Received a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Florida.
Likes to cast Chen Chang, Elaine Jin, and Nien-Jen Wu in his films. He even cast fellow auteur and filmmaker Hsiao-Hsien Hou as one of the leads in his 1985 film Taipei Story.
Uses a variety of interesting nicknames for his characters: "Sly", "Honey", "Threads" as the name of various gang members in A Brighter Summer Day (1991), "Birdy" and "Akeem" in A Confucian Confusion (1994), "Hong Kong" and "Red Fish" in Mahjong (1996), and "NJ", "Yang-Yang" and "Fatty" in Yi Yi (2000).
Taught Theatre and later Film at The Taipei National University of The Arts.
Michelangelo Antonioni is one of his favorite directors.
Member of jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001
The first Taiwanese and second Chinese to win Best Director Award at Cannes (2000) after Kar-Wai Wong (HK).
Applied, and got admitted to Harvard's Architecture School, The Harvard University Graduate School of Design, but decided not to go.
Attended USC Film School for awhile, before going to Seattle to work as an engineer.