Austin is a New Yorker who has lived on the Upper West Side. The film was inspired by his own experiences and observations sitting on benches along and in the city's true people's park—Riverside Park. The Riverside Bench is dedicated to his father, Eugene Pei-Yu Chang.
Austin majored in cinematography and received his BFA from The School of Visual Arts. He joined the International Cinematographers Guild and has been working in camera on features and TV shows for HBO and Netflix. He is the founder of Creative Class 6, a full service media production company.
Austin assembled a group of close friends and colleagues for his film—many of whom had their own "riverside bench" experiences— to create an atmosphere of trust around the bench. He hopes the film translates into an authentic representation of the real New York and its people, and of Riverside Park in all its diversity.