Birthdate: February 10, 1988
Birthplace: Westborough, Massachusetts, USA
Dan Kwan (birth name: Daniel Kwan) is one member of the director pair known as “Daniels” (with co-director Daniel Scheinert), who has written, produced, and directed two features, after making dozens of music videos since 2010 with such artists as The Hundred in the Hands, Foster the People, Tenacious D., Manchester Orchestra and DJ Snake, whose “Turn Down for What” (starring Kwan himself) achieved viral status.
Kwan’s feature debut with Scheinert was Swiss Army Man (2016), an absurdist comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano. His follow-up feature (co-directed with 13 other directors handling one segment each, and co-written with 15 other writers) was the loopy Florida-set comedy, Omniboat: A Fast Boat Fantasia (2020), which premiered at the 2020 Sundance film festival. Dan Kwan’s second co-directed feature with Scheinert premiered at the 2022 South by Southwest film festival: the Michelle Yeoh-starring science fiction comedy, Everything Everywhere All at Once, theatrically released shortly after the SXSW premiere. The project had been originally announced in 2017 under the Russo Brothers production banner.
After studying animation at Boston-based Emerson College, Kwan made his first foray into narrative filmmaking in 2009 with the short, Swingers, which he made with Scheinert. The pair followed this with the short, Puppets (2010). Dan Kwan, with Scheinert, then began a prolific career (much of it under the support of Columbia Records) as co-makers of music videos, driven by kooky concepts, flatulence, and narrative drive. Kwan co-founded We Direct Music Videos, an organization of music video directors committed to sustainable labor practices.
Dan Kwan was born in Pennsylvania but raised in Massachusetts. His Chinese parents originally met in Syracuse, N.Y. Kwan gained his love of movies from his father, a voracious movie watcher. Kwan originally attended the University of Connecticut to study accounting. He is a self-taught animator, studying the craft on YouTube. Kwan transferred from UConn to Emerson College in Boston, where he earned a B.A. and specialized in animation and design. Dan Kwan lives near his “Daniels” partner Scheinert in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park. His net worth is $1.3 million.
On a First Name Basis: For every music video, TV production and feature film which Dan Kwan has written and directed with Daniel Scheinert, the possessory credit on screen and all promotional art is simply the one-word “Daniels.”
Flaw: Daniel Kwan has stated that he has ADHD.
Odd Couple: According to Kwan, he and Daniel Scheinert disliked each other and each other’s work when they were both students at Emerson College.
Introvert: Kwan claims that he wanted to be an animator and graphic designer because “I didn’t want to interact with other humans.”
Ready for My Close-Up: Daniel Kwan acted on camera for the music video he and Schenert made with DJ Snake, “Turn Down for What.”
Eyeballs: Kwan’s and Scheinert’s music video “Turn Down for What” claims over one billion YouTube viewings.
Statement: Daniel Kwan has stated about his feature films made with Scheinert that “we’ve always snuck in sincerity under absurdity out of insecurity. Now we’re confident enough to do it on purpose.
Advice to aspiring filmmakers: “Make stuff you want to see on the internet or see in the world…