Ray Arthur Wang
Ray Arthur Wang
Wang speaking at star dedication on Cinco De Mayo 2007 (Photo Credit: Dane Andrew)
|Education||Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley|
|Occupation||Film director, film producer|
Ray Arthur Wang was born and raised in Livermore, California, where he graduated from Livermore High School. In 1999, he acquired his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with music minor from University of California, Berkeley, as one of the five finalists for its highest award of the University Medal and a recipient of numerous honors, including the Robert Gordon Sproul Award, Top Prize from the National Electrical Engineering Honor Society (Eta Kappa Nu), Fellowship from the National Engineering Honor Society (Tau Beta Pi), as well as membership in Phi Beta Kappa.
A little over one year later, he completed his M.S. in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, and a little over four years after that, he completed his Ph.D. also in Electrical Engineering at Stanford, researching wireless communication under the guidance of Donald C. Cox with the support of the National Science Foundation Fellowship and Stanford Graduate Fellowship (Ric Weiland Family Fellow). Throughout the years, Wang has lived in California (Berkeley, Stanford, San Jose), Nevada (Las Vegas), New Jersey (Murray Hill), and Kentucky (Berea), among other places, including abroad (Germany).
Wang pursued a career in electrical engineering but was increasingly moved by social injustices around him. A self-taught filmmaker, he founded Raw Power Productions in 2004 with a mission of using the medium of film to effect social change. On one of many stops on the film festival circuit, his feature directorial debut Carma in 2005 was named "Best Picture" and Wang "Indie Auteur of the Year" for his work as director, writer, producer, composer, and actor on his supernatural thriller with a conscience, while Film Threat claimed "Wang is a director to watch". Featuring Academy Award nominee Karen Black, Carma premiered as a Special Presentation at Cinequest Film Festival under the name Compartment and became the first feature film to launch exclusively online via streaming DVD-quality pay-per-view. For the second project of the team that was invited to the Sundance Producers' Conference in 2006, Wang was a producer on the award-winning women's rights documentary and pioneer in online film fund raising, Tapestries of Hope, featuring Betty Makoni, one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2009, and released 2010 nationwide in over 100 theaters (and later on Showtime).
Shortly after, the San Francisco Chronicle praised Wang's debut directorial 35mm film The Profile for evoking memories of the infamous Wen Ho Lee case on its 10th Anniversary. Film critic Richard von Busack also spoke positively on the film in the Metro Silicon Valley, while Film Threat stated, "The Profile feels timeless but is also clearly modern as we look at the recent illegal immigration laws enacted by Arizona." Wang then moved to the RED camera for his dramedic short about the homeless condition When Sally Met Rascal..., starring Oscar nominee Sally Kirkland and Rascal The World's Ugliest Dog and having been distributed by GoDigital. Switching to 3D film in 2011, Wang then released a 3D horror short Down Under, raising awareness on the 2008-2010 series of hate crimes against Indians in Australia. Shot with 5K RED Epic in 2013, his multi-award winning family drama short Oksana tells the story of a 9-year-old white girl adopted by an Indian American man and American Indian (Native American) woman and is loosely based on the controversial subject of Russian adoptions in America.
Returning to 35mm film, Wang completed in 2014 the short Circle of Life, starring Native Canadian actor Graham Greene (Oscar nominee, Dances with Wolves) and Native American actor Michael Horse (Twin Peaks) and revolving around the autumn/twilight years of human life. 2014 then saw the completion of yet another existential meditation on life and death, this time the short Black and White shot with 5K RED Epic, which saw him teaming up for the fourth time with PEN Literary Award-winning writer Susan Black and directing for the second time both Sally Kirkland and Olivia Prado, the child actress who had won a best lead acting award in their first collaboration Oksana.
Wang started formal piano training at the age of five, shortly after his perfect pitch and ability to play by ear were noticed, and went on to win several piano competitions. Wang was invited to perform as piano soloist with symphony orchestras over ten times, starting at age ten when he won the Livermore-Amador Symphony's Concerto Competition. After a guest piano appearance with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra for the U.S. Premiere of Philip Glass' Songs of Milarepa in 1999, he then won the Stanford Concerto Competition in 2000, performing Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto with them. In 2006, The Oakland Tribune wrote in reference to his performance of Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto, "Wang received the Diablo Symphony's most vociferous ovation ever." A year later, Wang retired from the classical piano concertizing scene to focus on film and engineering but continues to play piano and/or compose music for his movie scores. Wang’s debut CD, RAW Encores, was released in December 2013.
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