Asia Society Southern California to honor creatives and executives at 2021 U.S.-Asia Entertainment Summit
(LOS ANGELES, CA; October 26, 2021 – Asia Society Southern California will be hosting the 12th annual U.S.-Asia Entertainment Summit on Monday, November 1, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. Squid Game’s Lee Byung-Hun, Marvel’s Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton and Netflix’s Bela Bajaria will be honored as Asia Society Southern California’s 2021 Entertainment Summit Game Changers
The dynamic entertainment summit celebrates Asians and Asian Americans who have made significant contributions to film and television, both creatively and philanthropically. Asia Society has long recognized the power of entertainment media in building bridges across cultures; Asia Society Southern California will pay tribute to a group of honorees whose impact on the medium transcends international borders.
Bela Bajaria was named Head of Global TV, Netflix in 2020, overseeing all scripted and unscripted series around the world. Bajaria leads the teams responsible for hit series including Bridgerton, The Queen’s Gambit, La Casa de Papel, and Lupin.
Prior to Netflix, Bajaria was President, Universal Television, where she made history as the first woman of color to oversee a studio, shepherding programming including Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and The Mindy Project. Earlier, she held two key posts simultaneously: Senior Vice President, Cable Programming for CBS TV Studios, and Senior Vice President of Movies and Miniseries for CBS Network.
Maui-born Destin Cretton, is fresh off the release of Marvel Studios’ newest film, Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, starring Simu Liu, Michelle Yeoh, Awkwafina, and Tony Leung. This is the first film in the MCU that is led by an Asian actor and mostly Asian cast. Destin's feature film debut, I Am Not a Hipster, premiered at Sundance in 2012. And was followed by Short Term 12, which won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the SXSW Film Festival in 2013, featuring early performances by Brie Larson, Lakeith Stanfield, Rami Malek, Kaitlyn Dever, and John Gallagher Jr. His third feature, an adaptation of the New York Times best-selling memoir, The Glass Castle, starred Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, and Naomi Watts and was released in 2016 by Lionsgate. Following this, Destin directed Just Mercy for Warner Bros, the adaptation of the NY-Times best-selling memoir by civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson. The film starred Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson.
Byung Hun Lee is largely credited for being one of the driving forces of the “Korean Boom” in the entertainment industry. Lee has found tremendous international success in television and film and has solidified his position as one of Asia's biggest stars.
Lee’s popularity is apparent with many records and honors to show; he is the only actor to sell out the Tokyo Dome with 45,000 screaming fans, as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Lee was the first Korean actor to present an Oscar at the 88th Academy Awards in Los Angeles and most recently, Lee became the first Korean actor awarded with the Asian Film Excellence Award in 2021 at the 15th Asian Film Awards.
Lee appeared as "the Front Man" in Netflix most viewed series, Squid Game. Lee recently finished filming Emergency Declaration which had its world premiere at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2021, The Match, and Concrete Utopia, set to release in 2022.
His latest project Our Blues from acclaimed writer Noh Hee Kyung is currently shooting in Korea and returns him to the small screen.
In conjunction with this celebration of excellence in film and television, Asia Society Southern California will honor the philanthropic endeavors of the establishment of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures with a tribute to its major Asian and Asian American donors. This new cultural landmark and the inspirational ethos behind it would not be possible without the generosity of philanthropists such as this year’s honorees: Mark Amin, Ashok and Chitra Amritraj, Julia Gouw, Peter Lam, George Takei, and the Robert Chinn Foundation.
Preceding the evening program, attendees will be able to tour the newly-opened Academy Museum, including its much-anticipated exhibition on Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki and showcase of kung fu icon Bruce Lee. Live panels and virtual conversations with Asian American industry leaders and journalists will round out the afternoon program.
“The impact of Asian and Asian American filmmakers, actors, executives, and philanthropists on the film and television industry cannot be overstated. Their vision shapes not only the stories we watch on screen, but how we remember our history, how we see ourselves. Asia Society Southern California is honored to recognize this group of 'Game Changers' for consistently driving forward Asian representation both on- and off-screen,” said Janet Yang, Producer and Chair of the U.S.-Asia Entertainment Summit.
The U.S.-Asia Entertainment Summit is the most prestigious gathering of dealmakers, thought leaders, and content creators in the United States and Asian entertainment industries. Founded in 2010 and now in its 12th year, this signature Asia Society Southern California event -- originally created as a forum for filmmakers from the U.S. and China to collaborate -- has expanded to a full-day conference analyzing the driving forces and current trends transforming entertainment across all of Asia and beyond film -- to television, digital streaming and content, music and gaming. Further expansion of the summit programming this year reflects the growing impact of entertainment from Korea, India, and Japan, among others, throughout Asia and in the United States.
“We are delighted to be bringing back our incredible summit this season. While much has changed over the last year and a half, it’s clear that diversity and the creativity of global content is here to stay. The recent success of “Squid Game” is a positive and exciting indicator of how Asian content can so successfully cross international boundaries. The summit committee is thrilled to continue championing industry leaders who are creating a massive impact in the entertainment space,” said Asia Society Southern California Co-Chair Katie Soo.
Media Contact: Felicia Wong, CLU Collective Communications, Fwong@clucollective.com.