Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Education||McGill University (BA)|
Columbia University (MFA)
|Occupation||Filmmaker, television director, screenwriter|
|Known for||The High Cost of Living, The Possibilities of Fireflies|
Deborah Chow is a Canadian filmmaker, television director and screenwriter. Two of her first short films, Daypass (2002) and The Hill (2004) have both won awards at various international film festivals. She is best known for her first feature film, which she wrote and directed, The High Cost of Living. Her recent directorial works include the TV movie adaption of Flowers in the Attic and episodes of the series Copper, Murdoch Mysteries, Reign, Beauty and the Beast, and Mr. Robot. Chow is also a director on the Star Wars series The Mandalorian and the untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi series for Disney+.
Deborah Chow is the half-Chinese daughter of parents who emigrated from Australia to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where she grew up. Chow graduated from Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario.
She received her undergraduate degree, major of cultural theory and minor in art history, from McGill University in Montreal, where she made her first short film. After graduation she went on to complete her MFA in directing at Columbia University in New York City, where she completed two short films and a feature screenplay including her short film Daypass which screened internationally at over 35 festivals and won multiple awards.
Chow began her career writing and directing short films while studying film at university and broke out with her first feature film, The High Cost of Living, in 2010. As a film director, she's worked with notable actors James Urbaniak, Zach Braff and Isabelle Blais, among others.
As a television director, she's worked on the BBC show Copper, the CW programs Reign and Beauty and the Beast, the CBC show Murdoch Mysteries and the USA Network series Mr. Robot. She also directed the recent adaptation of Flowers in the Attic on Lifetime which starred Heather Graham and Mad Men's Kiernan Shipka.
Chow served as director of two episodes of the Disney+ exclusive streaming television series, Star Wars: The Mandalorian. She was announced as the sole director for the upcoming Disney+ series, centered around Obi-Wan Kenobi. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy stated that "We really wanted to select a director who is able to explore both the quiet determination and rich mystique of Obi-Wan in a way that folds seamlessly into the Star Wars saga. Based on her phenomenal work developing our characters in The Mandalorian, I'm absolutely confident Deborah is the right director to tell this story."
Awards and recognition
Her short film, Daypass, won the Best Actor Award at the Milano Film Festival and the Best Short at the Turin Film Festival. The feature-length screenplay version of the film won the Comedy Central Award for Best Comedy Screenplay. Chow was the winner of the 2005 Kodak New Vision Mentorship award for her short film The Hill, the winnings from which included funding for her first feature film. She was a participant in the Berlinale Talent Campus, Toronto International Film Festival Talent Lab, and the Praxis Screenwriting Lab. Her debut feature film The High Cost of Living won Best First Feature and Top Ten at the Toronto International Film Festival, Best Canadian Feature at the Female Eye Film Fest, and Prix Super-Écran at the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois.
The High Cost of Living has received positive reviews. This film bears all the hallmarks of a conventional indie drama: "a downbeat scenario, flawed protagonists, and a strongly regional inflection." Chow is credited on hitting every mark and narrative turning point. The result is a strange dramatic complexity, with a work of superficial depth.
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