Spotlight

2022-2021-2020-2019 - New Diversity Rules for Oscars

Posted by Suzanne Kai - on Monday, 07 February 2022

2022-2021-2020-2019 - New Diversity Rules for Oscars
February 7, 2022 Hollywood by Suzanne Joe Kai Progress continues with our society's push for more "diversity, equity and inclusion."  If you search online for the term Diversity, Equity and Inclusion you will find the term "DEI" is now a standard term.  Its on many people's drawing boards in corporate America, and most importantly in Hollywood on how mainstream media, movies, and TV shows are made. If filmmakers aspire to win awards at the Oscar level, the Academy now...

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The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Invites 397 Members for 2022

Posted by Suzanne Kai on Monday, 05 September 2022

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Invites 397 Members for 2022

By Suzanne Kai

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their 2022 invitations to distinguished artists and executives from across the globe.

As part of their Academy Aperture 2025 plan to diversify, the Academy reports among the 397 invitees “44 percent are women, 37 percent are from underrepresented ethnic/racial communities, and 50 percent are from 53 different countries and territories outside the United States.” Prospective members are selected based on professional qualifications, with the Academy continuing its commitment to expanding representation, inclusion and equity.

 The short films/feature animation, documentary, and actors branches were among the longest lists of invitees, gathering 27 percent of the invitations among all branches.  

Drive My Car’s Ryusuke Hamaguchi was nominated in four award categories during the 2022 Oscars. Ryusuke Hamaguchi accepted the award for "Drive My Car," from Japan, for best international feature film at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022.  Hamaguchi was invited to two branches, the Directors branch and Writers branch. Under Academy guidelines, he will be able to choose one branch. This year's class of invitees includes 71 Oscar nominees, including 15 winners.

A few names among the invitees include Paul Tazewell (West Side Story) to Costume Designers, Andrew Ahn (Fire Island) to Directors, and Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh (Writing With Fire) to Documentary. Shannon Baker Davis (The...

What’s Going On? Everything, All at Once By Ben Fong-Torres

Posted by Suzanne Kai on Sunday, 08 May 2022

What’s Going On? Everything, All at Once By Ben Fong-Torres

What’s Going On? Everything, All at Once

By Ben Fong-Torres

MAY 6, 2022

With “Like a Rolling Stone: The Life and Times of Ben Fong-Torres” the documentary about me, now out today and streaming merrily along on Netflix, I’m officially in the film industry. 

Actually, that’s been the case since last June, when the documentary, which stole its title from a popular column at Asian Connections created by director Suzanne Joe Kai's son Mike when he was 14, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in Manhattan.

In the months since, the film, which was produced, written and directed by Suzanne, screened at various other festivals, picked up awards, including a Critics Choice honor, a Nomination by the Writers Guild of America for Best Documentary Screenplay, a Best Music Film Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival, the Audience Award from the Asian American Film Festival in San Diego, and scored more than 112 press reviews and mentions (so far) - all quite positive reviews. 

 


And I find myself mingling with movie people. In March, I attended the premiere of “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” starring Michelle Yeoh, at the Castro Theater here in San Francisco.

Our only previous connection was at a Lunar New Year parade, in 2018, when she was the glamorous grand marshall and I was co-anchor of KTVU’s broadcast.

From a distance, we waved at each other. Or maybe she was just waving to her fans. 

This time, we met. At the packed...

American Born Chinese coming to Disney+

Posted by Suzanne Kai on Sunday, 14 August 2022

American Born Chinese coming to Disney+

"American Born Chinese", an exciting, groundbreaking series is slated to premiere in 2023. The Disney+ series was introduced to the Asian American Journalists Association's National Convention this summer. The convention was attended by more than 1,500 journalists from all over the world. 

The Disney+ series is based on Gene Luen Yang's award-winning graphic novel. The main character, Jin Wang, played by actor Ben Wang, navigates supernatural action-comedy adventures between his immigrant family life and teenage life at school. His journey is propelled into a realm of Chinese mythological gods and creatures when he meets a new foreign exchange student.

Cast announcements include Ben Wang (MacGyver), Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once/Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), and Poppy Liu (Better Call Saul). This Disney cast will be directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, who also helmed Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. 

The President of Disney Branded Television, Ayo Davis said, "We are delighted to continue our relationship with Melvin Mar and Jake Kasdan and thrilled that Destin Daniel Cretton is set to direct. The team are visionaries in bringing character-driven adventures to life, and we cannot wait for our audience to experience this fantastically memorable and imaginative adaptation of the graphic novel. This is a great universal story that moves between worlds and explores the impact of culture, identity, and acceptance...

Asia Society Southern California U.S. Asia Entertainment Summit 2022

Posted by Suzanne Kai on Sunday, 06 November 2022

Asia Society Southern California U.S. Asia Entertainment Summit 2022

Los Angeles

October 30, 2022

By Taylor Yukiko Sato and Suzanne Joe Kai

The 2022 U.S.-Asia Entertainment Summit was a historic event that brought leaders from Hollywood and the Asian entertainment industry to Los Angeles. 

Janet Yang, Chair of U.S.-Asia Entertainment Summit, was honored with the 2022 Career Achievement Award.

Janet made history as the first Asian American, and fourth woman to become the President of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Actress and emcee of the evening’s gala, Kara Wang said “I am particularly honored to be here as we honor Janet with the Career Achievement Award."

"We call her the Asian godmother of the industry because she has had a hand in so many of our careers. And I am just very very happy that I get to be here with this moment as we shower her with love… She has done so much for us.” 

CEO and Co-Founder of Gold House and AU Holdings, Bing Chen led a Fireside Chat with Janet Yang as she reflected on her career.

This was the 13th U.S.-Asia Entertainent Summit with panels spotlighting top talent in the Asian and Asian American entertainment industry. 

How Asia Markets Have Changed and What It means for Hollywood panel moderated by Patrick Frater, Asia Editor, Variety

Apoorva Bakshi, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Golden Karavan, Awedacious Originals Lindsay Conner, Partner, O'Melveny & Myers LLP Erika North, Head of Asia-Pacific Originals, Amazon Studios Bennett Pozil, Executive Vice President,...

Simu Liu is on Time 100 List of the World's Most Influential People - Another 1st in 2022 for Asians and Asian Americans

Posted by Suzanne Kai on Thursday, 13 October 2022

Simu Liu is on Time 100 List of the World's Most Influential People - Another 1st in 2022 for Asians and Asian Americans

October 13, 2022

Hollywood

By Suzanne Joe Kai

TIME MAGAZINE WORLD'S 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE OF 2022 includes actor Simu Liu. In fact he is ON the cover of Time Magazine - one of different cover images Time publishes for this annual list. Another first. 

Emmy nominated actor Sandra Oh writes in TIME magazine about her fellow Canadian actor from Ontario: "As a fellow Ontarioan, I was already excited about Simu Liu when he was having "Canada success" on Kim's Convenience."

"But since then, he's been on a path that no Chinese Canadian has walked before. He's part of the first generation of Asian Americans and Canadians to reach true stardom."

"It's been amazing to see how beautifully he's balancing representing our community and staying true to himself. I saw Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings three times."

"I was so pleased to see Simu exercise his comedy chops, his fighting skills, his gravitas. I love his ability to poke fun at himself. And, of course, the guy looks great in a suit."

"Simu has been working hard to get through closed doors, and now he wants to hold those doors open for others. You see him doing that through the way he speaks out against hateful violence, his openness about his own experiences of isolation and discrimination, his professional choices. He's our superhero."

As a look back at 2022 so far, this year is marking some major historic events for Asians and Asian Americans.

We need much more progress of course, but these achievements...

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