Born in Hong Kong, Lee immigrated to Montreal, Canada, when he was 16. He attended UC Berkeley, Yale University and UCLA for his B.A. in English, M.A. in English and M.F.A. in Film Directing respectively.
Lee founded Margin Films in 1996 as a production company; Margin Films moved into film distribution starting with the film Bugis Street.
Flow (1996) was Lee's first feature film, which focused on a gay filmmaker talking about his work to an unseen friend behind a camera, and then became a series of films within a film, as the audience is then shown four of the filmmaker's short films. The film screened at the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Turin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, the London Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, and Outfest and received positive reviews from L.A. Weekly as well as The Los Angeles Times.
Shopping for Fangs was Lee's second feature film, which he co-directed with Justin Lin while both filmmakers attended UCLA Film School. The film stars John Cho and is considered to be a cult classic in the Asian American independent film genre.
Drift (2000) was Lee's third feature film, which starred Reggie Lee, and which got nominated for Best Feature film at the Torino International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Ethan Mao (2004) was Lee's fourth feature film, which won an Audience Award at the Torino International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Jun Hee Lee starred as the title character, Ethan Mao.
Lee's first foray into documentary film, 0506HK (2007), premiered July 2007 at the Vancouver International Film Centre Hong Kong Stories film series, commemorating the 10-year anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China. The film explored his personal and political perspectives on whether to return to Hong Kong, as well as the evolving cultural and social climate, through interviews with family members and friends living and working in both Hong Kong and Los Angeles.
Lee's film The People I've Slept With - which was written and produced by Koji Steven Sakai - premiered in the United States at the 2009 Hawaii International Film Festival, internationally at the 2009 São Paulo International Film Festival, the 2010 Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival in Asia, and the 2010 Hamburg Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in Europe. The film also stars Karin Anna Cheung, Archie Kao, James Shigeta, Lynn Chen, Randall Park, Elizabeth Sung, Wilson Cruz, Rane Jameson, Brian Yang and Tim Chiou.
Released in 2012, White Frog stars Joan Chen, B. D. Wong, Kelly Hu, Booboo Stewart, Harry Shum Jr., Tyler Posey. David Henry Hwang also served as the film's Executive Producer and it was written by Ellie Wen and Fabienne Wen.
Released in 2016, The Unbidden stars Tamlyn Tomita, Julia Nickson, Michelle Krusiec, Hayden Szeto, Amy Hill, Elizabeth Sung, Akemi Look, Karin Anna Cheung, Kimberly-Rose Wolter, and Jason Yee. It written by Narhee Ahn. The feature world premiered at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in 2016.
Lee's short films include To Ride a Cow (1993), Fall 1990 (1999), Little Love (2010), a short documentary entitled A Woman Named Canyon Sam (2011) about author and performance artist Canyon Sam, and Today Has Been Weird (2011).
Lee has also published a novel, entitled Dress Like a Boy in 2000. It has received positive reviews in publications such as AsianWeek and XY Magazine.
In October 2009, Lee's graphic novel Campus Ghost Story, created in collaboration with artist John Hahn was published by Fresh Fear, an imprint of Margin Films.
Lee produced all the films that he has directed. In addition, he served as a producer on the feature film Chink starring Jason Tobin, Eugenia Yuan and Tzi Ma, directed by Stanley Yung and written by Koji Steven Sakai, who wrote his previous film, The People I've Slept With. He was also a producer on Ringo Le's feature film, Big Gay Love (2013). He has also served as a producer on the short documentary, Taky Kimura: The Dragon's Legacy (2010), directed by Mellissa Tong.Anxiety of Inexpression and the Otherness Machine (1992) (V)
To Ride a Cow (1993) (V)
Shopping for Fangs (1997)
Fall 1990 (1999)
Ethan Mao (2004)
The People I've Slept With (2009)
Little Love (2010)
Today Has Been Weird (2011)
White Frog (2012)
The Unbidden (2016)
Taky Kimura: The Dragon's Legacy (2000)
Finishing the Game: The Search for a New Bruce Lee (2007) .... Bruce Lee Extra