Gregori Viens was born in Los Angeles but grew up in Paris, and is a dual citizen of France and the United States. After studying sociology at the Université de Paris, he moved back to California and obtained a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA, and later an M.F.A. in Film from Syracuse University. At age 24, he made his first feature length documentary, Island of Roses, The Jews of Rhodes in Los Angeles. He taught undergraduate and graduate film classes at UCLA School of Theater Film and Television, as well as Occidental College and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His 2009 feature comedy Punching the Clown, co-written with Henry Phillips, won the Audience Award at the Slamdance Film Festival and received wide ranging critical acclaim. His 2016 follow up Punching Henry premiered at SXSW and was awarded the Story Award by the International Screenwriters Association at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival. Beyond France and the US, he has also lived in Latin America (Nicaragua and Chile) as well as Eastern Africa (Djibouti).