Z. Eric Yang was born in Shanghai, China. With a passion for filmmaking, he came to the United States in 1999. He attended The University of Memphis and the Graduate Film Conservatory at Florida State University, where he studied under such acclaimed film directors as Craig Brewer ("Hustle and Flow", "Footloose") and Victor Nunez ("Ruby's Paradise", "Ulee's Gold").
Eric's unique upbringing and life experiences have given him the extraordinary ability and compassion to find humanity and dignity in people from all walks of life, and elevate their stories to an emotional level. In 2007, his thesis film, "The State of Sunshine", earned him a "Best Asian-American Student Filmmaker" award from Director's Guild of America. In 2008, the film went on to win a Student Academy Award. In 2009, with a crew consisting of his students, he wrote and directed another short film "The Darkroom", which has been showcased at numerous film festivals across the country. In 2011, his feature-length screenplay "Midland's Got Talent" earned him an Annenberg Film Fellowship from the esteemed Sundance Institute Feature Film Program.