Dean Yamada grew up in the farming community of Davis, California. His dad was a Nisei (second generation Japanese-American) farmer and the inspiration for his graduate thesis film The Nisei Farmer at USC. The film earned him the grand prize for best short film at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. While attending film school, Dean worked at FilmRoos as both a production coordinator and assistant editor.
His work has screened at the Venice Film Festival, Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival and Aspen Shortsfest. Dean completed his first feature film Cicada and is committed to a life of educating the next generation of filmmakers.