|A B O U T
Born in Whittier, California, Justin Calen Chenn has battled and survived being homeless, self
mutilation, motels, criminal behavior, and many self destructive habits before discovering film in 2007 at
age 24 and then, using it to turn his life around.
Justin was living a comfortable well-to-do-life before things started to spiral down at age 10. At age 16,
Justin, his mother, and his sister, lost everything, including their home. From there, things only worsened.
After getting kicked out of college, Justin's goal was to become "a criminal with a lot of scars." Eventually,
he put his demons to rest and was admitted as an illustration major to the prestigious Pasadena Art
Center College of Design, despite having no training in the arts. However, halfway through his
education, Justin found himself at an emotional breaking point. And that was, thankfully, when he found
film. In 2007, inspired by British directors Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, and Tim Burton, Justin decided a
feature was going to be the first thing he ever did as a filmmaker. For the film, which eventually became
THE WAY OF SNOW (2008), Justin self taught himself every facet of production and sold things lilke his
vintage toy collection to raise money for the Super 16 drama, which ended up being shot with only a two
person crew. Justin served as director, writer, actor, editor, dp, sound recordist, and more. The film was
semi-autobiographical and told the true story of Justin's battles with self mutilation. The host of branded
scars seen on Justin's arm in the film were real and added to the haunting power that drives the film.
THE WAY OF SNOW went on to premiere at the UK Bradford Film Festival in 2008. At the International
Film Festival of South Africa, Justin was nominated for Best Director, and he also picked up an
Honorable Mention, and awards for Best Editing, Best Production Design, and Best Make-Up at the Los
Angeles New Wave International Film Festival. In 2010, Justin made another feature, a sci-fi anthology
titled EMBERS OF THE SKY (2010) where he collabored with a vaunted team that included Bruce
Logan, ASC, DP of the original Tron (1982) and whose credits included everything from Star Wars to
2001: A Space Odyssey. EMBERS OF THE SKY went on to pick up a nomination for Best Picture and
Best Actress at the AOF International Film Festival in 2011. Justin went on to win his first awards in film
when his third feature, the sci-fi comedy FOLKLORE, won Best Director & Best Acting Ensemble at the
2012 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival.
Justin is a first generation Chinese-American who enjoys speaking his native tongue, Mandarin
Chinese. He has lived and worked in motels for a large portion of his life and attributes the molding of his
personality to some of the things he experienced, which includes running a motel in a gang and crime
infested city. He continues to be an avid British cinema enthusiast, and is also content now to let the past
be the past.
©2012. Justin Calen Chenn. All rights reserved.