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 premiered at 2011 Sundance U.S. Dramatic Competition and won Best Cinematography award. The film also earned Best Actress nomination and won John Cassavetes Award at Independent Spirit Awards. In 2012, Mako completed editing two episodes of HBO/Michael Mann project WITNESS, a four-part documentary series on combat photojournalists in conflict zones in Mexico, Brazil, Libya and Uganda. One of her two episodes WITNESS: LIBYA premiered at Venice Film Festival in 2012. The series was nominated in "Best Limited Series" category at 2013 IDA Awards. In 2013, Mako edited two indie features: WILDLIKE (Dir: Frank Hall Green) and THE WORLD MADE STRAIGHT (Dir: David Burris). In 2014 Mako edited features ANESTHESIA (Dir: Tim Blake Nelson), an official entry of 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, and JACKIE & RYAN (Dir: Ami Canaan Mann) which made its world premiere in 2014 Venice Film Festival's Orizzonti Competition section. Next, Mako edited her first studio motion picture BLACKHAT, a cyber thriller directed by Michael Mann, starring Chris Hemsworth, Wei Tang, and Viola Davis. In 2016, Mako edited a feature documentary WE ARE X - produced by Oscar-winning producer John Battsek (SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN), for which she wont Special Jury Award in Editing at 2016 Sundance Film Festival where the film had its World Premiere in World Cinema Documentary Competition.
Mako reunited with Dee Rees (PARIAH, BESSIE) for her second feature MUDBOUND, starring Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige and Jason Mitchell. After premiering at Sundance Film Festival 2017 with critical acclaim, the film was picked up by Netflix and will be released during the 2018 Oscar season.
In summer 2017, Mako has completed editing LABYRINTH, a crime thriller directed by Brad Furman (THE INFILTRATOR). The film is based on a true story of an unsolved crime of Notorious B.I.G., starring Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker.
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.