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Badass Women at Any Age

Oct 18, 2022

Led by her belief that it is never too late to reinvent yourself, Dr. Zhu Shen pivoted from a successful career in biotech to a successful venture into filmmaking. Motivated by her son’s extraordinary talents and her husband’s life story, Zhu’s journey of triumph, heartbreak, and motherhood is fueled by a deep love for her family and her passion for helping others by sharing her stories.  Zhu is a biotech CEO turned award-winning filmmaker best known for two Oscar-qualified critically acclaimed animation shorts. She produced Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest about a young Holocaust survivor animated by her 11-year-old son, Perry Chen, and Changyou’s Journey about her late husband's life, written and directed by Perry Chen. She is currently writing, directing, and producing her personal documentary feature, Journey of a Thousand Miles endorsed by Janet Yang, President of the Academy of Motion Pictures.  Changyou’s Journey premiered at Toronto International Film Festival, screened at 19 International film festivals, and won five US film festival awards. Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest won 3 US film Festival awards and screened at over 30 international film festivals. Zhu’s love for movies started while watching propaganda films in her childhood during the Chinese cultural revolution.

In her former life, she was an award-winning biotech executive author, speaker, and Chinese business expert, featured on national and trade media, including Fox Business Week, China Central Television, Pharmaceutical Executive, and The Scientist magazine. She earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Colorado, her MBA at Cornell University Johnson School of Management, and studied medicine at Peking Union Medical College and pre-med at Peking University.

What You Will Hear in This Episode: 

How Zhu arrived to where she is today

The benefit of dual degrees in science and business

First self-manifested opportunity to write

Encouraging her son to write film reviews at an early age

Becoming an accidental filmmaker

Zhu’s husband's cancer diagnosis and her son's desire to animate his father’s story, Changyou’s Journey, inspired Zhu’s film, The Journey of a Thousand Miles

Lessons learned

Helping families reconnect

Message for women


“What I did that was successful was to create a niche for myself where I could truly shine and I could leverage my unique knowledge and connections and seize the opportunity to share something that is really exciting with the world.”

“That is really the most important thing and what compels me to want to finish this film because I want to share our distinct but also universal journey of how we connected in the end to achieve this level of relationship that is unconditional love that I hope all families could enjoy.”

“The film is really a vehicle for sharing our story and journey in the hope of being able to give some food for thought for those who are in the same boat.”

“It’s never too late to reinvent and guided by your curiosity and passion learn something entirely new."

"Your life can be your art and your art can be your life so  there is no reason for us not to live the life that we imagine."


Journey of 1000 Miles Film

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