American Masters—Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir

TCA Panelist Bios

Air date: 05/03/2021

American Masters— Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir

TCA Panelist Bios


Amy Tan
Writer and film subject


Born in the U.S. to immigrant parents from China, Amy Tan rejected her mother’s expectations that she become a doctor and concert pianist. She chose to write fiction instead. Her novels are “The Joy Luck Club,” “The Kitchen God’s Wife,” “The Hundred Secret Senses,” “The Bonesetter’s Daughter,” “Saving Fish from Drowning” and “Valley of Amazement,” all New York Times bestsellers. She is the author of two memoirs, “The Opposite of Fate” and “Where the Past Begins;” two children’s books, “The Moon Lady and Sagwa” and “The Chinese Siamese Cat;” and numerous articles for magazines. Tan served as co-producer and co-screenwriter for the film adaptation of “The Joy Luck Club” and was creative consultant for Sagwa: The Chinese Siamese Cat, the Emmy-winning PBS KIDS series. She also wrote the libretto for the opera based on her novel “The Bonesetter’s Daughter.” With music composed by Stewart Wallace, the opera had its world premiere in 2008 at the San Francisco Opera. Tan is the subject of the American Masters documentary Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir, which premiered at Sundance in 2021. In addition, she is an instructor of a MasterClass on Fiction Writing.



Michael Kantor

American Masters Executive Producer



Michael Kantor joined American Masters as the series’ executive producer in April 2014 and founded its theatrical imprint, American Masters Pictures, in January 2016. American Masters Pictures premiered three films at Sundance Film Festival in 2019: Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear and Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am; and will premiere three new documentaries at Sundance this year. Recent American Masters programs include Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr StoryRaúl Juliá: The World’s a Stage and Laura Ingalls Wilder: Prairie to Page. An Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, Kantor’s PBS series include Broadway: The American Musical (hosted by Julie Andrews), Make ‘Em Laugh (hosted by Billy Crystal) and Superheroes (hosted by Liev Schreiber), and he co-wrote the companion books for each series. He served as executive producer of Give Me the Banjo with Steve Martin and distributes the American Film Theatre series, including Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance starring Katharine Hepburn and Chekhov’s Three Sisters with Laurence Olivier. Kantor serves as a Tony nominator and oversees the American Masters Podcast.