Ryan Michael Connolly

Discipline/Field: Writer / Filmmaker

Based in: Los Angeles, CA

About: Ryan Connolly is a new writer and filmmaker who recently left behind a successful two-decade national security career to pursue the great passions of his life. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the U.S. Naval Academy. He later earned an MA in National Security Affairs (East Asian Security Studies) from the Naval Postgraduate School and an MA in Linguistics from Georgetown University.

Ryan served 15 years on active duty as a U.S. Marine Corps officer. The highlights of his career include: working at the Pentagon on U.S.-Asia political-military affairs; service in China and Japan; and a combat tour in Iraq. He is fluent in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.

Ryan is currently a full-time graduate student in the Film and Television Production MFA Program, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California. His areas of focus are writing and directing.

Project Title: A Place in the Dust. The film will tell the story of a Nepali-born American who was orphaned as a child and raised in the U.S. foster care system. After serving in the Marines, he returns to Nepal in search of a family he believes to be still alive. His journey turns into a tale of revenge and a battle for his very soul.

Ryan and his fellow filmmakers intend to use the film to help promote the casting of Asians and Asian-Americans in the U.S. film industry and to stimulate the artistic community of Nepal. They will also partner with or create a small humanitarian assistance organization, in an effort to test an innovative model for using filmmaking as a vehicle to provide assistance such as education, medical care, and construction relief to the local communities where a film is being made.

Website/links to project: ryanmichaelconnolly.com