#AsAmCreatorRollCall – The 14th Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience at Sundance/Slamdance

Originally Posted by Visual Communications


The 14th Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience in Park City that took place during Sundance/Slamdance on January 21, 2018 was an amazing success. Thank you to all those who supported the event this past Sunday.

The day highlighted the 60 plus Asian and Asian Pacific filmmakers who made history once again in Park City with their vast array of remarkable films and creative projects at the 2018 Sundance and Slamdance Film Festivals.

 Kollaboration’s Christine Minji Chang moderates the afternoon panel, “#AsAmCreatorRollCall Fireside Chat” as part of the 14th Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience in Park City at Kickstarter Lodge (from left): Chang, Tiffanie Hsu, Gingger Shankar, Vivian Bang, Andrew Ahn, and John M. Chu. (Photo: Abraham Ferrer/Visual Communications Photographic Archive)

Additionally, a number of leading API community organizations in the arts and media partnered to showcase our artists, creators, and industry leaders who are bringing it.  In support of the recent hashtag, #AsAmCreatorRollCall, initiated by filmmaker/writer Greg Pak, the day’s conversations kept in sync with this year’s overarching theme.

Dedicated to the remarkable IRENE CHO, who guided the Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience Committee from 2013 through 2017 – this year’s installment was a true testament to her spirit, fierceness, and absolute dedication to insuring the success of our Asian Pacific cinematic creative community will never be forgotten.

 Visual Communications’ Abraham Ferrer and David Magdael of David Magdael & Associates — the longest-tenured organizing members of the Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience in Park City — recognize the work of the sadly-missed Irene Cho, a vital member of The Experience organizing team from 2013 through 2017. (Photo: Aubrey Magalang /Visual Communications Photographic Archive)

Special thanks to our incredible speakers: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Andrew Ahn, Gingger Shankar, Tiffanie Hsu, Vivian Bang, and Jon M. Chu, moderater Minji Chang, and welcoming remarks by David Magdael. Unfortunately, Jimmy O. Yang was not able to attend due to an unexpected conflict, but we know he was with us in spirit.

Thank you again for all your support and please mark your calendars for the 15th anniversary in 2019 – always the first Sunday at the Sundance/Slamdance Film Festival in Park City!

Warner Bros.
Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)
Comcast NBCUniversal

Visual Communications
David Magdael & Associates
Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience Committee
Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE)
Pacific Arts Movement
A3 – Asian American Artists Foundation
Asians in Hollywood
AAPI members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

Karim Ahmad • Andrew Ahn • Vivian Bang • Minji Chang • Irene Cho • Jon M. Chu • Ethan Nicholas Chyung (son of Irene Cho) • Soo Chyung (partner of Irene Cho) • Francis Cullado • Laarni Rosca Dacanay • Susan Jin Davis • Abraham Ferrer • Elisha Gustafson • Karen Horne • Ellen Huang • Alex Hudson • Vince Johnson • Manpreet Kaur • Lin Kung • Grace Lee • Sierra Lee • Kyra Lewis • Bing Liu • Aubrey Magalang • David Magdael • Merissa Magdael-Lauron • David Ninh • Sue Obeidi • Terra Potts • Angela Rawling • Sapana Sakya • Francisco Sanchez • Gingger Shankar • Michelle Sugihara • Mini Timmaraju • Kenji Tsukamoto •  Lansia Wann • Jo-Ann Wong • Alex Wu • Jimmy O. Yang • Nina Yang Bongiovi • Donald Young • Marvin Yueh

Asian Americans Break the Silence & Stereotypes Panel – SXSW 2017

For too long, Asian Americans have been underrepresented, stereotyped, or whitewashed in mainstream media & left very much invisible. In recent years, a growing grassroots movement & collaborative effort of Asian American creatives in new media, music, & film have changed the scene & brought this issue to the forefront after years of cultural evolution. This panel will gather some leading Asian American creatives to discuss the layered issues behind the challenges of being pegged as “unmarketable” by Hollywood & proof of how our stories enrich & entertain a universal audience & impact our world.

Recorded live at SXSW 2017 on Sunday March 16,2017

Minji Chang, Kollaboration
Phil Yu, Angry Asian man
Jenny Yang, Disoriented Comedy
Dante Basco, We Own the 8th

Produced & Edited by Zenith Division

The Many Manifestations of #OscarsSoWhite

Recently, the New York Times released a feature titled “The Faces of American Power, Nearly as White as the Oscar Nominees” and revealed a startling trend.  The feature compiled a list of “503 of the most powerful people in American culture, government, education and business, and found that just 44 are minorities,” which is approximately 8% of all the people surveyed.  The categories stemmed from CEOs of powerful American companies, to leaders in government, education, and entertainment.  Organized into a neat, visual list, the message was far from subtle.

Ever heard of the Glass Ceiling? In light of the new wave of social justice movements sweeping the country (particularly the Black Lives Matter movement), more and more Americans are becoming aware of just how difficult it is for minorities to grab a foothold in American society.  According to the 2014 US Census, almost 6% of the Americans are Asian/Pacific Islander and about 23% of Americans are either a racial minority or of mixed race.  Over the last decade, there has been some “progress” in representation: Satyha Nadella was appointed CEO of Microsoft in 2014, Kevin Tsujihara was named CEO of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in 2013, and in 2008 Barack Obama became the first Black President of the United States.  Shonda Rhimes, one of two minority heads (both of whom are black) in “People Who Decide Which Television Shows Americans See,” is responsible for hit shows such as Greys Anatomy and Scandal—both of which have cast minority actors such as Sandra Oh and Kerry Washington.  But think about it this way—there are over 318 million people in the United States today (from the 2014 census data).  That means there are 73 million Americans that are racial minorities and 19 million of those that are Asian/Pacific Islander.   How is it possible that with 73 million people who are considered racial minorities, only 44 of them hold positions of power?  And among those 44, only 10 of those are of Asian/Pacific Islander decent.  Don’t even get me started on minority women.

So what does this mean for Asian-Americans?  Despite accounting for 15-20 percent of the student population at Ivy League schools, there are currently no AAPI Presidents of Ivy League Universities (Jim Yong Kim left his position at Dartmouth in 2012), and AAPI’s lead only a fraction of the nation’s Fortune 500 companies.  Even with groundbreaking shows like Fresh Off the BoatDr. Ken, and Master of None along with other AAPI stars in actual leading roles, AAPI actors represent less than 4% of all film and television roles. In athletics, less than 5% of AAPI athletes play in the largest sports leagues such as the NFL, MLB, and NBA.  On top of this, AAPIs hold only 11 seats in Congress: 10 being in the House and 1 in the Senate.  What about the other 19 million of us that are living in the US today? The message the New York Times highlights in their feature is not only a stunning lack of representation, but is also a nod to the larger conversation of systemic racism in America.  Racism extends far beyond hate crimes or rude slurs.  Racism is also the model minority myth, the refusal to understand our culture, and the bias that exists because of the color of our skin and the shape of our eyes. Sadly, where there is systemic racism, there will be a glass ceiling regardless of conscious intention.  So what’s the solution?

It really doesn’t (and shouldn’t) take much effort to see that minorities are whole and varied people, just like everyone else. While many of us study to be doctors and lawyers, an equal amount of us strive to become artists, writers, and actors.  Some of us like science, and some of us like humanities. Some of us strive to become leaders, while some of us don’t aspire to be, but most importantly, many of us are starting to realize that the game is rigged, and figuring out how to play on our own outside of the established status quo, looking for places (or creating them from scratch) where we will be valued for what we bring to the table. In fact, studies have shown that companies with diverse leadership perform better in general. Perhaps for those in power, it is time to stop asking minorities to merely “work harder” and “play along” for that non-existent carrot, and instead take a hard look at the systemic barriers that may be keeping their minority peers from unlocking their full potential. In the end, we’ll all be better for it.

See the full New York Times interactive article here


Image via New York Times

Lily Rugo’s Top 5 Asian American Entertainers of 2015

Our next year-end list comes from Kollab Blog Associate Editor, Lily Rugo. Lily is a 2nd year journalism student at Emerson College and a member of the Kollaboration Boston Team. As one of our youngest editors, she offers unique perspectives to the blog team. In addition to Kollaboration, she’s also been published in USA Today and the multiple Emerson publications.

In 2015, I felt that Asian Americans finally started to enter mainstream media, change the game, and take names. Fresh Off the Boat started this wave earlier this year, and I’m happy to see it spread out to new media, streaming video, books, TV and movies. This year more and more Asian American figures became everyday names and played roles that went beyond old stereotypes. Here are my top 5 rising Asian American names who helped Asian Americans break through in 2015.

5) Eugene Yang & Ashley Perez, BuzzFeed

As BuzzFeed begins to create more original videos and content, Yang and Perez have become some of the most recognizable faces for trendy videos, social causes, and more BuzzFeed content. Perez and Yang are silly, honest, and relatable and made waves in new media during 2015.

4) Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me? and The Mindy Project

Releasing her second book and bringing The Mindy Project to streaming service Hulu, Kaling had a pretty great 2015. As a fan, I usually think Kaling goes unrecognized for the work she does in the entertainment industry, but in 2015 that changed. Releasing Why Not Me? played a big part in that and it’s nice to see Kaling’s rise and talent getting noticed.

3) Aziz Ansari, Master of None

Mention Master of None, and the first question is “Have you watched it?”. One of the most popular shows of the year, Master of None made news with its cast, story lines, and how it resonated with millennials. I heard so many stories about how after the second episode, “Parents,” my friends were emotional and called home. Ansari made headlines for creating a show that was much needed, and shouldn’t have taken so long to get.

2) Steven Yeun, The Walking Dead

I don’t even watch The Walking Dead, yet I knew that something huge had gone down when fans thought Yeun’s Glenn Rhee died. From AngryAsianMan to the New York Times, the show’s plot twist made headlines and spoke to how important Yeun’s character was to the show and its audience.

1) Constance Wu & Randall Park, Fresh Off the Boat

Fresh Off the Boat’s debut earlier year created a lot of buzz and kicked off 2015 as the year for breakout Asian American talent. Despite some controversy and tweaks in the first season, I think the show’s second season really established its presence on TV. The kids of Fresh Off the BoatHudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, and Ian Chen— all do great work on the show, but for me it’s Wu and Park who complete it. Now Park and Wu are up for Critics’ Choice Awards, working the late night circuit, and on the cover of magazines. Only on the up and up from here, I hope Fresh Off the Boat is around to stay.

2015 was a big year for Asian Americans, entering the mainstream online, on TV, in movies, and more. Hopefully this momentum won’t stop and only grows until names like these become part of the norm.


Five Dream “Kollaborations”

At Kollaboration, our objective has always been to come together as a community and battle negative stereotypes and the status quo via “empowerment through entertainment.”  Over the years in getting to know the numerous artists we’ve been honored to work with, we’ve seen a number of collaborations come about through the various mediums in the entertainment industry; from dancers choreographing a piece together, to stand-up comedians putting on a show, and musicians working together to make an awesome new song.  Of the collaborations that have taken place, there are always those that are merely dreams at the moment, in hopes of one day becoming real.

We recently reached out to a few entertainers in the community and asked them the following: If you could collaborate with anyone at all that you haven’t collaborated with yet, who would it be and why?


Christine Chen at the LA Pacific Asian Film Festival - Photo by Steven Lam
Christine Chen at the LA Pacific Asian Film Festival – Photo by Steven Lam
Christine Chen, Film Producer (Wong Fu Productions)
My dream collaborator(s) would be both Bubzbeauty (Lindy Tsang) and … OPRAH! Sorry I couldn’t just pick one. And since it’s DREAM collaborator, I had to aim high like OPRAH. If you can’t tell I’m super excited about them both. Both women represent everything true, genuine and pure in trying to fulfill one’s purpose in life. I’m a firm believer striving to fulfill what you were meant to do in this life should be your highest priority in life. Whether that purpose is to make videos on YouTube to connect with thousands if not millions of people, be the best parent to your 3 children, or having a TV show like “The Oprah Show” and help share all kinds of people’s stories so others can take away and learn more about themselves through the paths of others. And even though Bubzbeauty and Oprah have reached success on so many levels, they continue to push themselves to be better and seek even more ways to help others.


Jenny Yang, Comedian
Mindy Kaling!  She’s badass and a trailblazer and I want to raise my funny to her level of dopeness.

Jenny Yang - Photo by Jim Seida / NBC News
Jenny Yang – Photo by Jim Seida / NBC News

Dan AKA Dan at Kollaboration Star 2014 - Photo by John Zhang
Dan AKA Dan at Kollaboration Star 2014 – Photo by John Zhang
Dan AKA Dan, Rapper
Dream collaboration is with Malaysian artist Yuna! She’s amazing – super talented – I’ve been following her for a long time.  If not her…. a music video by the amazing Spike Jonze would be incredible.
Samantha Futerman, Actress
Jenny Yang!! It’s not everyday you come across such a funny, talented woman like that!

Samantha Futerman at Kollaboration Star 2014
Samantha Futerman at Kollaboration Star 2014 – Photo by Rahuk Alfar

The Kinjaz at Kollaboration Star 2015 – photo by Jimmy Page
Ben Chung, Dancer (Kinjaz)
I don’t know if this is a “dead or alive” question, so I’m just going to go with the biggest influencer in my life from childhood to present day…and that is the legendary Bruce Lee. This man’s philosophy of movement transcends way beyond just martial arts, but it is applicable to life holistically. He spoke on being like the nature of water. Water flows…it pushes…it receives…it is both forceful and yielding. This concept absolutely applies to the way I’ve learned to receive and move to music. When music hits my ears, however my body receives and moves to it in that moment, without thought…that is the most honest and free expression of movement. Bruce is the truth!


Fresh off the Boat Recap 2.04 – “Fall Ball”

It’s not unusual for an Asian household to be multi-generational. While it varies from household to household, living with extended family is a lot more common in Asian American families. Having three generations living under one roof can be pretty hectic; especially when members of different generations are either trying to help another out, or are butting heads. In this week’s episode of Fresh Off the Boat, we get a little taste of both.

Jessica is in desperate need of a loan in order to strengthen her career as a real estate agent by going into house flipping. Conveniently, Grandma Huang’s late boyfriend (who, for some reason, everyone knew about except for her) left money for her in his will. Seeing an opportunity to get the money she needs, Jessica – who’s always had stiff relationship with her mother-in-law – attempts to get on her good side. Not one to be fooled, Grandma lays down some harsh truths about Jessica’s attitude that causes her to stop and re-evaluate her motives and relationship with her.

Meanwhile, the Fall Ball at Eddie’s school is coming up, and Louis is more psyched for his eldest’s first school dance than Eddie himself. Having never been to a school dance himself, all he knows about them are from re-watching the John Hughes classic, Pretty in Pink, over and over again, back when he worked at a New Jersey pizza savers factory with Jeremy Lin (er, I mean, Chau). However, when he sees how ill prepared Eddie and his friends are for the dance (cue his horrified expression as they demonstrate their dance to Shaggy’s “Boombastic”), Louis takes matters into his own hands as he helps the boys get ready.

I think it’s safe to say that this was one of my favorite episodes so far this season, and while there are several reasons that come to mind, the main aspect I enjoyed was really the character development exhibited in the episode.

Grandma Huang has always been a fan favorite with her funny one-liners and just generally being awesome. In this episode however, we began to see and learn more about her, and that especially goes for the scene where she calls Jessica out on her scheme to get her money. It’s a genuinely interesting direction the episode took with her, though I have to say that her remark about white people being the cruelest race went a little too far, even for her.

I got to see this episode screened in advance at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum’s Hella Asians on TV event last week. During the panel discussion afterwards, comedian Jenny Yang pointed out that the scene between Jessica and Grandma Huang proved just how revolutionary Fresh Off the Boat is as a TV show starring an Asian American family. She discussed how incredible it was to see a conversation on an American sitcom conducted entirely in Mandarin – and that the one Mandarin line where subtitles didn’t show up for was when Grandma calls out Jessica on being cold-hearted. That is surely something you hardly ever see otherwise from other family sitcoms.

The other character that I felt got to develop more this episode was Eddie. After encountering Allison (the flute-playing girl from the end of the second episode), he developed a new crush on her. While he’s eager to pursue her, his insecurities show when he reveals to Louis how he doesn’t want to go through heartbreak again. It’s a sign that he’s growing up, and it’s a clever storyline to follow as we continue to watch Eddie transition into adolescence.

Overall, it was a fun episode of Fresh Off the Boat that continued its streak of NBA guest stars with a cameo from Jeremy Lin, as well as its ongoing effective 90’s throwbacks (remember frosted tips anyone?). Also, congratulations to the cast and crew of Fresh Off the Boat, for it has recently been announced that the show has been given a full season order!

Please note that Fresh Off the Boat will not be on next Tuesday, but be sure to tune in the week after that.



Featured image courtesy of ABC

Asian Americans Join the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has quickly become the newest social media trend of the summer, and now Asian American celebrities have joined in on the chilly fun.

Continue reading “Asian Americans Join the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”

The Bamboo Ceiling—Is It Finally Broken?

Asian Americans have made tremendous progress over these past few years, from Obama doubling the number of Asian American federal judges to Kevin Tsujihara becoming the CEO of Warner Bros.  So, one has to ask, “Is the bamboo ceiling finally broken?”

Continue reading “The Bamboo Ceiling—Is It Finally Broken?”