Hello, I'm Joy Dietrich and Jed Films houses the films and videos that I and my ad hoc group of collaborators make. The films are mostly about girls in trouble. That's abandoned girls; women feeling numb, disconnected, alienated; under-represented Asian American girls, who by the way have one of the highest depression rates in this country.
Though my subjects are primarily girls and women, I'm also for telling stories that hopefully touch you all - stories dealing with such universal themes as the search for identity, the yearning to belong, duality of human nature and social injustice.
Big themes for such a small outfit, right? Maybe. But I don't mind being a little lost and a little rough around the edges to get me where I want to go.
In case you're wondering, no, I didn't go to film school and, no, I don't work in the "Industry.” I went the outsider's route of spending a year of weekends and off-days working on other people's no-budget films, getting the hang of the process. And if it weren't for other people in the indie film business doing exactly the same thing, none of my films would have been made. Thanks to you all for chipping in.
I made my first work, SURPLUS, guerilla style in 1999-2000. A rag-tag team of dreamers descended upon a small farm in New Jersey to approximate a Korean landscape. This stark 22-minute, 16mm film is about the cost of poverty on a family, namely the abandonment of a beloved child. A favorite at film festivals, this and other short films allowed me to get funding for my debut feature fiction film, TIE A YELLOW RIBBON, which was completed in 2007 and aired on PBS in 2008. Winner of three Best Film awards and a Best Director prize, TIE A YELLOW RIBBON is about the growing pains of a 20-something Korean adoptee in her search for friendship, love and identity.
Should anyone be interested, I’m also a video journalist/director for hire. I direct, shoot and edit. So far, I’ve made videos, interviewing cinema legends like Werner Herzog and the Dardenne Brothers, and brilliant actors like Juliette Binoche for the online New York Times.
And just one last thing about myself - I'm a cowgirl at heart. You would not believe this if you met me. I'm a Korean adoptee who found herself in this weird state called Texas when I first arrived in the States as a wee lass. Though I only spent two years there and moved to the Midwest, I'll always remember the wide open spaces that made me feel like I had landed on some frontier where anything was possible.
Joy Dietrich works as a Research Editor at T – The New York Times Style Magazine when not engaged in her filmmaking activities.