Born to immigrant parents and raised in New Jersey, Li’s path to filmmaking began in the fine arts. She studied painting and her works have been showcased in New York and London. She discovered her love for filmmaking at Carnegie Mellon University while directing and producing short films in conjunction with the School of Drama and PBS. After graduating college, Li worked as an investment banking analyst and associate in New York and Hong Kong before changing career paths to pursue her passion for filmmaking.

Since moving to Los Angeles, Li has worked her way up from intern to associate producer, then co-producer, on eight feature documentary films spanning diverse subjects such as Iceberg Slim, Sarah Palin, the Insane Clown Posse, 1930s female jazz instrumentalists, and Tom Bradley. She recently co-produced HBO’s Academy short-listed TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER, directed by Nick Broomfield.

SHOOT selected Erin Li as a helmer to watch in their 2015 worldwide search for the next generation of commercial and film directors. She has since directed a commercial for Los Angeles based tennis wear line, L’Oeuf Poché, and has directed branded content for Omaze, General Electric, and Call of Duty.

The jury at Other Worlds Austin recently gave Li the Mary Shelley Award, for directing “a work that examines the human condition and the positive and dangerous possibilities of science.” Li was chosen based on her sci-fi short film, KEPLER X-47, which she directed and co-wrote as part of American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women. 

Li was one of eight women selected for AFI’s program. KEPLER X-47 was nominated for Best Short Film at The Geekie Awards, a Golden Reel Award by the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, and has screened at numerous festivals and venues, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Young Directors Night, SITGES, Comic-Con, the British Film Institute, and American Cinematheque.

SciFiNow calls KEPLER X-47 “stunning…combines an intriguing premise with beautiful visuals…you’re definitely going to want to catch it.” Gizmodo adds, “Living in a human zoo on an alien planet is as crazy as it sounds.” Dual Pixels says, “Pairing a rich melodically eerie tone with Victorian costumes furthers the enchantment and its oddity. The cast is small, but the tension is easily felt throughout every scene.”

Li’s previous film, TO THE BONE, went viral after being featured on Upworthy and awarded a Vimeo Staff Pick. The film premiered at Slamdance, where Li was named a “Director to Watch.” TO THE BONE was a Cinema Without Borders critic’s pick, Hammer-to-Nail finalist, and screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Academy for Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Li directed and co-wrote the film as part of Film Independent’s Project Involve directing fellowship.

L.A. COFFIN SCHOOL, a short film by Li, screened at Refinery29’s 29 Rooms installation as part of 2016 New York Fashion Week in the Shatterbox x Killer Films curated room. Li directed and co-wrote the film as part of her Armed with a Camera directing fellowship with Visual Communications. The award-winning film screened at Urbanworld, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Busan West and was broadcast on Mnet, the #1 cable network for Asian pop culture in the US.

Li has been selected as a directing fellow for the inaugural FOX Feature Filmmakers Lab, organized in conjunction with AFI and AFI Directing Workshop for Women.


* Mary Shelley Award Winner, Other Worlds Austin
* SHOOT New Directors Showcase
* The Scout, SourceECreative
* LACMA Young Directors Night
* Vimeo Staff Pick
* Vimeo Ladies with Lenses
* Refinery 29’s 29 Rooms, New York Fashion Week
* American Cinematheque

* Slamdance Film Festival
* SITGES International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia
* Best Short Film, Geekie Award Nominee
* Golden Reel Nominee for Excellence in Short Film, LA Asian Pacific Film Festival
* Hammer-to-Nail Finalist
* Los Angeles Film Festival
* Best Drama, Hammer Museum Open Projector Night
* Comic-Con
* Sci-Fi London
* Philip K. Dick Film Festival


* Upworthy
* Huffington Post
* We Are Mitú
* Voto Latino
* Sploid / Gawker
* Film Threat
* Angry Asian Man
* The World Journal
* Dual Pixels

* Mochi Magazine
* Cinema Assassin
* Film School Rejects
* Variety
* Thompson on Hollywood
* Hollywood Reporter


* AFI Directing Workshop for Women
* Film Independent Project Involve Directing Fellowship
* Visual Communications Armed with a Camera Directing Fellowship
* The Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Virtual Reality Storytelling Day Lab
* ARC Center for Cultural Innovation Grant Recipient
* The Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors Foundation Grant Recipient
* Panavision New Filmmakers Grant


* L’Oeuf Poché
* General Electric
* Omaze
* Call of Duty Endowment