BIO: My Origin
Born in Houston, Texas and raised in Hiroshima, Japan, Mako realized, at age 6, 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.
The following year, a feature documentary WE ARE X - produced by Oscar-winning producer John Battsek (SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN) - had its World Premiere in World Cinema Documentary Competition at 2016 Sundance Film Festival and Mako won Special Jury Award in Editing.
Mako's latest feature is MUDBOUND, directed by Dee Rees (PARIAH, BESSIE) starring Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige and Jason Mitchell. The film premiered in Premieres section at Sundance Film Festival 2017. The film is to be released in late 2017 by Netflix.
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 iTunes), 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.