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Chia-Yi Renée Chao creates architecture and environments for film and television.  She studied architecture as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, and continued her graduate studies in Set & Production Design at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.  Following her studies, Renée began production designing short films and assisting in the art departments of various feature films.

Her first job in film was being the P.A. in production designer Thérèse DePrez’s art department on How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, then she moved on to set decorating for production designer Eloise Crane Stammerjohn on Falling for Grace (Tribeca Film Festival 2006), and handling props on director Jeff Lipsky’s Flannel Pajamas (Sundance Film Festival 2006).  She put together her first production design portfolio with her design work on numerous shorts which included, Missing (Short Films- Cannes Film Festival 2005), The Hill (Toronto International Film Festival 2004), Mr. A (Student Academy Award Nominee 2008), and Vacation (Best Production Design - Columbia University Film Festival 2007).

After three years of designing for short films and on-set art department experiences, Renée began designing for independent features, music videos, and commercials in New York and Los Angeles.  Her credits included: independent feature films Greetings from the Shore, Quarter Life Crisis, and Killer by Nature, music videos for Billy Ray Cyrus’s Wanna Be Your Joe and William Baldé’s Rayon de Soleil and commercials for Do Co Mo Wireless and State Farm Insurance.

Shortly after moving from New York to Los Angeles, Renée began work on her first action film as the Supervising Art Director for production designer Nathan Amondson and producer Bill Kong on Blood: The Last Vampire.  She then in the same year collaborated again with director Kit Hui in Hong Kong as the production designer on Fog () (Best Visual Achievement- SFIAAFF 2010).

In 2008, after spending merely three months in Los Angeles with her husband the year prior due to on location film shoots, Renée decided to take a hiatus from design and start a family.  She landed the Shop Manager position at 41 Sets, a set construction shop located in Hollywood owned by Doug Jeffery.  Ironically, she suddenly found herself on the other side of the set design business, chasing designers for more detailed drawings and money, coordinating with vendors and crews to meet productions’ tight deadlines, and learning how much it really cost to deliver finished scenery in Hollywood.

As of October 2012, Renée has relaunched her website, and is freelancing again as a designer for stage and film.  She resides in Cupertino, CA with her husband and two very active boys.