Phuong Mai Nguyen

Filmmaker (animation)

January–February 2023

Phuong Mai Nguyen

Benjamin Renner

  • Cinema
  • Cities
  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco
“For this animated adaptation, I want the audience to feel immersed in the eclectic, electric, multicultural landscape of today’s America.”

I work in animated films. Telling stories through drawn and animated images has always been my primary interest. When I discovered the comic book In Waves, I didn’t know what it was about, and I could never have guessed that it would turn out to be the subject of my first film. I was told that it was “a love story set in the world of California surfing.” However, I had never lived in California, the only surfing I did was online, and the depths of the ocean filled me with intense anxiety. Yet, as I read, an unexpected emotion washed over me. The author, AJ Dungo, was able to touch upon universal themes – love, loss, and friendship – in a very sensitive way. His intimate, autobiographical tale achieves a form of rescue that I have always considered essential to all art forms: it heals broken hearts.

Deeply touched by his humble, poetic story, I wanted to pass it on by bringing it to the screen as an animated feature film.


Phuong Mai Nguyen graduated from the Gobelins School in 2009 and La Poudrière in 2011 in animated filmmaking. She has since directed several short films, including Chez moi, which was shortlisted by the César Academy and the Academy Awards in 2016. She was also the graphics artist for the short film Celui qui a deux âmes (César of the Best Animated Film in 2017) and the series project Une semaine de Ferme-l’oeil, and she and Charlotte Cambon co-directed Silex Films’ Culottées (a.k.a. Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World), a 30 x 3.5-minute episode series based upon Pénélope Bagieu’s comic books, which won multiple awards at film festivals and was sold across the world.


In partnership with

Silex films logo
Silex Films

SILEX FILMS is a Paris-based independent film company founded in 2009 and run by Priscilla Bertin and Judith Nora, with an eclectic line up of features and TV series, live-action and animation. Amongst the latest productions are the feature Rose by Aurélie Saada, the animated series Brazen (Culottées) and drama series Stalk for France Télévisions.


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