Beijing-born director Chloe Zhao, hailed for US road movie Nomadland, says it will be a while before she will dare tackle her roots on screen.
Oscar front-runner Nomadland is the latest of Zhao's films set in the US heartland and follows van-dwelling Americans on society's margins who roam sparsely populated states.
It dominated in the Golden Globes but has faced a backlash in China after some people questioned Zhao's loyalty to the country of her birth.
She was even called a "traitor" after someone cited an old interview when she said "the US is now my country." Asked during a Santa Barbara International Film Festival discussion about making a film in China or about her youth, Zhao said it was "scariest to dig into your own past" and "it's going to take another few years to not be afraid to look at myself."
Zhao, 39, left China as a teen for a British school then finished her education in Los Angeles and New York. On restrictions caused by the pandemic, Zhao said: "I miss going back to China, going home to see my family. And to eat food that I can digest."