Maria Tran

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Maria Tran
Tran in 2023
Trần Vũ Hồng Phương

30 January 1985 (1985-01-30) (age 39)
EducationUniversity of Western Sydney, Bachelor of Psychology
Occupation(s)Actress, director, producer
SpouseTakashi Hara

Maria Tran (Vietnamese: Maria Trần) (born 30 January 1985) is an Vietnamese-Australian actress, martial artist, producer, and director based in between Sydney, Australia & Las Vegas, Nevada. She is known as a trailblazer[1] in developing the martial arts action film genre in Australia[2] via the Asian diaspora communities of Western Sydney[3] through her shorts such as Hit Girls, Gaffa, Enter The Dojo, Operation Kung Flu; her contributions on Australian television; Maximum Choppage and movies outside of Australia; Roger Corman's Fist of the Dragon, Death Mist, Vietnamese action blockbuster Tracer and Echo 8. Tran has been cast as "Tien" in the Last King of the Cross TV series, which will be shown on Paramount+.[4][5]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Brisbane, Australia,[6] Tran's parents were Vietnamese refugees who fled Vietnam in the 1980s. Her father was a former soldier in the South Vietnam Army and her mother worked in publicity. The family moved to Sydney before settling in Brisbane, where they opened a fish and chip shop. Tran attended Dinmore State School and Camira State School before moving to Sydney and attending Villawood Public School, Fairfield West Public School, Westfields Sports High School, Sunnybank High School, and Canley Vale High School.

After becoming a victim of a school bullying incident,[7] Tran began taking taekwondo lessons in 1998. She left home at 16 and moved back to Brisbane. She returned to Sydney a year later to finish school;[6] she graduated in 2002 at Canley Vale High School. She graduated with a Bachelor of Psychology at the University of Western Sydney,[6] in 2007.

She has a younger sister, Elizabeth H. Vu,[8] a frequent collaborating screenwriter.


Community arts & advocacy[edit]

Tran participated in a community film making workshop in 2007 and later became a coordinator and educator for culturally diverse at-risk youth.[9] She served as a community arts trainer[10][11] in various local councils in Western Sydney and was a guest lecturer on filmmaking and digital media at the Australian National University. Tran directed her first theatre production called Press Play [12] in 2013 and served as Vice-President (External Affairs) for the Vietnamese Community of Australia – New South Wales from 2013 to 2015. She was chosen as an Australian representative for the Australia-Vietnam Leadership Dialogue in 2019.[13][14]


Tran is an Australian filmmaker known for her work across various genres, including documentary, drama, action comedy, and martial arts films. Her documentary-drama Happy Dent won the Shortcuts Film Festival for Best Film and Achievement in Directing in 2008, leading to a meeting with a TV network executive and the creation of the six-part kung fu action micro-series Downtown Rumble later that year.

Tran received the Metroscreen Multicultural Mentorship Scheme in 2009 for her short film script A Little Dream, leading to seed funding for the film, which she directed with the mentorship of Khoa Do.[15][16] In 2011, Tran created a self-documentary Quest for Jackie Chan!,[17][18][19] which followed a young girl's filmmaking journey and meeting with her action idol, Jackie Chan. In July 2016, Screen NSW gave Tran a stunt attachment position on the board of Jackie Chan's movie Bleeding Steel as it shot in Sydney. She learned from the Jackie Chan Stunt Team, met Jackie, and was invited to go on a road trip to Canberra with him.[20] Tran also directed and produced several short action films, including the action comedy Hit Girls in 2012. Tran was also a recipient of the Screen NSW Emerging Producer Placement in the same year.[16]

In 2013, Tran was approached by Cancer Council and Information & Cultural Exchange (ICE) to produce and direct movie Change of Our Lives,[21] which was selected for the Viet Film Fest in 2014. That same year, Tran wrote the original screenplays for the Vietnamese historical epic The Drums of Me Linh and the action comedy Fury of the Far East, which received seed funding from ICE's Produce Perfect program.[22] Fury of the Far East evolved into Tiger Cops, which was funded through the ABC Freshblood scheme. 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.[23]

Tran officially set up her film production company, Phoenix Eye,[24] in 2017, and produced, wrote, and directed The Subtractor, a mockumentary short film about an Asian lead breaking into Hollywood. She occasionally taught at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) on stage combat and fight choreogpraphy and ran workshops in regional NSW.[25]

Tran's directorial debut, Echo 8,[26] co-starring Japanese actor Takashi Hara, is a self-funded feature film for $10,000 AUD that has won several awards, including the Best Film award at the Tokyo Film Awards and the Best Feature Film - Women's Film award at the World Carnival-Singapore Film Festival. Tran plans to collaborate with screenwriter Elizabeth H. Vu on a trilogy of films scheduled for production in 2025.[1]

Acting career[edit]

Tran's first acting role was in Australia's first kung fu comedy Maximum Choppage in 2007 followed by her first TV role on the ABC Logie TV series My Place, channel 7's Australia: The Story of US and channel 9's Love Child.

Her self produced, directed and acted action comedy Hit Girls co-starring Juju Chan earned her 2016 Breakout Female Action Performer of the Year at the Action On Film International Film Festival. The film's success gave her the opportunity to work on Roger Corman's movie Fist of the Dragon directed by Antony Szeto, starring Josh Thomson and filmed in Guangzhou, China.

In 2015, Tran landed the role of leading female antagonist "Phuong Lua" in Vietnamese blockbuster Truy Sat[27] starring Truong Ngoc Anh and filmed in Vietnam. Film Combat Syndicate writes "Tran’s role is a small one, but her acting caliber and natural screenfighting ability make her one of the most palpable and talented award-winning film professionals today on both sides of the lens".[28]

In 2018, Tran was cast as the comedic Tiger wife "Trans Phat" in Streets Smart and the following year she was cast as nunchuck wielding "Susie" in Fat Pizza: Back In Business.

During the COVID pandemic, Tran was commissioned by Diversity Arts Australia through their program "I am Not A Virus" [29] to produce Operation Kung Fu in response to the anti-Asian sentiment during that period.

In March 2022 it was reported[30] that Tran would amongst the cast of Paramount + Last King of the Cross, alongside Lincoln Younes, Tess Haubrich, Callan Mulvey, Matt Nable and Tim Roth. She also had a role in the film Suka and The Gift that Gives.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Tran is married to Japanese actor Takashi Hara.[32]



Year Title Alternative title Role Notes
2012 Enter The Dojo Fighter also producer
2012 Hit Girls 《职业女杀手》 Charlie Vu (Lead role) also co-director
2015 Fist of the Dragon 《猛龍追擊8小時》 Zhen
2015 The Challenge Letter 《挑戰書》 Jennifer
2016 Tracer Truy Sát Phuong Lua
2021 Operation Kung Flu[33] Phoenix also director and producer
2023 Suka[34] Lyn
2023 Knot Karen Pang
2023 The Gift That Gives Erin Huynh
2023 Echo 8[35] Echo 8 also director and producer


Year Title Role Notes
2008 Downtown Rumble Apprentice Main cast
2009 My Place Thi Mai 1 episode
2015 Australia: The Story of Us Vietnamese Mother 1 episode
2015 How Not to Behave Beach Girl 2 episodes
2015 Love Child Hoang Supporting cast (season 3)
2017 Tiger Cops Tiger Main cast
2018 Street Smart Trans Phat 8 episodes, Supporting cast
2019–21 Fat Pizza: Back In Business Suzie 4 episodes, Supporting cast
2019 Deadly Women Thi 1 episode
2019 Nightwalkers Flashback Vamp 1 episode
2023 Local Council Kara 2 episodes, Supporting cast
2023 Last King of the Cross Tran Cat Tien Main cast


  • Selected as 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australians 2021[36]
  • 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".[37]
  • 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.[38]
  • 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[39][40][41]
  • Tran has been selected as part of the 2016 Ones to Watch Producers in Australia.[42]


  1. ^ a b filmadmin (6 March 2023). "One On One With Award-Winning Actor & Filmmaker Maria Tran". FilmCentral Magazine. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  2. ^ Wah, Annette Shun. "Urban Action forum – Performance4a". Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  3. ^ Khoo, Olivia; Smaill, Belinda; Yue, Audrey (8 March 2013). Transnational Australian Cinema: Ethics in the Asian Diasporas. Lexington Books. ISBN 9780739173251.
  4. ^ Goldbart, Max (6 May 2022). "'Last King Of The Cross': Paramount+ Australia Drama Adds Cast Members Including '300: Rise Of An Empire' Star Callan Mulvey". Deadline. Retrieved 9 March 2023.
  5. ^ Goldbart, Max (21 March 2023). "'Godfather'-esque Crime Thriller 'Last King Of The Cross' Is Proving That Australian TV Drama Is So Much More Than 'Neighbours'". Deadline. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  6. ^ a b c Dapin, Mark (3 June 2017). "Maria Tran: beaten up at high school, now action-movie ace". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  7. ^ "'It helped me stand taller': Martial arts took Maria from bullied student to action star". SBS News. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
  8. ^ III, Lee B. Golden (18 February 2023). "ECHOES AHEAD: A Word With 'Echo 8' Scribe Elizabeth H. Vu". Film Combat Syndicate. Retrieved 9 March 2023.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ artshub-au (12 March 2013). "Maria Tran, actor, filmmaker & educator". ScreenHub Australia. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  12. ^ "Cultural Exchange Program 2012". Fairfield High School School Newsletter.
  13. ^ "MARIA TRAN | 2019 Australian Delegates". AVLD. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  14. ^ "Young leaders from Vietnam and Australia shape the future of both nations at the 2019 Australia - Vietnam Young Leadership Dialogue". Matterhorn Communications. 27 May 2019. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  15. ^ "Multicultural Mentorship Films Screening-What's On-Activities/Hobbies-Paddington". Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  16. ^ a b "Screen NSW". Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  17. ^ ArtsHub. "Maria Tran, actor, filmmaker & educator". Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Speakers". 7 July 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  19. ^ "Maria Tran – on the search for Jackie Chan". ABC Brisbane. 13 September 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  20. ^ "Screen NSW". Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  21. ^ Caines, Kimberley (23 July 2013). "Change Our Lives film breaks new ground in hepatitis fight". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  22. ^ Stone, Lucy (30 June 2016). "Following in the footsteps of Jackie Chan". Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  23. ^ Boulous, Chris (21 November 2017). "Talking my language". Fairfield City Champion. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  24. ^ "Diverse Screens filmmaker Maria Tran · Diversity Arts Australia". Diversity Arts Australia. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  25. ^ Stanford, Lauren (19 January 2014). "Young movie makers get a taste of the real thing". Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  26. ^ "KNL EXCLUSIVE! Maria Tran: Fairfield's internationally acclaimed actress and filmmaker - fairfieldlocalnews". 10 February 2023. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  27. ^ "ECHO 8: TRUY SAT'S Maria Tran is Locked and Loaded for Her Directorial Debut with the Upcoming Action-Thriller!". ACTION-FLIX. 26 December 2019. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  28. ^ III, Lee B. Golden (24 October 2016). "Review: TRUY SAT (2016) Fires On All Cylinders With Slickness And Style". Film Combat Syndicate. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  29. ^ "Confronting racism in a different way - conveying the message through action comedy film". SBS Language. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  30. ^ Goldbart, Max (6 May 2022). "'Last King Of The Cross': Paramount+ Australia Drama Adds Cast Members Including '300: Rise Of An Empire' Star Callan Mulvey". Deadline. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  31. ^ "Joy Hopwood's The Gift That Gives Cast Set for a January 2023 Shoot - The Curb". 15 December 2022. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  32. ^ "'Echo 8' and The World of Indie Filmmaking - Black Belt Magazine". Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  33. ^ Golden, Lee B. (2 April 2021). "OPERATION KUNG FLU Trailer: Maria Tran Takes Racism To Task In The New Action Comedy Short From Phoenix Eye". Film Combat Syndicate. Retrieved 5 June 2023.
  34. ^ Kelly, Vivienne (27 July 2022). "'Suka' Begins Principal Photography in Sydney". Variety Australia. Retrieved 5 June 2023.
  35. ^ "Echo 8". Echo 8. Retrieved 5 June 2023.
  36. ^ "40 Under 40 Awards – 2021 Winners". Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  37. ^ "Suite of fellowships awarded to NSW artists". Limelight. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  38. ^ Tseen (10 April 2008). "Press Release – Youth Week Shortcut's Film Festival Winner (Fairfield Powerhouse, NSW)". Asian Australian Studies News. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  39. ^ Mat, Nguyen (1 August 2014). "Sen Trắng: Maria Tran – Carramar girl in running to be Bollywood star!". Sen Trắng. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  40. ^ Perez, Bianca (30 July 2014). "Bollywood is the next target for Maria Tran". Fairfield City Champion. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  41. ^ "Maria Tran and her journey to DreamGirls 2014". SBS Your Language. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  42. ^ "Ones To Watch » Screen Producers Australia". Retrieved 24 May 2016.

External links[edit]