2021 U.S.- Asia Entertainment Summit Honorees
This year's U.S.-Asia Entertainment Summit will celebrate Asian and Asian American contributions to film and television, both creatively and philanthropically. Asia Society has long recognized the power of audiovisual storytelling in building bridges across cultures, and the Summit will recognize a group of honorees whose impact on the medium transcends national borders. We will honor both creatives and executives, beginning with trailblazing Netflix Head of Global TV Bela Bajaria, visionary director of Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings Destin Daniel Cretton, and renowned South Korean actor Lee Byung-Hun.
Head of Global TV, Netflix
Bela Bajaria was named Head of Global TV for Netflix in 2020, overseeing all scripted and unscripted series around the world. Bajaria leads the team for all of television, responsible for hit series including Bridgerton, The Queen’s Gambit, Lupin and Cobra Kai.
Previously, she oversaw local language originals, managing the teams behind shows like La Casa de Papel (Spain), The Witcher (Poland), and Kingdom (Korea).
Prior to joining Netflix in 2016, Bajaria was President of Universal Television, where she made history as the first woman of color to oversee a studio. 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.
Bajaria has been honored by THR’s Women in Entertainment list, Variety’s LA Women’s Impact Report, and named one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in 2020. She currently serves on the LA Board of Governors for the Paley Center, the Board of LA’s Saban Community Clinic and the Board of Trustees for Meridian International Center. Bajaria has been honored by the “I Have a Dream” Foundation of LA, The March of Dimes Foundation, and received the Industry Leadership Award from the LA Indian Film Festival.
Destin Daniel Cretton
Director, Screenwriter, and Producer
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 New York Times best-selling memoir by civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson. The film starred Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson.
Lee Byung-Hun is an actor who is recognized as one of the starters of the “Korean Boom” in television and film. In 2012, Lee was one of the first Korean actors to imprint his hand and foot prints on the forecourt of TLC Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. On February 28, 2016, Lee became the first Korean actor to present an Oscar at the 88th Academy Awards in Los Angeles. He is also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Lee started his acting career in 1991 with a starring role in the Korean television drama Asphalt, My Hometown. His breakout film performance came in 2000 with a starring role in Park Chan Wook's JSA, followed by A Bittersweet Life in 2005 (an official selection of the 58th Cannes Film Festival), The Good, the Bad, and the Weird and I Come with the Rain in 2008, and I Saw the Devil, which premiered in 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim. His first period piece, Masquerade, was released in 2012 and met with stellar reviews from both audiences and critics, becoming the highest grossing period piece in Korean history. His 2015 Korean film Inside Men went on to become the highest grossing R-rated film in Korea and earned Lee 14 awards that year.
Lee's first foray in Hollywood films came in 2010 with a starring role in G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra, followed by roles in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Red 2, and Terminator: Genisys, where he reprised the iconic role of the T-1000. Lee’s first independent U.S. film, Misconduct, opposite legendary actors Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino, was released in 2016. In The Magnificent Seven, from acclaimed director Antoine Fuqua, Lee stars alongside Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke.
In September 2021, Lee appeared as “The Front Man” in Netflix’s highest viewed show, Squid Game. At the 15th Asian Film Awards this year, Lee became the first Korean actor honored with the Excellence in Asian Cinema Award.
Lee recently finished filming The Match and the disaster thriller film Concrete Utopia, directed by Um Tae-Hwa. Both films are set to release in 2022. His latest project, Our Blues, from acclaimed writer Noh Hee Kyung, marks his return to the small screen and is currently shooting in Korea. Lee is also making his first foray as a producer in the Netflix film I Believe in a Thing Called Love, set to begin production in 2022.
In conjunction with this celebration of excellence in film, ASSC 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 our honorees Mark Amin, Ashok and Chitra Amritraj, Julia Gouw, Peter Lam, George Takei, and Karen Wong of the Robert Chinn Foundation.
Founder and CEO, Sobini Films
Mark Amin is currently the CEO of Sobini Films, a motion picture production and financing company.
Through Sobini Films, Amin has produced a diverse slate of feature films, including The Prince & Me, Peaceful Warrior, and his directorial debut, Emperor, which was nominated for two NAACP Image Awards, most notably Outstanding Independent Motion Picture. Upcoming projects include Nellie Bly, starring Chloë Grace Moretz in the leading role, and Zorro 2.0, a futuristic reboot of the lucrative Zorro franchise.
Amin served as Vice Chairman and member of the board of directors of Lionsgate Entertainment from 2000 to 2009. Prior to his work with Lionsgate and Sobini, Amin founded Trimark Holdings, Inc. and served as the company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Under Amin’s leadership, Trimark soon developed into one of the entertainment industry’s leading independent production and distribution companies.
Amin’s past credits include the critically acclaimed Eve’s Bayou and Frida, which was nominated for five Oscars and won two. In addition to film production, he is actively involved in the acquisition and development of pistachio and almond orchards in central California, with more than 16,000 acres under management. Amin holds a B.A. degree in Economics from the University of Kansas and an M.B.A. from UCLA.
Ashok and Chitra Amritraj
Hyde Park Entertainment Group
Ashok Amritraj is Chairman and CEO of the Hyde Park Entertainment Group (Hyde Park) and was formerly CEO of National Geographic Films.
An internationally renowned award-winning producer, Amritraj has made over 100 films during the span of his 35-year career with worldwide revenues in excess of $2 billion, starring the likes of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Bruce Willis, Sandra Bullock, Sylvester Stallone, Angelina Jolie, Cate Blanchett, Dustin Hoffman, Andrew Garfield, Steve Martin, Antonio Banderas, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Aniston, Nicolas Cage, and many more.
Amritraj’s extraordinary career from Wimbledon tennis player to billion-dollar Hollywood producer (chronicled in his autobiography Advantage Hollywood) is matched only by his commitment to philanthropic endeavors worldwide especially in the creation of diverse, inclusive, and socially relevant content.
Amritraj’s current projects include The Man Who Lived Underground in partnership with Kenya Barris’ Khalabo Ink Society and Paramount Pictures; Amnesty, written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Ramin Bahrani, with Netflix; Ashe, the biopic of African American Wimbledon champion Arthur Ashe written by Academy Award winner Kevin Willmott, with Warner Music Group; and the major animated musical Pashmina, written and directed by Gurinder Chadha, with Netflix.
In 2016, Amritraj was appointed a United Nations India Goodwill Ambassador, and in 2018, by decree of the President of the Republic of France, Amritraj was appointed a Chevalier (Knight) of the Ordre National du Merité. Amritraj serves on the Producers A2025 Committee to advance inclusion and equitable opportunities at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as on the advisory board for the Dodge Film School at Chapman University.
Julia S. Gouw
Philanthropist; Chairwoman, Piermont Bank
Julia S. Gouw is the Chairwoman of Piermont Bank, a commercial bank in New York. She was the former President and Chief Operating Officer of East West Bank.
Gouw was ranked one of the “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking” five times by American Banker magazine and has received the Los Angeles Business Journal’s “Women Making a Difference” award two times in recognition of her achievements and philanthropic contributions.
Gouw was a board member of the Trusteeship, an International Women’s Forum affiliate organization that connects preeminent women in leadership positions across various professional fields.
Gouw currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Pacific Life and VIZIO (NYSE: VZIO). She was appointed as a Commissioner of Ontario International Airport Authority in September 2016.
Gouw is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She was the founding chair of Executive Advisory Board of the UCLA Women’s Health to promote women’s health both in research and medical treatments. She also endowed the UCLA Chair of Mood Disorders Research especially in women in memory of Dr. Lori Altshuler.
Born and raised in Indonesia, Gouw came to the United States in 1978 where she earned her B.S. degree in accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Chairman, Hong Kong Trade Development Council
Dr. Peter K. N. Lam has been Chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council since June 2019. As a leading member of the business community, Dr. Lam is also Chairman of Lai Sun Group, which includes Lai Sun Garment, Lai Sun Development, eSun Holdings, Lai Fung Holdings and Media Asia Group Holdings. He has extensive experience in property development and investment, hospitality as well as the media and entertainment business.
Dr. Lam is a Standing Committee Member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a trustee of the Better Hong Kong Foundation and Vice Chairman of the Friends of Hong Kong Association Limited. He is also Chairman of the Hong Kong Chamber of Films Limited, Honorary Chairman of the Hong Kong Motion Picture Industry Association Limited, a director of the Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong, and of the Hong Kong-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce Limited.
Dr. Lam was Chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board from 2013 to 2019. In 2015, he was appointed Honorary Chairman of the Federation of HK Jiangsu Community Organisations, Chairman of the Hong Kong Cultural Development Research Institute Limited and President of the Hong Kong Association of Cultural Industries Limited.
Dr. Lam was conferred an Honorary Doctorate by the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in June 2011 and awarded a Gold Bauhinia Star by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government in July 2015.
Actor, Author, Civil Rights Activist, and Influencer
George Takei is a social justice activist, social media superstar, Grammy-nominated recording artist, New York Times bestselling author, and pioneering actor whose career has spanned six decades. He has appeared in more than 40 feature films and hundreds of television roles, most famously as Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek, and he has used his success as a platform to fight for social justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and marriage equality. His advocacy is personal: during World War II, Takei spent his childhood unjustly imprisoned in United States internment camps along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans.
He now serves as Chairman Emeritus and a member of the Japanese American National Museum’s Board of Trustees. Takei served on the board of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission under President Bill Clinton, and, in 2004, was conferred with the Gold Rays with Rosette of the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan for his contribution to U.S.-Japan relations.
Takei currently hosts the AARP-produced YouTube series Takei's Take, exploring the world of technology, trends, current events, and pop culture, and is the subject of the documentary To Be Takei. On his own YouTube channel, Takei and his husband Brad Takei bring viewers into their personal lives in the "heightened reality" web series It Takeis Two. He was a series regular in the second season of Ridley Scott's anthology drama The Terror: Infamy, which premiered on AMC in August 2019.
Founder/Chairwoman, Robert Chinn Foundation
Founder/President, Asian Hall of Fame