Born in the Uyghur Autonomous Region of China on the Gobi Desert, Jian “Layla” Luo is a visual storyteller whose work is driven by a desire to explore versions of the world unseen. She graduated with an MFA degree in Film Directing from NYU, and holds her BAs in Sociology and Film Studies. Her short film “What Do You Know About the Water and the Moon” tells a magical realist story about a young woman who gives birth to a jellyfish during an attempted abortion. Premiering at the 2019 Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival, it screened at dozens of top tier festivals and won several awards, before it launched the NOWNESS Asia platform in June 2020. Jian is the recipient of the Ang Lee grant, the Hollywood Foreign Press Award, and the “artist in residence” program at Palm Springs International Film Festival. In between her directing work, Jian provides professional and artistic advice to grad film students at the School of Visual Arts as a guest lecturer. Jian divides her time between New York, London and Beijing.