Spencer Nakasako has over three decades of experience as an independent filmmaker. He won a National Emmy Award for a.k.a. Don Bonus, the video diary of a Cambodian refugee teenager that aired on the PBS series P.O.V. and screened at the Berlin International Film Festival. Kelly Loves Tony, a video diary about a Iu Mien refugee teenage couple growing up too fast in Oakland, California, also aired on P.O.V. His third film in his trilogy about Southeast Asian youth, Refugee, aired on the PBS series Independent Lens, and garnered major awards at the Hawaii International Film Festival and Hamptons Film Festival. He also wrote the screenplay and co-directed a feature film in Hong Kong, Life is Cheap…but Toilet Paper is Expensive, with Wayne Wang.
Nakasako is the founder of the ground-breaking Media Lab at the Vietnamese Youth Development Center in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District where he collaborated with youth from the neighborhood on filmmaking for seventeen years. Besides consultancies and residencies at Stanford, Harvard, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, USC, UCLA, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and the University of Toronto, to name a few, he has lectured in the Social Documentation graduate program at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and is currently a lecturer at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley. Nakasako is a member of the Writers Guild of America, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.