Five Reasons to Tune in for “Into the Badlands”

Have you been watching AMC’s new post-apocalyptic martial arts drama Into the Badlands? No? Well good thing we’re here to convince you! The Kollab Blog had the opportunity to go to a screening held in conjunction with CAPE to see the badassery firsthand along with a Q&A with the cast and creators followed afterward.

Here are our top 5 reasons why you should tune in to this epic series:

1) Daniel Wu. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Wu takes the screen as the leading man after a career in Hong Kong for 18 years. The 40 year old actor plays Sunny, a feared and ruthlessly loyal Clipper who begins to question his way of life, in the multicultural dystopian universe.

Daniel Wu as Sunny – Into the Badlands/AMC

Fun fact: Daniel Wu was originally brought in as Executive Producer for the project but it became overwhelming clear during the audition process that he was the best fit for Sunny based on both his acting and martial arts experience. His role in this show was both physically and mentally challenging: If he wasn’t shooting then he was problem solving or coordinating something behind the scenes.

2) Aramis Knight plays M.K., a young man with yet-to-be-explained potential.  This young talent, serves as an impetus in the story. Alongside Wu, they embark on an Odyssey across the land in which they learn, fight and grow. Who wouldn’t want Daniel Wu to be their mentor figure?

Aramis Knight as M.K. – Into the Badlands/AMC

Fun fact: He is only 16! This kid’s got a bright future ahead of him.

3) Sure the show itself is intriguing but the opening credits alone are a work of art that blends East and West masterfully through an animated mix between contemporary comic book drawings and classic scroll paintings. Seeing the diverse names of the cast against the graphics and musical score feels like a huge high five moment every time.


Fun fact: It’s an empowering and beautiful intro that perfectly sums up the vibes of the show, made by none other than Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda.

4) The Badlands are a world that audiences have never seen before. It’s a deliberate mash-up of everything that the executive producers/showrunners/writers, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (of Shanghai Noon and Smallville), think are cool: Asian Cinema, Pre-Edo Japan, Japanese Medieval Society, HK Cinema, Cowboy/Western, Dystopian Society… You can’t categorize it because it’s a unique world. Eventually you just don’t think about what it’s referencing, you just watch.

Fun Fact: “The story is very loosely based on Journey to the West’ which is how the Monkey King brought Buddhism from India to China. It’s about all these challenges he meets on the way and how they transform him from a rebellious, naughty Monkey King into a Buddha himself. So, that’s the real spritual backbone of the show — you see this character Sunny looking for something greater than he has known.”

5) It bringing Martial Arts drama to TV. Can you imagine a world without phones and email? In this series no modern electronics exist and martial arts is the great equalizer. Men and women alike fight hand to hand. But there’s more beyond the words and fighting. At the end of the day it’s about the compelling stories and complex people struggling with the common topics of power and freedom. The martial arts are just the visual eye candy and glue that helps to tell the story of spiritual and individual transformation.

Alexa Ioannides as Tilda – Into the Badlands/AMC

Fun Fact: The actors went through a 6 week fight camp where they went through training with a elite team from HK led by Master Dee Dee, martial arts coordinator (Crouching Tiger, Matrix) to get in tip top shape for the fight choreography and learn the basics of martial arts.


Cover image  courtesy of AMC

Recapping the Kollaboration EMPOWER Conference

I’m new to this sprawling city. In fact it has only been about two months since I officially moved here. Naturally, being the new girl, I’m always on the lookout for things to do and learn. Enter Kollaboration’s inaugural Leadership Conference.

Quite honestly, I did not know what Kollaboration was until I came to Los Angeles. I had heard about it in passing a few times, since it does exist across the country (14 cities to be exact), and I understood it to be an Asian American talent competition. It is an annual talent showcase but over the years Kollaboration has morphed from a platform for Korean American artists to share their talents to a pan-Asian Pacific Islander movement that unites and inspires aspiring artists to pursue creative careers. Kollaboration is all about challenging the status quo, creating change (not just talking about it) and dreaming big- and as cliché as that may sound, that’s exactly what my move here to LA and my life in general is about.


Needless to say, Kollaboration brought together a great group of speakers and perspectives from all corners of the entertainment and media industry. It was also nice to have like-minded individuals- people who challenge expectations, are curious about possibility and aren’t afraid to talk about fear, in the same room. It was a pretty empowering way to start my weekend, to say the least.

To do a summary of each session would be overkill, so instead, here are some quotables and highlights from the conference.


Jim Kwik, memory expert and founder of Kwik Learning, started the conference with some handy tricks on memory, particularly remembering names. He left us with a few mnemonics but the key message was that “Reasons reap results.” Basically,  all behaviors are belief driven whether it’s with memory or with following through with your thoughts. If you can believe that you will, you can. Also, “Practice means progress.”


Bing Chen, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Victorious, a new media company, philosophized about the effects of technology before moderating a panel. Something he said really struck me: “It’s incredibly hard being yourself in 2015.”


Chris Pan, founder of, asked us a very profound question: What is your (life) intention? We all had to think of a word we wanted to focus our energy on or have more of in our life during a moment of silence. We then got this word stamped on a bracelet (or necklace) as a reminder. My word was Trust.


Tamlyn Tomita, actress known for her roles in Joy Luck Club, The Karate Kid Part II, and Teen wolf enlightened us with seasoned advice: “Acknowledge your fear and be fearless. Leave people thinking oh my gosh. What was her name? All I can leave people with is the energy you give them.”

Christine Chen, Producer at Wong Fu Productions, when asked what she wish she knew when she was 21 said:  “You get what you put in. This life is ready to bless you but no one is going to hand it to you. Check your ego at the door.”

Paul PK Kim, founder of Kollaboration (which is now in it’s 16th year) among many other accomplishments, spoke on the importance of focus. “If you chase two rabbits you won’t catch either.”

Eric Kim, Vice President of Current Programs at CBS Television Studios, where he oversees all phases of production for the network’s television programming said that in this day and age “you have no excuse not to do what you want to. The technology is readily available. If you’re a director, go direct something.”


Sunil Malhotra, writer, producer and actor spoke on the importance of “Be[ing] a human being.” No matter what it is your doing or who you’re talking to, it’s key to maintain perspective and treat each other like, a person.


Alex Hwang, Lead singer of indie folk-rock band, Run River North, spoke about the difficulties of being a musician. But the things he knows for sure: “Believe in the product. Relationships mean a lot.”

Travis Graham, lead singer of New Heights mentioned Trust as an important factor of creating. “I think the main concern with working with someone in LA, is if you vibe. There has to be trust for the best work.”

Peter Hong, label executive, musician and producer never saw the kind of music he wanted to hear, so he did it himself. “I’ve always been the guy to create my own work.”

There was so much more (I had difficulty choosing between sessions) but you get the idea. It was a conference that reconfirmed and reminded me of the things that I already knew- the things that maybe we’re afraid to talk about out loud, but should talk about more.


One thing became very clear as I sat in the audience listening to these stories. These panelists are just like us. They have hopes, dreams and fear. But the difference and why they were on the stage giving us advice was that they not only started somewhere, believed in something, and worked for/towards it. They tried and failed but kept going and lived, so to speak, to tell the story of what they created.

The fact is, you can do it too. You just have to find out what your voice is. Like Beau Sia, Tony Award winning poet and performer put it, “Thank G-d all of you are out there doing you and sharing your story. It’s all about getting together but honoring each person’s unique way.”

I don’t know about you but hearing things like this make me want to keep doing, keep dreaming.

Give yourself a pat on the back if you were there that Saturday like I was, and if you weren’t it’s ok, everyday is a day to begin again and…. Kollaboration has many more events to come.

This article was guest written by Andrea M, a New Yorker navigating her new home of Los Angeles one day at a time. You can find her personal blog at