Maria Tran

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Maria Tran
Trần Vũ Hồng Phương

30 January 1985 (1985-01-30) (age 37)
EducationBachelor of Psychology, University of Western Sydney
Known forActress, producer, director
SpouseTakashi Hara m. 2020

Maria Tran (Vietnamese: Maria Trần) (born 30 January 1985) is an Australian actress, martial artist, producer, and director based in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is known for developing the martial arts action film genre in Australia[1] via the Asian diaspora communities of Western Sydney[2] through her shorts such as Hit Girls, Gaffa, Enter The Dojo; her contributions on Australian television; Maximum Choppage and movies outside of Australia; Roger Corman's Fist of the Dragon, Death Mist and Vietnamese action blockbuster Tracer. Tran is pivotal to the creative development of the Australian Vietnamese film movement that challenges gender stereotypes and the exploration of "female action".[2]

Early life[edit]

Tran was born in Brisbane, Australia,[3] on 30 January 1985.[4] Her parents were boat people from Vietnam; her father was a former soldier in the South Vietnam Army and her mother worked in publicity. They were migrant workers in Australia and the family moved often due to work.[3] She went to Dinmore State School, Camira State School and then moved to Sydney and attended Villawood Public School, Fairfield West Public School and attended Westfields Sports High School, Sunnybank High School, and Canley Vale High School.[citation needed]

Tran began taking taekwondo lessons in 1998. She left home at 16 to enter a martial arts competition in Queensland. She returned to Sydney a year later to finish school;[3] she graduated in 2002.[citation needed] Tran went on to study psychology at the University of Western Sydney,[3] graduating in 2007.[citation needed]

During her university years, she starred in Maximum Choppage: Round 2.[5][6]


Community work[edit]

In 2007, Tran enrolled in a free community film making workshop called the Youth Digital Cultures film program[7] through Information & Cultural Exchange (ICE). She completed it and took over the coordinator's role and worked as an educator[8] running programs for at risk young people from culturally diverse backgrounds. She has guest lectured several instances at the Australian National University on filmmaking and digital media.[9][10] In 2013, Tran directed her first theatre production working with students from Fairfield High School and Lurnea High School called "Press Play"; a multimedia and interactive journey of young people from migrant backgrounds.[11]

Tran was elected as vice-president (External Affairs) for the Vietnamese Community of Australia – New South Wales (VCA-NSW) from 2013 to 2015. She volunteered in various capacities and was invited to speak at the 2014 National Youth Vietnamese Conference held in Melbourne on the issues of Vietnamese-Australians in film, television and the media.

Martial arts[edit]

Tran and Trung Ly has been running the Dong Thanh Martial Arts Centre in Chipping Norton, New South Wales since 2014.[12]


In 2008, Tran's documentary-drama Happy Dent won Shortcuts Film Festival for Best Film and Achievement in Directing. This award lead her to a meeting with a TV network executive and she went on to make TV micro series "Downtown Rumble", 6 part kung fu action micro series which aired at the end of that year.

In 2009, Tran was awarded the Metroscreen Multicultural Mentorship Scheme for her short film script "A Little Dream", which was granted seed funding and Tran directed the film with the mentorship by Khoa Do.[13][14]

In 2011, Tran pursued documentary filmmaking with her quirky self transmedia documentary "Quest for Jackie!" which is about a young girl's filmmaking plight as well as meeting her action idol; Jackie Chan. She travel to Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Tasmania in 21 days to connect with Jackie Chan fans and stories of the "underdog". With hundreds of hours of footage, this project remains incomplete.[15][16][17] In July, 2016, Screen NSW gave Tran a stunt attachment position on board of Jackie Chan's movie "Bleeding Steel" as it shoots in Sydney.She has been learning from the Jackie Chan Stunt Team and has seen Jackie, but has yet to officially meet him and complete her documentary.[18]

She was also the 2011 NSW State Champion and represented the state at National Film Pitching Competition held at Metroscreen.[19]

In 2012, she directed and produced many short action films with Trung Ly and Adrian Castro with subsequent works such as Enter The Dojo, Gaffa, and award-winning action comedy Hit Girls; which she wrote, produced and directed. Tran was also a recipient of the Screen NSW Emerging Producer Placement in the same year.[14]

In 2013, she was approached by Cancer Council and Information & Cultural Exchange (ICE) to produced and directed the movie Change of Our Lives.[20] The film was officially selected for the Viet Film Festival 2014.

Tran worked on Fist of the Dragon in Nanhai, China as killer assassin "Zhen" as well as fight supervisor for fight choreographer Trung Ly and director Antony Szeto in 2014.

Tran played Phuong Lua in the Vietnamese martial arts action film Tracer (Truy Sat). The film made its Australian debut through Dreamwest Pictures in May 2016.[12]

in 2016 Tran wrote an original screenplay for a Vietnamese historical epic The Drums of Me Linh as well as action comedy Fury of the Far East; combining martial arts expertise and the supernatural, was awarded seed funding from ICE's Produce Perfect program to be developed into a proof of concept for television.[21] The Drums of Me Linh was selected by Lost in Books to be made into a bilingual children's book, written by Tran in collaboration with illustrator Britney Fong.[22] Fury of the Far East evolved into Tiger Cops which was funded through the ABC Freshblood scheme.[23]

In 2017, Tran officially set up film production company Phoenix Eye as she received an artist-in-residency with Powerhouse Youth Theatre where her company lives.[24]

The same year, she produced, wrote and directed "The Subtractor";[25] a mockumentary short film about an Asian lead breaking into Hollywood. This film was commissioned by Diverse Arts Australia and was selected to be pitched at the 2017 Video Junkee Festival.[26]

Tran occasionally teaches at AFTRS via the Open Program in Stage Combat/ Fight Choreography and the holiday filmmaking programs and run workshops in regional NSW.[27]

Tran is set to make a directorial debut on her self-funded feature film action thriller "Echo 8"[28] in production in early 2020 co-starring with Japanese actor Takashi Hara.



Year Title Alternative title Role Notes Ref.
2008 Downtown Rumble Apprentice Produced by Maria Tran
2009 My Place Mai Le
2012 "Enter The Dojo" Fighter Directed my Adrian Castro, Produced by Maria Tran. [citation needed]
2012 Hit Girls 《职业女杀手》 Charlie Vu (Lead role) Co-directed by Adrian Castro and Maria Tran
2015 Fist of the Dragon 《猛龍追擊8小時》 Zhen
2015 "How Not To Behave" Beach Girl Directed by Craig Anderson [citation needed]
2015 Maximum Choppage Stunt double for "Petal" Associate producer Maria Tran.
2015 "The Challenge Letter" 《挑戰書》 Jennifer Directed by Robert Chen

Produced by Nathan Colquhoun

[citation needed]
2016 Tracer Truy Sát Phuong Lua
2021 Operation Kung Flu Phoenix Directed and produced by Maria Tran


  • 2018 – Tran plays "Trans Phat" in channel 10 comedy show "Street Smart"[29]
  • 2017 – Tran plays "Tiger" in ABC interstitial series "Tiger Cops" co-starring with Steven Oliver.[30]
  • 2015 – She had a role of a Vietnamese mother; "Hoang" on Channel 9's Love Child; Season 3.


  • Selected as 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australians 2021[31]
  • Tran was the recipient of the Create NSW 2018 Western Sydney Fellowship. She was awarded $50,000 for her year long career development and project "Femme Fatales: Seen and Heard".[32]
  • Tran was nominated and won the Breakout Female Action Star (Feature Film Category) at the 2016 Action on Film International Festival for her role "Zhen" in Roger Corman's Fist of the Dragon.
  • Tran won the Breakout Action Actress award at the 2013 Action on Film International Festival for her portrayal of the character Charlie Vu in the female assassin comedy, Hit Girls[17]. This award was also shared with actress Juju Chan.
  • Short film "Happy Dent", which Tran directed won Best Film and Achievement in Directing at the 2008 Shortcuts Film Festival.[33]
  • Short film "Gaffa", which Tran produced won the HOYTS People's Choice Awards at the 2009 Joyhouse Film Festival.
  • She is the People's Choice and Runners Up for "Dreamgirls" multicultural pageant in 2014[34][35][36]
  • Tran has been selected as part of the 2016 Ones to Watch Producers in Australia.[37]


  1. ^ Wah, Annette Shun. "Urban Action forum – Performance4a". Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b Khoo, Olivia; Smaill, Belinda; Yue, Audrey (8 March 2013). Transnational Australian Cinema: Ethics in the Asian Diasporas. Lexington Books. ISBN 9780739173251.
  3. ^ a b c d Dapin, Mark (3 June 2017). "Maria Tran: beaten up at high school, now action-movie ace". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Maria Tran". Martial Arts Entertainment. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Suburban kung-fu film direct from Cabramatta". Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Indie Kick! Review: Maximum Choppage Round 2 (2008)". Kiai-Kick!. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  7. ^ Dreher, Tanja (2012). "A partial promise of voice: digital storytelling and the limit of listening". Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy. 142: 157–166. doi:10.1177/1329878X1214200117. S2CID 142898999. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  8. ^ ArtsHub. "Maria Tran, actor, filmmaker & educator". ArtsHub Australia. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  9. ^ School, Head of. "Vietlish! New media of the Vietnamese Diaspora – School of Archaeology and Anthropology – ANU – School of Archaeology and Anthropology – ANU". Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  10. ^ Salazar, Juan Francisco (1 August 2010). "Digital stories and emerging citizens' media practices by migrant youth in Western Sydney". Community Broadcasting Association of Australia.
  11. ^ "Cultural Exchange Program 2012". Fairfield High School School Newsletter.
  12. ^ a b "Maria Tran brings out the big guns in Tracer's Australian premiere". IF Magazine. 28 April 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ "Multicultural Mentorship Films Screening-What's On-Activities/Hobbies-Paddington". Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Screen NSW". Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  15. ^ ArtsHub. "Maria Tran, actor, filmmaker & educator". Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Speakers". 7 July 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  17. ^ "Maria Tran – on the search for Jackie Chan". ABC Brisbane. 13 September 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Screen NSW". Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  19. ^ "Metro Screen announces NSW filmmaking champion: Maria Tran". Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  20. ^ Caines, Kimberley (23 July 2013). "Change Our Lives film breaks new ground in hepatitis fight". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  21. ^ Stone, Lucy (30 June 2016). "Following in the footsteps of Jackie Chan". Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  22. ^ Boulous, Chris (21 November 2017). "Talking my language". Fairfield City Champion. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  23. ^ "New comedy teams announced for Fresh Blood". TV Tonight. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  24. ^ "2018 Associate Artist: Maria Tran | Powerhouse Youth Theatre". Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  25. ^ "Diverse Screens filmmaker Maria Tran · Diversity Arts Australia". Diversity Arts Australia. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  26. ^ "Video Junkee Program Includes 'Bojack Horseman' Creator And More". Junkee. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  27. ^ Stanford, Lauren (19 January 2014). "Young movie makers get a taste of the real thing". Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  28. ^ "ECHO 8: Maria Tran, Phoenix Eye Fast Track Independent Psych Action Thriller for January Production". 25 November 2019.
  29. ^ "Ten's new comedy 'Street Smart' strikes a blow for multiculturalism". IF Magazine. 26 February 2018. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  30. ^ Houston, Melinda (5 January 2018). "Newbie comedians offer quirk and fun". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  31. ^ "40 Under 40 Awards – 2021 Winners". Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  32. ^ "Suite of fellowships awarded to NSW artists". Limelight. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  33. ^ Tseen (10 April 2008). "Press Release – Youth Week Shortcut's Film Festival Winner (Fairfield Powerhouse, NSW)". Asian Australian Studies News. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  34. ^ Mat, Nguyen (1 August 2014). "Sen Trắng: Maria Tran – Carramar girl in running to be Bollywood star!". Sen Trắng. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  35. ^ Perez, Bianca (30 July 2014). "Bollywood is the next target for Maria Tran". Fairfield City Champion. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  36. ^ "Maria Tran and her journey to DreamGirls 2014". SBS Your Language. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  37. ^ "Ones To Watch » Screen Producers Australia". Retrieved 24 May 2016.

External links[edit]