he aspires to master his craft and meet new challenges.
Beginning his career at the age of ten, Michael aims to only make film that immediately stands out through its distinct style and natural voice: grabbing the audience by the bones and evoking their sensitive emotions. Many of Michael’s works portray the theme of hope: he wishes to use his natural storytelling skills to speak a voice of his own, filling the world with cheerful and lovely elements. Michael’s favorite directors are Ang Lee, Steven Spielberg, and Damien Chazelle. His favorite films are Life of Pi, Room, and Whiplash.
In 2014, Michael founded LemonTree Film in China, a platform for teens to collaborate and gain experience in filmmaking. With this platform, his team collaborated with AIC Education (a top educational consulting firm) and Siyu Harmony Society, (a NGO in China with over six years of experience in improving education and welfare in developing regions). Since ninth grade, Michael spends every summer leading volunteer teaching teams into Liangshan, while making documentaries in local schools and raising social awareness. His first short documentary “Family Under the Roof” was released by the Children’s Channel of China Central Television in 2016, winning two Best Doc awards and screening at major film festivals such as Austin, Long Beach Indie, and CICFF. In 2017, his photographic works also received three Gold Keys in Scholastic Art and Writing by Columbia. Having just finished spec spots for Under Armour, Whatsapp and ESPN, Michael is now editing his second major documentary “Under the Windhorse,” which was filmed in Tibet over the summer.