I am Hieu Gray. filmmaker. poet.
Hieu Gray (formally Huynh) is a filmmaker and poet. She is interested in bringing poetry to life by creating visually stunning and provocative short films using the narrative of the poetic word as a jumping off point and taking the poems into unexpected and surprising landscapes. Her short films have been screened nationally and internationally (APAture Film Festival - San Francisco, Asian Film Festival of Dallas, the International Video Poem Festival - Athens, Greece).
Gray feels that by bringing poetry into the film medium, she is introducing a whole new generation of readers to poetry. She wants to change the way people experience and perceive poetry by moving beyond the written word and into the dynamic world of film where anything is possible. Now, more than ever, poetry has always been the medium through which people have expressed themselves in times of social and political upheaval. She wants to help provide a platform for emerging, diverse poets to spread their poems into greater audiences. As a first-generation Vietnamese-American, Gray has been influenced by her culture’s poetic heritage, as well as, her small town South Georgia roots. This dichotomy provides a tension that she explores in her own poetry and films about the Southern gothic, identity, and the immigrant story.
For over a decade, Gray honed her craft as a Senior Producer at CNN creating some of the network’s most memorable and innovative campaigns. Her most recent projects at the network included the launch campaigns for Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown and the award-winning commercials for CNNGo, the network’s inaugural on-demand streaming service. Her work on these projects won numerous industry awards including several Gold PROMAX/BDA awards and New York Festivals Gold awards. Her work greatly contributed to CNN’s win as the Worldwide Marketing Team of the year at the PROMAX/BDA awards. However, her most rewarding project has been a personal one. For World Refugee Day, she initiated and spearheaded a company-wide key art campaign that focused on highlighting employees who also happened to be refugees. She wanted to change the narrative of what it means to be a refugee – not only are they survivors, but also neighbors, friends, and co-workers. Her efforts drew attention to the many faces of being a refugee and won a PROMAX/BDA Worldwide award.
In 2016, Gray moved to the West Coast to pursue her writing and filmmaking full-time. During this time, she was selected as a Norman Mailer Center poetry summer fellow at Pepperdine University where she started work on her poetry that focused on cultural identity, immigration, and her experience as a refugee. While at Pepperdine, the groundwork was laid for her visual poetry project.
Her poetry has been performed live on stage in New York City for Emotive Fruition – a performance series where actors bring verse to life. She was selected as part of Thread@Yale Class of 2016 where journalists gathered from all over the world to explore and expand storytelling in modern media.
Gray holds an MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from NYU’s inaugural low-residency program with workshops in Paris. She has been a finalist for the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship which recognizes young poets under thirty-two. She graduated from Emory University with a BA in Creative Writing and Journalism.