Born in Venezuela to Chinese parents and raised in Milwaukee, WI,
Zi grew up always with a paintbrush, notebook, or musical instrument in his hands.
His passion for illustrating graphic novels, writing, and composing music brought him to New York City. He studied film scoring at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and Steinhardt School through the generosity of the NYU Trustee, Tisch, and Al Jolson Scholarships. In addition, he studied painting and illustration at The Art Students League of New York.
He forged these multiple pursuits into film, working at the Tribeca Film Institute, The Criterion Collection, HBO, and Big Beach Films.
The joys of filmmaking brought him to Columbia University’s Graduate Film Division, where he now earns an MFA in film directing and screenwriting. His sci-fi project, The Glitch, won the Spirit of Jesse Award at The Jesse Thompkins III Foundation for Young People in the Arts. His thesis film, Cain, continues to explore the realms of science fiction and fantasy through the world of Neanderthals and prehistoric humans. Cain received the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s 2013 short film production grant for its pursuit of realism in science.