THE WORDS OF CAYETANO
A FILM BY YUN XIE
World Premiere, 20th Tribeca Film Festival
Audience Award, 35th AFI FEST
Official Selection, 28th Palm Springs ShortFest
Official Selection, 18th HollyShorts Film Festival
Official Selection, 23rd San Diego Asian Film Festival
Official Selection, 45th Asian American International Film Festival
Official Selection, 40th CAAMFest
“Writer/director Johnson Cheng returns to AFI with yet another incredibly moving film about the complexities of intergenerational families: a slice-of-life tale of three generations of Chinese women confronting the realities of having to shut down their family’s ballroom dance studio and bid farewell to a life that has defined them for so long. I love how the film tells a story of how time marches forward, whether you are ready or not, and how it’s how you choose to face it that really determines who you are.”
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
A writer having an existential crisis must journey deeper into himself and struggle with the beasts and muses of his own imagination.
THE WORDS OF CAYETANO (SHORT 2023)
Johnson Cheng is a Chinese American writer/director from the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles. A member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA), his films have screened in competition at over 100 international film festivals, including Tribeca (2021, 2017), AFI FEST (2021, 2020), Palm Springs (2022, 2021, 2017), Aspen, and Toronto.
Johnson most recently directed an episode of the first season of AMERICAN BORN CHINESE (Disney+), an upcoming genre-hopping action-comedy series, and shadowed director Destin Daniel Cretton on the pilot.
Johnson’s latest short film, ONLY THE MOON STANDS STILL, executive produced by Lena Waithe, premiered at Tribeca and screened at AFI FEST where it won the Audience Award. His previous short film, LONELY BLUE NIGHT, premiered at AFI FEST where it also won the Audience Award, and was acquired by HBO. Johnson’s first short film, IRON HANDS, premiered at Tribeca and screened at Toronto.
Johnson is a recipient of the HBO APA Visionaries Award, the Princess Grace Award (Cary Grant Film Award), and fellowships such as Film Independent Project Involve (Writer/Director Fellow), Hillman Grad/Indeed’s Rising Voices (Filmmaker in Residence), and Film at Lincoln Center’s NYFF Artist Academy. He holds an M.F.A. in Film Directing/Screenwriting with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate Film Program in NYC. Johnson is repped by WME.