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  • In Memoriam: Roger Ebert 1942-2013 American journalist, Film critic and Asian American Cinema Champion

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    1942-2013 Roger Ebert Champion of Asian American Film Photo: RogerEbert.com

    Roger Ebert 1942-2013 Photo: RogerEbert.comRoger Ebert lost his battle with cancer today. He will be greatly missed. Most famous for his film criticism, he was the first movie critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.

    Since 1967, and up to just two days ago he wrote a column for the Chicago Sun-Times.

    He authored twenty books, and co-hosted several long-running syndicated television shows including Siskel and Ebert at the Movies. 

    I will remember Roger Ebert not only for his reviews and commentary, but also for his advocacy of Asian American cinema.

    I thank Roger Ebert for his outspoken support and standing up (literally) for a film called Better Luck Tomorrow.

    When Ebert stood on his theater seat and yelled back at an audience member who was chastising the film's director Justin Lin and his cast on stage for making an "empty and amoral" film, it was a watershed moment in Asian American cinema.

    Mind you, this was at the third screening of Lin's film Better Luck Tomorrow at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival where alot is at stake. Filmmakers are hoping that distribution deals are made. 

    A video posted on Youtube captured the moment. (click here for the full story with the Youtube video). The audience member said, "You know how to make a movie. But why with the talent up there and yourself make a film as so empty and amoral for Asian Americans and Americans?"

    Then Roger Ebert gets up and says "What I find very condescending and disturbing about your statement is nobody would say to a bunch of white filmmakers, "How could you do this to your people?!" (applause from the crowd) Then Ebert continues, "Yes, film has the right to be about these people and Asian American characters have the right to be whoever the hell they want to be. They do not have to represent their people."

    And as America's influential dean of film critics sat back down in his seat, he had just put Better Luck Tomorrow on the map. 

    Better Luck Tomorrow Directed by Justin Lin, MTV...

  • GIRL RISING - in Select Regal Theaters April 19-26 Frieda Pinto, Priyanka Chopra, Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Selena Gomez, and others narrate

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    GIRL RISING to screen nationwide in select Regal Cinemas April 19-26, 2013 Photo credit: GIRL RISING

    Sokha is one of nine girls featured in GIRL RISING. She was a Cambodian child of the dump, orphaned and forced to pick through garbage to survive. Through a series of miracles she finds her way to a school and has risen to become a star student with a promising future. Photo credit: GIRL RISING

    April 19-26, 2013 GIRL RISING is screening nationwide in selected Regal Cinemas.

    “No one is more vulnerable than an uneducated girl, and this film is a wake-up call to the world that it’s time to educate girls,” actress Freida Pinto said in a statement to India-Times.com. “Right now, 66 million girls are not in school, and 14 million girls under 18 will be married this year — that’s 38,000 girls married today, and 13 girls married in the last 30 seconds."

    Freida Pinto joined other actresses Priyanka Chopra, Anne Hathaway, Alicia Keys, Meryl Streep, Selena Gomez, Kerry Washington, Salma Hayek, and Cate Blanchett to narrate GIRL RISING which recently premiered in Los Angeles and screened at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

    Sometimes it only takes a single person to start a revolution. This time, its a documentary film. GIRL RISING is the centerpiece of a campaign for girls' education. The film's message: "Educate Girls and you will change the world." A simple notion, yes, but in reality - not so simple.

    Millions of girls in developing countries face barriers to education that boys do not encounter. The film's campaign reports that 66 million school-age girls are not in school, 496 million girls over age 15 cannot read or write, and there are 33 million fewer girls than boys in primary school worldwide.

    They grow up in extreme poverty, they are subject to early and arranged marriages, they are child-slaves, they are victims of war, gender violence and discrimination, and much more.  

    The film is directed by Academy Award nominee director Richard E. Robbins, with a team of filmmakers to tell the stories of 9 girls from 9 countries, written by 9 writers,...

  • Happy Birthday March Fong Eu!

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    (Photo) Happy Birthday March Fong Eu! (LtoR) Suyin Fong Stein, March Fong Eu, Suzanne Joe Kai Photo by May Hsu, March 23, 2013

    March 29, 2013

    Happy Birthday to March Fong Eu, a truly great lady. Today, March 29, the former U.S. Ambassador to Micronesia and Secretary of State of California turns 91. 

    Happy Birthday March! (LtoR) Suyin Fong Stein, March Fong Eu, Suzanne Joe Kai Photo by May Hsu March 23, 2013   

    Last Saturday, her daughter Suyin and I celebrated her birthday early. Dr. Eu is in good heatlh, and maintains her natural sense of humor. (Click on the blue headline above to the full story)

    As a successful Asian American in the public eye for decades as well as being a female in the male dominated world of politics, Dr. Eu has been one of the most popular political figures in California history.

    She has inspired generations of people from all walks of life and backgrounds. She has always had a strong connection to serve the 'common man.' For decades, her official government office staff whisked her from event to event by limousine and plane, yet she's equally comfortable just getting on a public bus. 

    Senator Edward Kennedy with Honorable March Fong EuDr. Eu was elected Secretary of State of California in 1974, becoming the first Asian American woman ever elected to a state constitutional office in the United States. 

    Dr. Eu was elected Secretary of State five times, and the only woman to be elected to that position until 2006.

    In 1978, she won in a landslide, winning every single county, including the traditionally Republican stronghold of Orange County, becoming one of only four Democrats to ever win the county in a statewide race in the past half century. 

    She succeeded Jerry Brown who was Secretary of State from 1971 to 1975. Prior to her successful election for Secretary of State, in 1966, Dr. Fong was elected to four terms to the California State Assembly from the 15th District, representing Oakland and Castro Valley.

    President Bill Clinton (lower left) looks on as March Fong Eu, Secretary of State of California delivers speech.Her influence as an American...

  • Applications are currently being accepted for the 2013 Latino Media Market - Get your project in front of funders, distributors and dealmakers

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    PBS's Katherine Lo, Dir, Program Development Independent Film & PBS Plus was one of the industry executives meeting with NALIP members at the 2012 Latino Media Market

    PBS's Katherline Lo, Dir., Program Development, Independent Film & PBS Plus was one of the industry executives meeting with NALIP members at the 2012 Latino Media Market 

    APPLICATIONS ARE CURRENTLY BEING ACCEPTED FOR THE

    2013 LATINO MEDIA MARKET 

    CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE APPLICATION  THE DEADLINE IS MONDAY APRIL 15, 2013 MEETINGS WILL BE HELD JUNE 7-8, 2013 AT THE NALIP 2013 CONFERENCE AT THE SHERATON UNIVERSAL HOTEL, UNIVERSAL CITY, CA

    The NALIP 2013 Latino Media Market™ (LMM) will introduce NALIP members and their projects if accepted into this program to funders, studio executives, distributors, dealmakers, agents, mentors and employers. 

    The LMM is a NALIP Signature Program created for NALIP members attending the NALIP 2013 national conference with qualified projects in the following categories: - Low-Budget Features in Development or Pre-production - Documentary Works-in-Progress - Non-Scripted Series Ideas

     

     

  • First Summit on Asian Stereotypes Urges Empowerment to Make Change

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    Jeff Yang writer of "Tao Jones" column for the Wall Street Journal

    Little Tokyo - Los Angeles

    March 23, 2013

    More than 200 people attended a summit yesterday in Los Angeles, provocatively titled "Beyond the Bad and the Ugly." The meeting was appropriately named as it took aim at the continued use of offensive images, ethnic slurs and stereotypical caricatures of Asian Americans in American media, and its impact on just about every aspect of American culture, politics, education and society.

    AsianConnections.com applauds Jeff Yang, Wall Street Journal Online writer of the "Tao Jones" column for organizing this first summit devoted to the problem, and enlisting public dialogue and empowerment. Yang brought together activisits, bloggers and others to examine the issues and encouraged people to take action against the negative stereotypes and portrayals of Asian Americans in the media. 

    Stereotypical images of Asian Americans in the media have negatively impacted the lives of Asian Americans for more than a century.

    Yang told LA Times writer Anh Do the event is "the culmination of a dream, seeing people not only talking about these issues - but doing something about it," "The point is to empower everyone, telling them, "Change is happening, and it's happening inside - with us." 

    The March 23, 2013 summit officially kicks off Jeff Yang's new book he co-edited with Parry Shen, Keith Chow and Jerry Ma, Shattered: the Asian American Comics Anthology (Secret Identities). SHATTERED’s 2013 tour, will take Yang and his co-editors Parry Shen, Keith Chow and Jerry Ma to select cities and college campuses in the East, West and Midwest (contacts are listed below if you wish to book a SHATTERED tour event). 

    Click here for the story at the LA Times by writer Anh Do. 

    Featured sessions at the "Beyond the Bad and the Ugly" Los Angeles summit March 23, 2013:

    OPENING PLENARY — “IS THIS STEREOTYPE REALLY NECESSARY?”, a fresh, frank, informative (and likely snarky) exploration of Asian images past and present, moderated by...
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