Amazon Studios is jumping in on the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebration with the forthcoming Amazon Studios VOICES: API Representation in Film & Media event on May 20 starting at 9am PT. The event is free and will be in support of communities calling for protecting Asian lives and stopping anti-Asian hate.
Like the title of the event suggests, the one-day virtual event is set to bolster Asian and Pacific Islander representation in film and media with group panels, talks and musical performances celebrating the richness from the robust culture of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
Presented by Amazon, the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and Gold House, the conversations will put a glaring spotlight on Hollywood’s complicity in anti-Asian racism and how leaders can drive change. Yup, these conversations will keep things real.
“Amazon Studios DEI has been diving deep into our own data, examining our systems and structures, and reimagining our policies to be unapologetic about what inclusive, authentic, and nuanced storytelling looks like,” said Latasha Gillespie, Global Head of DEI for Amazon Studios and IMDb. “Improving representation and eliminating harmful stereotypes will not happen overnight, and will not happen in a vacuum. That is why we are inviting the whole industry to join us in this event and in this work.”
“We have been having these vital conversations as a company and are excited to bring these discussions, centering the API community, to our whole industry. Please join us as we work to change the narrative around API representation on screen,” said Albert Cheng, COO and Co-Head of Television, Amazon Studios.
“Identifying solutions that will create a better entertainment industry through engaging and thoughtful programming is a priority for the Producers Guild. We are excited to participate in this collaboration with Amazon as one of many steps the Guild is taking to achieve equity in our industry,” said Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher, Presidents of the Producers Guild of America. “The PGA is dedicated to achieving equality and more visibility for AAPI storytellers and stories across TV, film, and new media. We want to thank the PGA One Guild team, our AAPI Working Group and the incredible partners on this event for their dedication and leadership as we work towards these goals together.”
Amazon is also bolstering their AAPI content on the site with a curated selection of titles including Jimmy O Yang: Good Deal and the Oscar-winning Sound of Metal as well as Lulu Wang’s The Farewell, and Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmaster.
Interested in partaking in the festivities? You can register online here.
Read the full schedule of events below (all times are PT):
Thursday, May 20 Line-Up:
9:00-9:10 AM | Welcome & Kickoff
9:10-9:40 AM | The History of Anti-Asian Racism in Media, Up to Today
A keynote with Dr. Nancy Wang Yuen, sociologist and author of Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors & Racism, about the history and current state of anti-Asian racism and stereotypes in entertainment.
- Dr. Nancy Wang Yuen, Sociologist, Researcher, and Author of Reel Inequality
9:45-10:30 AM | Hollywood’s Complicity in Anti-Asian Racism & How Leaders Can Drive Change
A conversation about the systemic problems within the industry, and the role of executives in changing the nature of the industry. Presented in partnership with PGA One Guild’s AAPI Working Group. PGA’s One Guild initiative supports inclusive membership, employment, content, and depictions.
- Albert Cheng (Moderator)
- Daniel Dae Kim, Actor, Director and Producer
- Nina Yang Bongiovi, Producer
- Sanjay Sharma, Founder & CEO, Marginal Mediaworks; Board Chair of CAPE
10:35-11:15 AM | Changing the Narrative Lightning Talks – 10 minutes each
These lightning talks will dive deep in how writers, directors, and producers can change the narrative when it comes to comedy, representation of immigrants, and the representation of gender, particularly when it comes to API characters on screen.
- Hari Kondabolu, Comedian, Filmmaker and Creator of The Problem with Apu
- Jose Antonio Vargas, Journalist, Filmmaker, and Founder of Define American
- Celine Parreñas Shimizu, Film scholar and Filmmaker
11:20-12:00 PM| API Representation on Screen
A conversation from the perspectives of talent and casting on how to ensure authentic representation of the API community on screen.
- Sophia Ali, Actor, The Wilds
- Julia Kim, Casting Director, The Expatriates, Minari
- Stephanie Hsu, Actor, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
- Moderator: Elaine Low, Journalist, Variety
12:05-12:15 PM | THANK YOU & EVENT CLOSING
Albert Cheng, Amazon Studios Co-Head of Television and COO, and Latasha Gillespie, Head of Global DEI for Amazon Studios and IMDb, wrap up the event.
- Albert Cheng & Latasha Gillespie
12:15 – 12:30 PM | WIND DOWN ENTERTAINMENT
Special performances from musical guests.
- AJ Rafael & Alyssa Navarro
- Amber Liu
The PGA’s AAPI Working Group, part of its One Guild initiative, will keep the conversation going with a live virtual event and Q&A following Amazon Studios VOICES. “A Produced by Conversation with PGA Award and Oscar nominee Christina Oh” will be moderated by journalist Janet W. Lee.