Iron Hands

A Film by Johnson Cheng


As a 12-year-old girl prepares for her final test trying out for the traditionally all-boys Chinese youth Olympic weightlifting team, she makes an unlikely connection with the gym’s reclusive groundskeeper.


  • Picture of Johnson Cheng © Johnson Cheng

    Johnson Cheng

    Johnson Cheng is an award-winning NYC-based Chinese American writer/director hailing from the San Gabriel Valley of L.A. County. After receiving his B.A. in International Relations, he joined Columbia University's M.F.A. Film Directing/Screenwriting program. His films have screened at international film festivals such as Tribeca, Reykjavík, Uppsala, Los Angeles, and Palm Springs. He is a recipient of the Armed with a Camera Fellowship and an alumnus of the Reykjavík Transatlantic Talent Lab, Telluride Student Symposium, and the Smithsonian Institute/National Endowment for the Humanities’ Emerging Filmmakers Lab. His film, “Iron Hands (铁手)”, had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and won the Best Student Live Action Short Film Award at Palm Springs. Johnson began his career as an intern at PIXAR, working on feature films such as “Monsters University” and "Coco". He went on to work as a Story Editor on “The Book of Mojo”, Asst. Editor on “The Book of Life”, and Asst. Editor on DreamWorks Animation's “Kung Fu Panda 3” – the first animated co-production between the U.S. and China. Johnson is a member of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective Writers Workshop and the Motion Picture Editors Guild.

Awards + Festivals

  • 16th TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, New York, NY, USA)April 20, 2017
    23rd PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Palm Springs, CA, USA)June 23, 2017
  • 40th ASIAN AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, New York, NY, USA)July 29, 2017
  • 13th TRAVERSE CITY FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Traverse City, MI, USA)July 30, 2017
    6th LONG BEACH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Long Beach, NY, USA)August 2, 2017
  • 21st LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Los Angeles, CA, USA)August 2, 2017
  • 1st MID-AUTUMN FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, New York, NY, USA)September 30, 2017
  • 14th REYKJAVIK INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Reykjavik, Iceland)September 28, 2017
  • 4th ZERO PLUS INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Tyumen, Russia)September 30, 2017
  • 26th HEARTLAND FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Indianapolis, IN, USA)October 12, 2017
  • 8th TWINCITIES FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Minneapolis, IN, USA)October 18, 2017
  • 36th UPPSALA INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Uppsala, Sweden)October 23, 2017
  • 12th SHOW ME SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Aukland, New Zealand)October 28, 2017
  • 13th CHINESE AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Los Angeles, CA, USA)November 1, 2017
  • 2nd NEW YORK SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, New York, USA)November 3, 2017
  • 18th SAN DIEGO ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, San Diego, CA, USA)November 9, 2017
  • 26th EUROSHORTS YOUNG FILMMAKERS FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Warsaw, Poland)November 27, 2017
  • 26th EUROSHORTS INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Warsaw, Poland)December 3, 2017
  • 15th BOGOTA SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Bogota, Colombia)December 5, 2017
  • 12th ZUBROFFKA INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Białystok, Poland)December 6, 2017
  • NORTH CAROLINA FILM AWARD (Official Selection, North Carolina)December 7, 2017
  • 12th LECCE FILM FEST (Official Selection, Lecce, Italy)December 16, 2017
  • 6th MICE FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Valencia, Spain)January 10, 2018
    7th IRVINE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Costa Mesa, CA, USA)January 25, 2018
  • 5th SNOWDANCE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Landsberg am Lech, Germany)January 27, 2018
  • 11th INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S FILM FESTIVAL BANGLADESH 2018 (Official Selection, Dhaka, Bangladesh)January 27, 2018
  • 28th CINÉ JUNIOR INTERNATIONAL YOUTH CINEMA FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Val-de-Marne, France)January 31, 2018
  • 1st FOUR SEASONS FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, London, UK)February 3, 2018
  • 3rd INDIEFLICKS FILM FESTIVAL 2018 (Official Selection, Manchester, England)February 7, 2018
  • 3rd INDIEFLICKS FILM FESTIVAL 2018 (Official Selection, Liverpool, England)February 12, 2018
  • 21st NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, New York, NY, USA)February 23, 2018
  • 7th VICTORIA TX INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Victoria, South Texas, USA)March 5, 2018
  • 3rd GLOBAL CINEMA FILM FESTIVAL OF BOSTON (Official Selection, Boston, MA, USA)March 8, 2018
  • 20th TIFF - KIDS INT’L FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Toronto, Canada)March 9, 2018
  • KIDS FIRST! FILM FESTIVAL 2018 (Official Selection, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA)March 16, 2018
  • 4th LYONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Lyons, CO, USA)March 23, 2018
  • 10th CMS INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Lucknow, India)April 5, 2018
  • 27th FLORIDA FILM FESTIVAL 2018 (Official Selection, Maitland, Florida)April 6, 2018
  • 17th IVY FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Providence, RI, USA)April 9, 2018
  • 14th TALCA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Talca, Chile)April 10, 2018
  • 8th CAPITAL CITY FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Lansing, MI, USA)April 11, 2018
  • 13th THE MYRTLE BEACH INT'L FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA)April 16, 2018
  • 9th SKEPTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Cagliari, Italy)April 18, 2018
  • 29th DAKINO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (Competition, Bucharest, Romania)April 18, 2018
  • 47th SEHSÜCHTE INT'L STUDENT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Potsdam, Germany)April 25, 2018
  • 8th HILL COUNTRY FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Fredericksburg, Texas, USA)April 26, 2018
  • 4th TWISTER ALLEY FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Woodward, OK, USA)May 3, 2018
  • 3th ENNESIMO FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Italy)May 4, 2018
  • 10th FILM FEST PETALUMA (Official Selection, Petaluma, CA, USA)May 5, 2018
  • 19th INT'L SHORT FILM FESTIVAL - CORTI DA SOGNI - ANTONIO RICCI (Official Selection, Ravenna, Italy)May 9, 2018
  • 36th CAAMFEST (Official Selection, San Francisco, USA)May 10, 2018
  • NASHVILLE FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Nashville, TN, USA)May 10, 2018
  • 4th ANNUAL NASSAU FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Princeton, NJ, USA)May 17, 2018
  • 2nd NEPAL AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Hyattsville, MD, USA)May 18, 2018
  • 1st REDLINE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Toronto, Ontario Canada)May 25, 2018
  • 20th MO&FRIESE KINDER KURZFILM FESTIVAL 2018 (Official Selection, Hamburg, Germany)June 3, 2018
  • 3rd DOC SUNBACK FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Mulvane, Kansas, USA)June 21, 2018
  • 7th CARDIFF MINI SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Cardiff, UK)June 22, 2018
  • 13th SARDINIA FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Sardinia, Italy)May 28, 2018
  • 3rd PAPHOS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Cyprus)June 22, 2018
  • 15th IN THE PALACE INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Balchik, Bulgaria)June 23, 2018
  • 1st LEBANESE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Achraffieh, Lebanon)July 12, 2018
  • 7th MADRID INT'L FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Madrid, Spain)July 20, 2018
  • 3rd TRANSILVANIA SHORTS INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Sibiu, Romania)July 29, 2018
  • 24th KINDER FILM FEST KYOTO (Official Selection, Kyoto, Japan)August 2, 2018
  • 3rd STILL VOICES SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Longford, Ireland)August 15, 2018
  • 18th BLISSFEST333 INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Denver, CO, USA)August 25, 2018
  • 3rd THE BLACK SEA FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Vama Veche, Romania)August 26, 2018
  • 14th 60 SECONDS OR LESS VIDEO FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Chestertown, Maryland, USA)September 12, 2018
  • 3rd REVOLUTION ME FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, New York, USA)September 21, 2018
  • 4th MINIKINO FILM WEEK (Official Selection, Bali, Indonesia)October 6, 2018
  • 11th BUSHWICK FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Brooklyn, NY, USA)October 10, 2018
  • 61st CINE GOLDEN EAGLE AWARDS FOR INDEPENDENT AND EMERGING MEDIA (Official Selection, Washington, DC, USA)November 1, 2018
  • 3rd THE INT'L GULLAH FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Georgetown, South Carolina, USA)November 2, 2018
  • 9th WINCHESTER FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Winchester, UK)November 3, 2018
  • 11th AMARCORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Rimini, Italy)November 14, 2018
  • 7th SMITA PATIL DOCUMENTARY AND SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Pune, India)December 6, 2018
  • 1st ATHENS INT'L CHILDREN'S FILM FESTIVAL (Official Selection, Athens, Greece)December 7, 2018



Johnson Cheng
Johnson Cheng
Tianqi Zhuo
Director of Photography
Shipei Wen
Art Direction
Mengna Jiang
Jingxi Guo, Shanying Wang
Johnson Cheng
Sound Design
William Hsieh
Zeke Khaseli, Yudhi Arfani


Running Time
11 min.
Shooting Format
2K (Arri Alexa)
Screening Format
DCP, BluRay, DVD, .mov, mp4 (HD)
Aspect Ratio
Dolby Digital



Markus Kaatsch
aug&ohr medien
Riemannstr. 21
10961 Berlin, Germany

+49 (0)30 61620068

markus@augohr .de


Columbia University, School of the Arts
M.F.A. Film Directing/Screenwriting
513 Dodge Hall, Mail Code 1805
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027, USA


Johnson Cheng
Film’s Facebook: