Naomi Ko is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, cultural producer, and actor.
Naomi's independent pilot, Nice, was an official selection for the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival in the Indie Episodic Category. Naomi created, wrote, and stars in this half-hour series pilot about Teddy Park, a 20-something Korean American living in Minnesota, who must deal with the consequences of keeping her breast cancer a secret from her friends and family. Nice is produced by Carolyn Mao and directed by Andrew Ahn.
Naomi was born and raised in Minnesota to immigrant parents from South Korea. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, she planned to earn a doctorate degree in Islamic Art and Architecture. But she traded one unstable career path for another and pursued theater instead. She acted in plays while her own writings were produced in Minneapolis and St. Paul. At that time, she also worked in voter outreach for the Minnesota Secretary of State and ghostwrote the occasional romance novel.
Naomi is a Moth StorySLAM winner and a featured performer for Mortified. She played Sungmi in the 2014 award-winning feature film Dear White People. Naomi's writing and performance is featured on The Mortified Guide, now available on Netflix.
Naomi has also won multiple grants and fellowships for her film, writing, acting, and theater work. In 2016, she was awarded with the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council Next Step Funding Grant. She was a recipient of the 2017 McKnight Media Artist Fellowship, administered by FilmNorth and funded by The McKnight Foundation. She received the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant to direct and edit a short film in 2018. This year, she is one of the first individuals to receive a Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship through the Jerome Foundation.
Passionate about education and advocacy, Naomi performs and speaks at colleges, universities, and conferences across the country to mentor young POCs and diverse students. Naomi co-founded the APIA MN Film Collective, an initiative to create space and opportunities for the APIA filmmaking community in the Twin Cities. Naomi is also one of the founding members of FAWK (Funny Asian Women Kollective), which features pan-Asian Pacific Islander American female-identifying comedic artists from Minnesota and the Midwest.
Naomi is currently in pre-production for an untitled short film and is developing her feature film, Good Genes.