The following blog and video piece originally ran on the website Dear Producer and is shared here courtesy of that website’s editor Rebecca Green, a Film Independent Fellow and Creative Advisor. Excerpts from Dear Producer appear on our blog regularly.
Diana Ward is an emerging producer originally from Australia and now based in Los Angeles. Her work draws on her Chinese Malaysian heritage, exploring the immigrant experience, belonging and diaspora in the stories she chooses to tell.
In this interview, Diana speaks about how she went from a kid who was not allowed to watch film or television to becoming a producer with two short films on the festival circuit this year: Liberty—produced through Film Independent’s 2018 Project Involve program (check out the filmmakers’ production diary here), winning Best Narrative Short at SXSW 2019 and the Special Prize of the Generation 14plus International Jury at the 2019 Berlinale Film Festival—as well as 2018 Project Involve project The Coin, an animated short which premiered at SXSW 2019.
Diana is a Film Independent Producing Lab Fellow and recipient of the 2018 Film Independent Project Involve Amazon Studios Visionary Filmmaker Fellowship.
Since moving to America, Ward has produced the feature documentary Roller Dreams, which premiered at the 2017 LA Film Festival (check out our interview with Ward and director Kate Hicky about the film here) and won the Foxtel Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Sydney Film Festival as well as the Jury Award for Best Documentary at the 2018 Calgary Underground Film Festival.
Ward has also produced numerous award-winning and festival favorite short films; including Liberty for writer/director Faren Humes (2019 winner, Special Prize of the International Jury for Best Short Film, Berlinale Generation 14-plus, Best Narrative Short SXSW), stop-motion animation The Coin for Siqi Song (SXSW 2019), Full Beat for writer/director Kase Pena (Outfest 2019), sci-fi Anamnesis (Amazon Prime), the partially-animated Jailbirds, and dramas Old War and Shelling Peas. Trailer for Roller Dreams—now streaming—below:
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(Header: shooting Liberty on location in Miami)