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Hong Kong Film Directors' Guild - Directors - Donnie YEN
甄子丹 | YEN Donnie

I have a wish for years, to make use of the immense social influence of films to create aseries of works filled with positive energy, so as to inspire everyone around me.

I believe that everyone has a force inside to become a super hero and contribute tosociety. As an actor and director, I have the duty to harness this collective strength tohelp those in need.

That is why I used super hero as the name of my production company. I hope to makefilms about righteous heroes that can serve as examples for the public, particularlyyoung people. The world will be better for this.


Donnie Yen was born in Guangzhou, China, in 1963. His family moved to Hong Kong when he was two, then immigrated to the United States when he was eleven, settling in Boston. Yen learned tai chi from his mother Mark Bow-sim, a world-famous expert in the martial art, and the Chinese instrument guqin from his father Klyster Yen.

In the 1980s, Yen was discovered by noted action choreographer Yuen Wo Ping, casting him as the lead in Drunken Tai Chi (1984) and turning him into an instant star. Yen later starred in the breakdancing martial arts film Mismatched Couples (1985), as well as the cop drama Tiger Cage (1988). In 1992, he was invited by Tsui Hark to star in Dragon Inn (1992) and Once Upon a Time in China II, the latter film winning Yen a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the 12th Hong Kong Film Awards. Yen subsequently had starring roles in films such as Iron Monkey (1993), King of Beggars (1992) and Wing Chun (1994), directed by Yuen Wo Ping, and Butterfly Sword (1993), directed by Michael Mak Dong-Git. With the decline in popularity of kungfu films, Yen sought work in television and starred in such ATV dramas as The Kung Fu Master (1994) and Fist of Fury (1995), which were well-received.

Inspired by mentor Yuen Wo Ping, Yen started to take an interest in working behind the camera. His directorial debut Legend of the Wolf (1997), in which he also starred, was favorably reviewed. For his sophomore effort Ballistic Kiss (1998), Yen was nominated for Best Young Director Award at Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival in Hokkaido, Japan, and for Best Director at the 5th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards.

In 1998, Yen tried to expand his career in Hollywood in 1998 but did not appear in many films. He later enjoyed a career rejuvenation with his performance in noted Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s Hero (2002). He then co-directed Twins Effect with Dante Lam in 2003, which won Best Action Choreography at the 40th Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan. The following year, he won Best Action Choreography at the 23rd Hong Kong Film Awards for the same film.

Yen reached yet another career high with the title role in Ip Man (2008), about the life of the titled wing-chun master, reprising the same role in the sequel, Ip Man 2 (2910). The former was awarded Best Film at the 28th Hong Kong Film Awards and was nominated for Best Director and Best Actor, as well as both a commercial success and critical hit in both Hong Kong and abroad and the films affirmed Yen’s status as a key figure in Chinese martial arts cinema. In 2013, Yen formed his own company, Super Hero Films. Its inaugural production, titled Dragon City, will be directed by Derek Kwok Chi-kin. Yen’s latest project will be The Iceman Cometh 3D.

Year Chinese name English name Directors
2004 《見習黑玫瑰》
Protégé de la Rose Noire WONG Chun Chun Barbara
2003 《千機變》
Twins Effect LAM Dante
1998 《殺殺人‧跳跳舞》
Ballistic Kiss
1998 《新唐山大兄》
Shanghai Affairs
1997 《戰狼傳說》
Legend of the Wolf