Cary Joji Fukunaga

Award-winning indie director

August 26, 2014

Cary Joji Fukunaga, U.C. Santa Cruz, History '99

Cary Fukunaga is one of the film industry's hottest new directors. He was awarded an Emmy in the category of "Outstanding Directory for a Drama Series" for the HBO series True Detective beating out directors of acclaimed dramas such as Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. In addition to his role as director, he serves as executive producer of the HBO series.

His first short film, made while a student at New York University, was screened at the Sundance Film Festival and won a 2005 Student Academy Award. That film, Victoria Para Chino, was based on the true story of the worst single case of illegal immigrant death in U.S. history.

Fukunaga's first feature-length film, Sin Nombre, won him the Sundance Festival's 2009 Best Director award. Sin Nombre, filmed in Spanish, is a gritty portrayal of Mexican drug gangs and Central Americans trying to reach the U.S. Fukunaga spent two years researching the film, riding on the immigrant-carrying freight trains and interviewing incarcerated gangsters in Mexican prisons.

In a change of pace, Fukunaga followed Sin Nombre with his take on Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre, starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. 

Fukunaga is currently editing his next film, Beast of No Nation, which is scheduled for release in 2015.