If you’re new here, I’m Ien.
Friends know me for going too deep in conversations too fast (ha!), being a world class whistler, and saying, “life is such a trip!”
For most of my life I’ve been obsessed with finding the ULTIMATE answers to all of life.
What’s with this whole floating around on a gigantic spherical mass of real estate in space as bipedal, self-aware animals participating in a multi-billion year journey towards self-actualization, expression, and joyful presence of being... What is all this and what’s it all for??
When it comes to these most existential ponderings, since a young age I’ve repeatedly felt a profound passion and love towards exploring these dimensions through art and storytelling.
Dad used to tell me since I was young, “Ien, if Jesus was born today, he’d be a filmmaker!” - because Jesus so often spoke through parables and stories - stories that would invite people to surf with the currents of the ocean versus just observing the waves from afar.
- circa 2014 -
when I was living a starving artist lifestyle after college in a concrete basement, and my best friend came to visit me
- circa 1994 -
dad holding me during his graduation day from Harvard Divinity School
I guess what dad said made a profound impact.
In the few handful of years I’ve been alive, I’ve nurtured a resilient curiosity to explore the deeper questions - but then crystallize them into simpler forms of story for more everyday people to engage with - for EVERYONE to participate in and enjoy, be challenged, united, and empowered by.
Amidst my seeking both inner truths and outer ambitions, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs along the way.
In my life I have…
Transformed from a rigidly conservative bible-thumping Christian into a guy who no longer knows how to answer the question, “are you religious?” (I literally have no idea how to answer this question)
Won the world’s largest student film festival with a 5min one-shot film that’s told entirely backwards
Struggled with and transcended porn addiction and substance abuse
Joined a half cult and lost one of my best friends along the way
Been the Chief Creative of Mindset @ DIVE Studios and told the more intimate, humanizing stories of world-class celebrities like Eric Nam, Summer Walker, Julia Michaels, and more
Criticized myself immensely for feeling completely jaded and burnt out, and then learned the importance of self-gentleness
Started my own production company that aims to design cinema that is nourishing of the human spirit
- 2013 -
self portrait in Mumbai, India
- 2017-2020 -
stills from Middle Ground (top), Odd Man Out (middle), Spectrum (bottom)
Earlier in my career, I was driven more by personal ambition than I was by joy and service. I was trying so hard to “get there”, to succeed, and to be liked by everyone around me.
Somewhere along the way I had lost a part of myself. I had lost the spark, the love, and the curiosity that started this whole thing in the first place.
Now at the age of 30, I’m seeing that while I did have a tiny taste of the “success” I had been chasing for so long, I’m realizing that it’s far more fulfilling to be here now, and to approach life as a dance instead of a sprint.
In this current chapter, I’m beginning anew in creating and sharing with others in a variety of ways: filmmaking, speaking, consulting, and creating original content about spirituality/storytelling/philosophy - and my intention is to enjoy every step of the way.
Sometimes I’m still stumbling pretty hard, but I suppose that’s only natural for any human being.
If you’ve read this far, I’m grateful you’re here.
I hope that by exploring my work you’ll be challenged, empowered, sparked, or provoked towards greater expansion of consciousness and actualizing the spirit within.
It is an honor and confounding joy to be in this journey of life with you.
- circa 2020 -
a somewhat recent, decent photo of me with a nice smile