Yoko Okumura is a genre-fluid writer, director, and performer. Born in a Buddhist temple in Japan and raised in the frost bite of Minneapolis, Yoko now lives and works in Los Angeles.
She is obsessed with telling rebellious stories through underrepresented perspectives and thrives in the intersection of grit and glamour. Yoko loves to bring these original visions to life as a writer/director, but also gains tremendous joy helping to bring the creative vision of showrunners and writers to life.
Yoko sold a story pitch to Sam Raimi's Quibi horror anthology "50 States of Fright" and directed the episode "Ball of Twine" starring Ming-na Wen and Karen Allen.
She was recently one of eight filmmakers selected to receive a grant from Vimeo create a short doc about a small business struggling amidst the pandemic.
Yoko’s feature film project The Religion of Girlfriends, was accepted into the WIF/Sundance Institute Financing Intensive. Her directing clients have included Lifetime/A&E's scripted digital series Fall Into Me, Super Deluxe’s Turnt Beauty series and Uproxxx Uncharted series. Branded clients have included Cover Girl, Honda and Instagram.
Most recently she shadowed showrunner/director Peter Paige on the Freeform series Good Trouble. She was selected for the Ryan Murphy Half Program where she was mentored by director Gwyneth Horder-Payton on the Netflix show The Politician. She was also chosen for the Fox Directing Program through which she shadowed producing-director Jason Winer on the CBS comedy Life in Pieces.
Yoko is also co-creator of digital series FACETS, a documentary episodic about trailblazing women who have carved unique life paths for themselves. Her various doc work hs been selected for the Vimeo Staff Pick three times.
Her short, Kimi Kabuki, received a DGA Student Film Award, the Panavision New Filmmakers Award and an Austin Film Festival Jury Award.
Yoko has a BFA in Film/Video from CALARTS and an MFA in Film Directing from the American Film Institute.
When not working in media arts Yoko dabbles in fire dancing, aerial arts and would love to learn how to do a backflip.