Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan

Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan


Daniel Scheinert and daniel kwain

Director Daniel Kwan and co-writer Daniel Scheinert - collectively known as The Daniels - have been crafting films in their own distinctive style for years. Their controversial first feature Swiss Army Man and Oscar-nominated Everything Everywhere All at Once demonstrated that they're willing to take chances, earning them accolades along the way.

They’re a duo

Daniels have been making movies together since college. They met while working at a summer camp job and soon realized their shared love of storytelling.

Since then, they've been working together on music videos (such as Lil Jon's "Turn Down For What") and film projects alike. In 2016, they won a Sundance Film Festival best directing award for their first feature Swiss Army Man, which also stars Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe).

Their latest project, Everything Everywhere All At Once, has become one of the biggest successes so far this year. It's an action-packed sci-fi dramedy following a Chinese American woman as she becomes embroiled in a multiverse plot to save her family.

It's a humorous take on family dynamics, generational gaps and generational trauma that doesn't take itself too seriously. It combines absurd comedy with poignant exploration of what it means to be human.

They've had their fair share of bad ideas along the way, yet they haven't given up on their big visions. With their debut feature film, they achieved cult success and even found a studio that believes in them.

At SXSW last March, Universal executives were deeply moved by the filmmakers' vision and ability to connect with young people. As a result, they offered them an exclusive five-year feature partnership - something rare in the industry.

What's more, the studio appreciated their distinctive approach to filmmaking - always featuring a handcrafted aesthetic and bold visuals. This style proved successful at the box office with their latest movie, leading to plans for them to direct a half-hour comedy for Showtime in 2018.

Their next project, a Kung Fu sci-fi dramedy starring Michelle Yeoh, is scheduled for release in 2022. Recently they spoke with Anna Feder - head of film exhibition and festival programs in Visual and Media Arts department and curator of Bright Lights Film Series - about their most recent venture as well as how they got into this business.

They discussed ways to find creative inspiration and make your voice heard in projects. The discussion concluded with a Q&A.

They’re a team

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, better known as Daniels, have the unique talent of creating music videos that go viral as well as writing films that explore deeper issues. They've been working together since directing their first music video for DJ Snake's "Turn Down For What," which boasts over 1 billion views on YouTube.

After college, they joined forces as teaching assistants at a New York Film Academy summer camp and quickly discovered they shared more interests than expected. Soon enough, the two started directing shorts in Kwan's backyard, and their work soon gained widespread recognition online.

Their first feature, Swiss Army Man, became a beloved classic. Their most recent film, Everything Everywhere All At Once, cemented A24's position as one of the studio's biggest successes; it earned 11 Oscar nominations in 2022.

Their latest film brings a multiverse to life, following Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) as she becomes involved in an effort to save the universe. The result is an exciting action film that addresses themes such as family, generational barriers and cultural gaps head-on.

What makes this movie unique is that it combines themes of self-discovery, identity and belonging, with reflections on human psychology. They've taken all these things and distilled them down to create an exquisite yet chaotic film.

There are so many scenes in the film that could have been taken from any number of stories, yet it's the chemistry between Yeoh and her co-stars, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, and James Hong that truly elevates the experience. There's an overwhelming mix of emotions and ideas here but they all work so well together that it's hard not to get swept away in it all.

The best part is that this movie is packed with unexpected twists and turns - some you won't see in the trailer below. It's an impressive addition to A24's catalog and we can't wait to see what these two auteurs will create next.

They’re an anomaly

Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwain have an unusual creative partnership. It began when they met as film students at Emerson College. Driven by a shared love of films, the duo made shorts together in their backyard which eventually gained notoriety through Vimeo staff picks as well as viral music videos.

They first joined forces in 2016 to make the feature film Swiss Army Man, which won a Directing Award at Sundance Film Festival and earned multiple nominations. Subsequently, they released Everything Everywhere All At Once which quickly became both an unexpected box office success and critical darling.

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They’re a studio

Daniel Scheinert '10 and Daniel Kwain '09 are busy creating their own weird movies when they're not working on other people's. That's how they ended up as directors for Everything Everywhere All At Once, the box office sensation that recently passed $100 million at the box office.

They've created unique stories across music videos, television and film, such as DJ Snake's "Turn Down For What" (2013) and their most recent feature film Swiss Army Man (2016). Now, following their recent box office success with Swiss Army Man (2016), Universal has entered into an exclusive five-year partnership with them.

Universal and The Daniels' relationship began with their first project together, Swiss Army Man, a surreal comedy/drama which was enthusiastically accepted by Universal and went on to become A24's highest-grosing film ever. It was exactly the kind of daring, director-driven title which A24 had become known for, regardless of commercial viability.

After that, they launched a series of shorts which gained them widespread online attention - from Vimeo staff picks like Swingers to an increasingly popular webseries about college students remaking their own music videos. In the end, however, it was the internet itself who decided they had arrived as a duo.

Directoring music videos, TV shows or films often means the Daniels work from one large room. This space includes a living and working area, kitchenette and dining space as well as a bathroom - all within one compact area.

They prefer being able to monitor their work progress rather than spending a lot of time planning ahead. Furthermore, they don't want to be in an expansive building where noise might get in their way or distract them from telling a compelling story.

Kwan and Scheinert may be unorthodox filmmakers, but they possess a remarkable talent for making films happen. After having completed several successful low-budget and cult projects, the duo is well-versed in how to accomplish ambitious tasks with limited resources.

Their latest film, a quirky sci-fi adventure starring Michelle Yeoh and exploring the idea of a Chinese American woman traversing through multiverse, was shot in one location to help them stay focused on the vision while providing easy production logistics. They managed to shoot on an under $20 million budget which gave them hope that something great could be made.

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