Mila Zuo is an assistant professor of film in the Department of Theatre and Film at the University of British Columbia (2019-). Previously she was an assistant professor of film at Oregon State University (2015-2019). She received her MA and PhD in Cinema and Media Studies from the Department of Film, TV, and Digital Media at UCLA, and her BA in English and Film Studies at UC-Berkeley.
Her research interests include transnational Asian and Asian/American cinemas, film philosophy, acting and performance, star studies, feminist and queer theory, and critical race and ethnicity studies. Her forthcoming book Vulgar Beauty: Acting Chinese in the Global Sensorium (Duke University Press, April 2022) examines the affective world-making of contemporary global Chinese women film stars. Her research appears in Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, Feminist Media Histories journal, Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Celebrity Studies journal, Post45, Exploiting East Asian Cinemas: Genre, Circulation, Reception, The Palgrave Handbook of Asian Cinema, and Dangdai Dianying (Contemporary Cinema).
As a film- and video-maker, Zuo has written, directed, and produced short narrative films, documentaries, and music videos. Zuo’s short narrative film, Carnal Orient (2016) premiered at Slamdance International Film Festival and was an official selection at numerous international film festivals, screening domestically and internationally in locations including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Palm Beach, Portland, London, Singapore, Nagoya, Osaka, and the Czech Republic. Carnal Orient earned Special Mention Experimental Film at the 2016 DisOrient Asian American Film Festival. Zuo’s visual essay “Détourning Asia/America with Valerie Soe” premiered at CAAMfest 2019 in San Francisco and has been selected at numerous film festivals. In 2019, Zuo was awarded the Oregon Media Arts Fellowship, sponsored by the Oregon Arts Commission and administered by the NW Film Center, in support of her second award-winning narrative short, Kin, which premiered at the 44th edition of the Portland International Film Festival in 2021. Zuo’s creative work has been covered in publications including Bust, Paper magazine, KoreAm journal, and Hollywomen.