BIO: My Origin
Born in Houston, Texas and raised in Hiroshima, Japan, Mako realized at age 6 that she would rather manipulate image to communicate than to speak and that perhaps becoming a filmmaker might be a more pragmatic aspiration than to become an astronaut to explore boundless space above. She gave up pursuing astronomy at UC Berkeley and went on to earn a BA in Philosophy from Columbia University to prepare herself to be a storyteller before learning the craft of filmmaking at New York University Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Film MFA program.
Mako’s natural fascination in piecing images together made her a natural editor. In 2010, Mako edited critically acclaimed feature film PARIAH, directed by Dee Rees, which won 2011 Sundance Film Festival's Best Cinematography Award as well as John Cassavetes Award at Independent Spirit Awards. In 2012, Mako edited HBO/Michael Mann project WITNESS, a four-part documentary series on combat photojournalists, which was nominated for Best Limited Series at 2013 IDA Awards. She reunited with Michael Mann on his latest motion picture BLACKHAT, a cyber thriller starring Chris Hemsworth, Wei Tang, and Viola Davis. In 2016, her work on a feature documentary WE ARE X won her Special Jury Award in Editing at 2016 Sundance Film Festival. In 2017, Mako joined a team of CITY OF LIES, a crime thriller based on a true story of an unsolved crime of Notorious B.I.G., starring Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker.
Mako reunited with Dee Rees on her Netflix-released MUDBOUND, starring Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige and Jason Mitchell. After premiering at Sundance Film Festival 2017, the film went on to win four Oscar nominations: Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Song.
On the TV front, she worked on a new HBO drama series HERE AND NOW created by Alan Ball starring Holly Hunter and Tim Robbins as well as the final episode of WESTWORLD (Season Two) created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy.
Currently, Mako is gearing up to start post production on THE LAST THING HE WANTED, her third collaboration with acclaimed director Dee Rees.
As a writer-director, Mako was chosen as one of 25 emerging filmmakers to participate in Toronto Int'l Film Festival's Talent Lab in 2012. Her latest short film THE LULL BREAKER was announced as "Top Five Finalists" at 2013 RBC Emerging Filmmakers Competition sponsored by TIFF. Mako is also a graduate of AFI's Directing Workshop for Women where she shot a short film SHE, WHO EXCELS IN SOLITUDE (available on Amazon), a period drama about little known history of "Mercury 13." Her earlier short film KATYA (available on iTunes) was also inspired by a true event, this time a Cold War Soviet submarine K-129's nuclear disaster in 1968.
Mako can often be spotted splitting lanes on I-10 riding her signature green Vespa, a.k.a. her spaceship.