Academy Award Winner Billy Bob Thornton Joins U.S.-China Entertainment Summit
Los Angeles, CA, October 29, 2018 – Acclaimed actor and filmmaker Billy Bob Thornton has joined the line up of exceptional speakers at Asia Society Southern California”s U.S.-China Entertainment Summit on October 30th at the Skirball Cultural Center. He will partake in a highly anticipated conversation with this year’s honoree, acclaimed Chinese actor, writer, director and producer Xu Zheng.
Billy Bob Thornton has been delighting audiences around the globe with his acting, writing and directing. He won an Academy Award for writing the Adapted Screenplay for Sling Blade, for which he was also nominated for Best Actor. Thornton received his second Academy Award acting nomination for A Simple Plan. His film credits include the Coen Brothers’ The Man Who Wasn’t There, Bandits starring Cate Blanchett, Monster’s Ball starring Halle Berry and Jayne Mansfield’s Car, which Thornton also wrote and directed. His diverse acting credits also include Armageddon, Puss in Boots, Bad Santa and The Gift.
“Billy is the perfect choice to pair with the brilliant performer and filmmaker Xu Zheng for his introduction to a North American audience," said Janet Yang, Chair of the Entertainment Summit. "He matches Xu not only in professional stature, but in their seemingly infinite range of creativity and unassailable level of authenticity.”
Xu is one of China’s most popular and influential contemporary film figures. His creative range spans from comedy to black comedy to drama, and his movies have had commercial success as well as social impact. In 2012, Lost in Thailand, electrified China’s film industry by grossing more than $200 million and caused a surge in Chinese tourism to Thailand, earning Xu a meeting with that country’s Prime Minister. This year, he produced and stars in Dying to Survive, which depicts the true story of a man’s plight to get life-saving leukemia medication. Not only has Dying to Survive been a box-office hit, it struck a chord among the Chinese public and accelerated government efforts to bring down the cost of cancer drugs.
Asia Society Southern California will co-host a screening of Dying to Survive on October 29 as part of the Asian World Film Festival, and in partnership with the China Onscreen Biennial and the Los Angeles Chinese Film Festival. Xu joins other leading entertainment figures who will be honored at the Summit: Actress Michelle Yeoh, Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara and Elizabeth Daley, Dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Other spotlight speakers at the Entertainment Summit include headliners:
- Belle Avery and Catherine Ying will join an all-star discussion of The Meg, the most successful U.S.-China co-production ever. Avery produced the film and built the cross-border team with Gravity Pictures, now led by Catherine Ying, and Warner Bros. Other speakers include Executive Producers Jiang Wei, who was then at Gravity and is now CEO of Legendary East, and Ben Erwei Ji; Director Jon Turteltaub, and Warner Bros. Vice President Chantal Nong.
- Former Disney animation legend Glen Keane, will speak about finding and telling multicultural stories. Keane is directing an animated feature for Netflix, Over the Moon, which was inspired by China’s mythological moon goddess.
- Cathy Yan, the first Asian woman to direct a superhero film, Birds of Prey, starring Margot Robbie, will talk about the transition from making a Chinese indie black comedy to a major studio movie. Yan’s first feature, Dead Pigs, about contemporary China, has won awards at Sundance and other film festivals.
This signature Asia Society event will be held at the Skirball Cultural Center from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. PST. The Gala Dinner will follow at 7:00 p.m. PST.
About the U.S.-China Entertainment Summit
The U.S.-China Entertainment Summit is the most prestigious U.S. gathering of Hollywood and Chinese entertainment-industry leaders. Founded in 2010 as the U.S.-China Film Summit, it has led the conversation about co-production, cross-border investment and the integration of Chinese and American talent. The trans-Pacific relationship has deepened and with the digital-led convergence of media, the 2018 Summit will look beyond film and TV to areas such as gaming, as well as digital technologies that are transforming media.
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Maxine Leonard PR