SAG-AFTRA has released a PSA featuring performers, broadcast journalists and social media influencers calling on all Americans to stand against the stigma, xenophobia and harassment related to COVID-19 that Asian Americans continue to experience. The video was inspired by the sudden spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the pandemic.
The full video can be viewed below:
Sixteen SAG-AFTRA members appear in the PSA including Jon Jon Briones, Christina Chang, Juju Chang, Joel De La Fuente, Amy Hill, James Hong, Carrie Ann Inaba, Ken Jeong, Clyde Kusatsu, Jodi Long, Lucy Liu, Tzi Ma, Jeannie Mai, Vincent Rodriguez III, Iqbal Theba and Hudson Yang.
“As a global community, we are experiencing a historically difficult time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, instead of working together to get through this crisis, a few misguided people are looking for a scapegoat. We are still seeing a shocking increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans, including shunning, racial profiling, verbal harassment and even physical assault. This is a time of high stress, but that is no excuse for discriminatory behavior. We are all Americans and we are all in this together,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris.
“SAG-AFTRA is paying attention to those brave Asian American voices coming forward with their heart-wrenching experiences of harassment. We are listening to our members who have a stake in shaping a better world, free of discrimination and harassment, and we applaud Asian American activists, organizations and allies who are bringing attention to this issue. SAG-AFTRA stands with you,” said Ren Hanami, chair of the SAG-AFTRA National Asian Pacific American Media Committee,
“If you experience hateful, criminal behavior or witness it, please report it to your local law enforcement. Let’s stand up for each other,” added Carteris.
The video premiered today during the union’s Race & Storytelling: Asian American Voices livestream panel discussion, which explored the ways in which better representation in the media and three-dimensional portrayals of Asian American Pacific Islander characters can counter stereotypes and result in larger societal impact. You can view the panel discussion below:
The panel was moderated by Jeff Yang, CNN Opinion contributor and cohost of the They Call Us Bruce podcast. Panelists were: Clyde Kusatsu, actor, Dr. Ken; Christina Chang, actor, The Good Doctor; Juju Chang, broadcast journalist, ABC News’ Nightline; Parvesh Cheena, actor, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend; Leslie Woo, casting director, The Farewell; and Hudson Yang, actor, Fresh Off the Boat.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. The Lia Chang theater portfolio collection,1989-2011, is in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) collection located in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room and can be accessed here.
Jon M. Chu (“Now You See Me 2”) directed the contemporary romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians,” based on the acclaimed worldwide bestseller by Kevin Kwan.
The story follows New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding), to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick’s family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. Not only is he the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families, but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. Being on Nick’s arm puts a target on Rachel’s back, with jealous socialites and, worse, Nick’s own disapproving mother (Michelle Yeoh) taking aim. It soon becomes clear that the only thing crazier than love is family, in this funny and romantic story sure to ring true for audiences everywhere.
“Crazy Rich Asians” features an international cast of stars, led by Constance Wu (“Fresh Off the Boat”), Gemma Chan (“Humans”), Lisa Lu (“2012”), and Awkwafina (“Ocean’s 8,” “Neighbors 2”), with Ken Jeong (the “Hangover” films”) and Michelle Yeoh (“Star Trek: Discovery,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”). The large starring ensemble also includes Henry Golding, making his feature film debut, Sonoya Mizuno (“La La Land”), Chris Pang (“Marco Polo”), Jimmy O. Yang (“Silicon Valley”), comedian Ronny Chieng (“The Daily Show”), Remy Hii (“Marco Polo”), and Nico Santos (“Superstore”).
Color Force’s Nina Jacobson (“The Hunger Games” films) and Brad Simpson (“World War Z”), and Ivanhoe Pictures’ John Penotti (“Hell or High Water”) produced the film, with executive producers Tim Coddington, Kevin Kwan, Robert Friedland, and Sidney Kimmel. The screenplay is by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim, based on the novel Crazy Rich Asians, by Kwan. The creative filmmaking team included director of photography Vanja Černjul (“Marco Polo”), production designer Nelson Coates (“Fifty Shades Darker”), costume designer Mary Vogt (“Kong: Skull Island”) and editor Myron Kerstein (“Going in Style”). The music was composed by Brian Tyler (“Avengers: Age of Ultron”). “Crazy Rich Asians” was filmed entirely on location in Singapore and Malaysia. It is set for release on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with SK Global and Starlight Culture, a Color Force/Ivanhoe Pictures/Electric Somewhere Production, a Jon M. Chu Film, “Crazy Rich Asians.” The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Entertainment Company. It is rated PG-13.
Director Jennifer Phang at a screening of Advantageous at Cinema Village in New York on June 26, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
The 31st Film Independent Spirit Award nominations have been announced and Jennifer Phang’s critically lauded sci-fi film Advantageous, winner of a Sundance Film Festival Jury Award for Collaborative Vision, has been been nominated for the John Cassavetes Award, given to the best feature made for under $500,000.
The cast features Jacqueline Kim, Samantha Kim, Ken Jeong, James Urbaniak, Jennifer Ehle, Freya Adams, Jennifer Ikeda, Olivia Horton, Sameerah Luqmann-Harris, Rex Lee, Troi Zee, Theresa Navarro, Mercedes Griffeth, Jeanne Sakata and Matthew Kim.
Independent Spirit award nominated actress Jacqueline Kim co-wrote the script of Advantageous with Phang, and stars as Gwen, the company spokesperson for a radical technology allowing people to overcome their natural disadvantages and begin life anew in a dystopian society that favors appearances over experience. When Gwen finds herself out of a job due to the inevitable march of time and the future of her only child Jules (Samantha Kim) in crisis, Gwen ponders undergoing the procedure herself. Her compromised partnership with her former boss Fisher (James Urbaniak) threatens any means of her returning to work; while a past indiscretion with her sister’s husband (an almost unrecognizable, dramatic turn for comic actor Ken Jeong) foregrounds her estrangement from her own family. In this world, Advantageous riffs on the destructive contrast between soaring opulence vs. economic hardship, and the compromises that people like Gwen are willing to go through for that better situation.
Phang has developed a dual affinity for science fiction and wry commentary as her storytelling stock-in-trade. Her latest effort, Advantageous (an expansive revisit of her 2003 Festival Golden Reel Award-winning short subject) largely eschews the commentary for a incisively-observed story of a career woman, played by veteran actress Jacqueline Kim, who goes to great lengths to insure a future for her only child. Originally commissioned in 2012 as part of the groundbreaking Independent Television Service series, “Future States,” Advantageous sparingly lays on the sci-fi while amping up the interpersonal tension and drama. The result is more French New Wave (Chris Marker’s classic La Jetee comes to mind) than anything else, and demonstrates Phang’s increasing mastery of the sci-fi storytelling form — even more impressively than in her well-lauded Half-Life (2008).
LAAPFF alumni Jennifer Phang received the Best Director for her film Advantageous, and the film scored prizes in 3 other categories including Best Music Score (Timo Chen), Best Editing (Sean Gillane and Jennifer Phang), and the special inaugural Linda Mabalot Renaissance Award foractress/writer Jacqueline Kim for her work as the lead actress and co-writer of Advantageous. This award recognizes a multi talented artist who exemplifies the spirit and fierceness of the late executive director of the LAAPFF and Visual Communications, Linda Mabalot. Mabalot died in 2003 just after the festival ended.
Jennifer Phang’s sophomore feature Advantageous won the US Dramatic Competition Special Jury Prize in Collaborative Vision at Sundance 2015. Her award-winning debut feature Half-Life premiered in 2008 at the Tokyo International and Sundance film festivals. It screened at SXSW and was distributed by Sundance Channel. She was invited to Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab and was awarded a SFFS FilmHouse Residency and Sundance Institute Feature Film Grants in support of Advantageous. Phang was originally commissioned to create Advantageous as a short film for the ITVS Futurestates Program. Phang is one of three inaugural recipients of the San Francisco Film Society’s (SFFS) Women Filmmaker Fellowships. A Berkeley-born daughter of a Chinese-Malaysian father and Vietnamese mother, Phang graduated from the MFA directing program at the American Film Institute.
Advantageous is produced by Robert Chang, Theresa Navarro, Moon Molson, Ken Jeong and Jacqueline Kim. With cinematography by Richard Wong, editing by Sean Gillane and Gena Bleir, production design by Dara Wishingrad and Aiyana Trotter, VFX animation by Catherine Tate, Ricardo Marmolej and Jean Elston, original score composed by Timo Chen.
Film Independent Members (and members of IFP) vote to determine the winners of the annual Film Independent Spirit Awards. Become a Film Independent Member, by visiting filmindependent.org/membership. All Members must be paid and current as of December 4, 2015 to be eligible to vote. Click here to cast your vote.
The 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards will be broadcast exclusively on IFC on February 27, 2016, LIVE at 2:00 pm PT / 5:00 pm ET. Congrats to all of nominees.
Below is the full list of nominations.
Award given to the Producer; Executive Producers are not awarded. Anomalisa Beasts of No Nation Carol Spotlight Tangerine
Cary Joji Fukunaga, Beasts of No Nation
Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, Anomalisa
David Robert Mitchell, It Follows
Sean Baker, Tangerine
Todd Haynes, Carol
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Charlie Kaufman, Anomalisa
Donald Margulies, The End of the Tour
Phyllis Nagy, Carol
S. Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk
Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, Spotlight
Best First Screenplay
Emma Donoghue, Room
Jesse Andrews, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
John Magary, Russell Harbaugh, Myna Joseph, The Mend
Jonas Carpignano, Mediterranea
Marielle Heller, The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Best First Feature
Award given to the director and producer. James White Manos Sucias Mediterranea Songs My Brothers Taught Me The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Best Female Lead
Bel Powley, The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Brie Larson, Room
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Tangerine
Rooney Mara, Carol
Best Male Lead
Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation
Ben Mendelsohn, Mississippi Grind
Christopher Abbott, James White
Jason Segal, The End of the Tour
Koudous Seihon, Mediterranea
Best Supporting Female
Cynthia Nixon, James White
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Anomalisa
Marin Ireland, Glass Chin
Mya Taylor, Tangerine
Robin Bartlett, H.
Best Supporting Male
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Kevin Corrigan, Results
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
Richard Jenkins, Bone Tomahawk
Best Documentary (T)error Best of Enemies Heat of a Dog Meru The Look of Silence The Russian Woodpecker
Cary Joji Fukunaga, Beasts of No Nation
Ed Lachman, Carol
Joshua James Richards, Songs My Brothers Taught Me
Michael Gioulakis, It Follows
Reed Morano, Meadowland
Julo C. Perez IV, It Follows
Kristan Sprague, Manos Sucias
Nathan Nugent, Room
Ronald Bronstein and Benny Safdie, Heaven Knows What
Tom McArdle, Spotlight
Best International Film A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence Embrace of the Serpent Girlhood Mustang Son of Saul
John Cassavetes Award
Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Award given to the writer, director and producer; Executive Producers are not awarded. Advantageous Christmas, Again Heaven Knows What Krisha Out of My Hand
Robert Altman Award Spotlight
Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award
The 22nd annual Someone to Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl’s Since 1851, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.
Chloe Zhao, Songs My Brothers Taught Me
Felix Thompson, King Jack
Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, God Bless the Child
Piaget Producers Award
The 19th annual Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.
Rebecca Green & Laura D. Smith
Truer Than Fiction
The 21st annual Truer Than Fiction Award, sponsored by LensCrafters is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by LensCrafters.
Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti, A Woman Like Me
Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Incorruptible
Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi, Among the Believers
ABOUT THE FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS
Now in its 31st year, the Film Independent Spirit Awards is an annual celebration honoring artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers whose films embody independence and originality. The Spirit Awards recognizes the achievements of American independent filmmakers and promotes the finest independent films of the year to a wider audience.
The winners of the Spirit Awards are voted upon by Film Independent and IFP Members. Awards are given in the following categories: Best Feature, Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, Best Director, Best Screenplay, John Cassavetes Award (given to the best feature made for a budget under $500,000), Best Male Lead, Best Female Lead, Best Supporting Male, Best Supporting Female, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best International Film and Best Documentary. The Filmmaker Grants include the Piaget Producers Award, the Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award and the Truer Than Fiction Award. The Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by Premier Sponsors Piaget, Bank of America, Heineken, American Airlines, Jaguar and IFC. FIJI Water is the Official Water of the 2016 Spirit Awards. WireImage is the Official Photographer of Film Independent.
ABOUT FILM INDEPENDENT
Film Independent is a nonprofit arts organization that champions independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff and constituents is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a Member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional or a film lover.
In addition to producing the Spirit Awards, Film Independent produces the Los Angeles Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.
With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year-round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry.
ABOUT IFC IFC is the home of offbeat, unexpected comedies. Series like Portlandia, Documentary Now!, Maron and Comedy Bang! Bang! air alongside fan-favorite movies and comedic cult TV shows. IFC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc., and available across multiple platforms. IFC is Always On Slightly Off.
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
On Thursday, November 20th, The Parks celebrate a Korean/Japanese-American Thanksgiving, with some zany results on ABC’s Dr. Ken. Tune in at 8:30pm. The episode will air again on Thursday, November 26th (10:30-11:00 p.m., ET/PT).
“Thanksgiving Culture Clash” – Molly rebels and gets a Japanese tattoo, which spirals Ken and Allison into having a cultural face-off when Allison claims she is more Japanese than Ken is Korean. At a holiday dinner, they push their traditional dishes on their guests, while Dave documents the Thanksgiving events for a school project. Also, Julie, fearful of being alone due to a recent heartbreak, invites the office over to her place – but Damona and Clark try finding a way to leave early so they can make it to their other Thanksgiving plans.
Dr. Ken stars Ken Jeong as Dr. Ken, Suzy Nakamura as Allison, Tisha Campbell Martin as Damona, Jonathan Slavin as Clark, Kate Simses as Julie, Albert Tsai as Dave, Krista Marie Yu as Molly, and Dave Foley as Pat.
Guest cast: Dana Lee as D.K., Alexis Rhee as In-Sook, Jeanne Sakata as Pam, Clyde Kusatsu as Jerry.
“Thanksgiving Culture Clash” was written by Mike O’Connell and directed by Ken Whittingham. Executive producers are Mike Sikowitz, John Davis and John Fox. Ken Jeong and Mike O’Connell are co-executive producers. “Dr. Ken” is produced by Sony Pictures Television and ABC Studios.
Jeanne Sakata is a renowned actress whose acclaimed “cross-gender” portrayal of Master Hua in Chay Yew’s RED at East West Players earned her the LA Ovation Award for Best Lead Actress. She recently starred as Masha in the LAPC Theatre production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, and appearedin A Noise Within’s (ANW) production of Figaro.
She has performed across the country at The Public Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Rep, American Conservatory Theater, Northlight Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Berkeley Rep, A Contemporary Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Syracuse Stage and the Arizona Theatre Company, and developed new works with The Sundance Institute Theatre Lab and the Ojai Playwrights Festival. Screen credits include “NCIS Los Angeles,” “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns,” “Desperate Housewives,” “ER,” “Threat Matrix,” “Line of Fire,” “Presidio Med,” “American Family,” “Numb3rs,” John Ridley’s “I Got You,” the MOW’s “The Reading Room,” “Hiroshima,” “Consensual Relations,” and the feature films The Babymakers, XXX2: State of the Union and American Fusion.
Sakata will received the 2016 LEE MELVILLE AWARD for Outstanding Contribution to the Los Angeles Theater Community in 2016. She has received the Los Angeles’ Pacific American Friends of Theatre Outstanding Artist Award, the Monaco Charity Film Festival Best Actress Award (Adultolescence), Stage Scene Outstanding Performance mention (Master Class), Entertainment Today Best Supporting Actress Award (A Winter People), and the Drama-Logue Outstanding Performance Award (The Maids. www.jeannesakata.com
Her critically acclaimed play Hold These Truths (formerly Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi), had its world premiere in 2007 at Los Angeles’ East West Players, co-presented by the UCLA Department of Asian American Studies, the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, and the Japanese American National Museum. In its 2012 New York premiere at the Epic Theatre Ensemble, Hold These Truths opened to unanimous rave reviews from The New Yorker, The Washington Post/API, and many other theatre critics, resulting in a Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance, and a subsequent Hawaiian premiere, co-presented by Daniel Dae Kim and the Honolulu Theatre For Youth. Developed by the Lark Play Development Center and the New York Theatre Workshop, it has also been performed at Chicago’s Pritzker Pavilion with Silk Road Rising/Millennium Park, the University of California at Riverside and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where it served as the inspiration and theatrical centerpiece of the civil rights symposium Civil Liberties, National Security and the Legacies of the Japanese Removal and Incarceration. With the East West Players Theatre For Youth program in 2008 and 2010, the play has twice toured high schools and junior high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Hold These Truths is now part of the Jeanne Sakata Collection in the Library of Congress Playwrights Archive, Asian American Pacific Islander Collection, Washington DC. (www.holdthesetruths.info, www.facebook.com/holdthesetruths), www.holdthesetruths.info)