At seventeen Esy fled to Mexico to study the murals of Siqueiros and to secretly join the Zapatistas. But she ended up in communication design, where her work was been published internationally through the houses of Henry Holt, Bloomsbury, and Weldon Owen, including the award-winning modern visual reference guide SHOW ME HOW. Then she shot and co produced a film called THING WITH NO NAME (Dir. Sarah Friedland) in South Africa which was nominated for Best Documentary at the Los Angeles Film Festival and Best Cinematography at the Woodstock Film Festival. More of her cinematography work can be seen in the films BORN TO FLY on Independent Lens (Outstanding Arts and Culture Programming Emmy nominee 2016, with DPs Albert Maysles and Kirsten Johnson, Dir. Cat Gund) and BEFORE YOU KNOW IT on America Reframed (Dir. PJ Raval). Her directorial debut JEEPNEY (2015) premiered on the PBS World Channel program FILIPINO AMERICAN LIVES, was nominated for Best Documentary at CAAMFest and won the jury prize for Best Cinematography at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from organizations including The Princess Grace Foundation USA, The Ford Foundation’s JustFilms Initiative, The New York Film Festival, The MacDowell Colony, The Center for Asian American Media, and The American Association of University Women. Her clients include The New York Times, Condé Nast, and Filmmaker Magazine. She plans to do this narrative art thing forever, no matter what forms it evolves into.
Her CV can be found here