2022 U.S.-Asia Entertainment Summit Speakers
Honoree's Fireside Chat
Director, Fire Island
Andrew Ahn is a queer Korean American filmmaker born and raised in Los Angeles. Ahn's latest feature Fire Island (Searchlight Pictures) starring Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang, and Margaret Cho is currently streaming on Hulu. Ahn's sophomore feature Driveways, written by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen and produced by James Schamus, premiered at the 2019 Berlinale and was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards for Best First Screenplay and Best Lead Actress for Hong Chau. Ahn's first film Spa Night premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival in US Dramatic Competition and won a Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance. The film went on to win the 2017 John Cassavetes Film Independent Spirit Award. Ahn has directed fiction and documentary television for Netflix, FX, HBO Max, CBS, Sundance Channel, and KCET. He has promoted diversity in the arts by mentoring youth filmmakers through programs like Pacific Arts Movement’s Reel Voices, Outfest’s OutSet, and the Sundance Institute's Native Filmmaker Lab. He graduated from Brown University and received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).
Career Achievement Award Fireside Chat
CEO & Co-Founder, AU Holdings & Gold House
Bing Chen is an impact founder and investor. He is the Executive Chairman and Founder of AU Holdings, a new world builder: a family of companies that incubate and invest in multicultural creators and communities to rebalance socioeconomic equity. As well, he is Executive Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Co-founder of Gold House, the premier collective of multicultural leaders dedicated to systemically unlocking socioeconomic equity for multicultural communities through unity, investments, and promotion. He is also General Partner and Co-founder of Aum Group, a multicultural film fund; and serves as a Board Director and Advisor to several leading digital media companies including Google's Global Marketing Board, Omnicom’s Sparks & Honey, Titan, Baobab Studios, Oura Health, Musely, and more. Previously, he was YouTube's Global Head of Creator Development and Management, where he was one of the original and principal architects of the multi-billion dollar influencer ecosystem that supports 300 million creators worldwide. He is a Hollywood Reporter Next Gen Leader; a Hollywood Reporter Most Influential Agent of Change; American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement and Jack Averett honoree; Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree; ABC News History Maker; ADCOLOR Catalyst Honoree; Asia Society Asia 21 Young Leader; Magic Johnson's 32 Under 32 Leader; and Asian Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year. Bing is a third culture kid across North America and Asia, finally graduating from the University of Pennsylvania. He was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, which becomes obvious at $11.99 buffets.
Peter Ho-Sun Chan
A leading figure in the Chinese language film industry, Peter Ho-Sun Chan has been able to merge art and entertainment with commercial and critical success, winning over 233 film awards out of more than 400 nominations.
He is the first Hong Kong director to receive the Best Director award from China’s Golden Rooster Awards, and also the only filmmaker who has garnered both Best Director and Best Picture awards from Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards and the Hong Kong Film Awards (HKFA). Chan has directed many critically acclaimed films including Comrades, Almost a Love Story (1996), Perhaps Love (2005), The Warlords (2007), Wu Xia (2011), American Dreams in China (2013), Dearest (2014). His latest directorial films include Leap (2020) on the passionate story of the China Women’s National Volleyball Team and Li Na (working title), a biographical drama feature on the first Asian tennis player to win a Grand Slam title. Time magazine named Comrades, Almost a Love Story, and Wu Xia as one of the top ten films of 1997 and 2012 respectively.
His notable works as a producer include The Eye (2002), Protege (2007), Bodyguards and Assassins (2009), Soulmate (2016), and Iwai Shunji’s first Chinese language title Last Letter (2018).
Asian Women Empowered: Wavemakers in Animation
Screenwriter, Raya and the Last Dragon
Adele Lim is a screenwriter whose credits include Crazy Rich Asians (Warner Bros) and Oscar-nominated Raya and the Last Dragon (Disney Animation Studios). A Malaysian native of Chinese descent, she came to the States at 19 and graduated from Emerson College, Boston. She has written and produced primetime TV dramas, including One Tree Hill (The CW), Private Practice (ABC) and Lethal Weapon (FOX), and was the co-showrunner and Executive Producer
of Starcrossed (The CW). She mentors emerging writers through the WGA (Writers Guild of America) and CAPE (Coalition of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in Entertainment) to promote equity and representation in entertainment. In the fall of 2021 she made her directorial debut with an untitled feature film for Lionsgate Films and Point Grey productions.
Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Jennifer Yuh Nelson has spent her career directing in television and feature animation. She is the first woman to solo direct a major animated feature with Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda 2 for which she received an Oscar nomination. She has also directed Kung Fu Panda 3, the live-action feature The Darkest Minds, and is currently the supervising director for the multi-Emmy-winning series Love Death & Robots Volumes 2 and 3 for Netflix.
Director/Vice President, Creative at Pixar Animation Studios
Domee Shi began as a story intern at Pixar Animation Studios in June 2011, and was soon hired as a story artist on the Academy Award®-winning feature film Inside Out. Since then, she has worked on the feature films The Good Dinosaur, Incredibles 2 and the Academy Award®-winning Toy Story 4. In 2015 she began pitching ideas for short films, and soon was green lit to write and direct Bao which won the Academy Award® for Best Animated Short Film. In her role as a Creative VP, Shi is involved in key creative decision-making at the studio and consults on films in both development and production. Shi most recently made her feature film directorial debut on Turning Red, which released on Disney+ March 11, 2022.
Shi graduated from the animation program at Sheridan College where she was fueled by her love of anime/manga, Disney, and Asian cinema influences that can be seen in her work to this day.
Shi was born in Chongqing, China and resided in Toronto, Canada most of her life. She currently lives in Oakland, California and notes that her love of animation is only rivaled by her love of cats.
Director, Film, Animation at Netflix
Janet Wu is a creative executive in feature film development and production for both animation and live-action, including work for Scott Free Productions, Mirada Studios, and Walt Disney Animation Studios. Most recently, she is a Director in Film, Content at Netflix. She is a member of the AMPAS (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences), WIA (Women in Animation), and CAPE (Coalition of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in Entertainment).
President of Animation, Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation
Ramsey Naito is President of Animation for Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation.
Naito oversees all of the animation group’s operations from development through release. Naito previously served as Executive Vice President of Paramount Animation in 2018 before assuming her role as Executive Vice President of Animation Production and Development at Nickelodeon Animation.
At Nickelodeon, Naito oversees animation content across all formats and platforms – spanning linear, digital, TV movies, theatrical motion pictures and SVOD. Since joining the network in 2018, Naito has since overseen a renaissance at the studio of animation content and production in scale and creativity.
She has been a driving force at Nickelodeon bringing new projects, top talent and key partnerships to Nickelodeon Animation, to further bolster its content pipeline across preschool, kids, theatrical and its studio business. Notable projects include Star Trek: Prodigy from Nickelodeon and CBS Studios’ Eye on Animation, book adaptation Big Nate, Tiny Chef in partnership with Imagine Kids+Family, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theatrical motion, and PAW Patrol: The Movie.
To continue growing Nickelodeon’s animation business beyond linear, in 2019, Naito oversaw the network’s multi-year output deal with Netflix to produce original animated feature films and television series, based both on the Nickelodeon library of characters as well as all-new IP for kids and families globally. Simultaneously, Naito manages the day-to-day operations of Nickelodeon’s current series and development slate, overseeing the network’s key franchises including SpongeBob SquarePants, The Casagrandes, The Loud House, and Baby Shark.
Naito produced DreamWorks Animation’s Oscar-nominated feature, The Boss Baby, while also earning her a PGA nomination for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures. Prior to DreamWorks Animation, Ramsey worked as a producer for Blue Sky Studios, at Cartoon Network as Head of Movies and at Nickelodeon Movies as Vice President of Development & Production.
Naito is a member of Women in Animation, the Producers Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art and her Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts.
Evolution of Entertainment
Head of Subscriptions at Roku
As an integral leader on the Content Leadership team at Roku, Randy Ahn currently leads overall subscriptions for the Roku platform which includes being responsible for the success of the world’s largest SVODs such as Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, Peacock, and Paramount+ on the Roku platform.
Initially joining Roku as Head of Programming Product Strategy in 2017, he led the launch of the The Roku Channel’s live News & Sports category launches, linear FAST channels, as well as off-platform and international products. He went on to launch and lead Roku’s SVOD aggregated SVOD “Channels” business called Premium Subscriptions.
Before joining Roku, Randy served as SVP of Product Strategy at Fullscreen Media (Acquired by AT&T), where he ran the product and program management teams across the company’s SVOD, Digital Creator, and Branded Content business units.
Randy has also held digital product and strategy leadership roles at Microsoft’s XBOX, Vibe Media, and CBS. His responsibilities included launching and leading video entertainment experiences globally across digital platforms and content verticals.
Randy is a Los Angeles native and has earned both a Sports and Interactive Emmy for his work.
Chief Innovation Officer, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment
Jason Kwong is the new Chief Innovation Officer for Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment (CSSE). Prior to CSSE, he served as Chief Strategy and Digital Officer for Redbox, leading the company's digital transformation and taking the company public in 2021. During his time at Redbox, Kwong launched new services across Ad-supported Video on Demand (AVOD), Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD), and free linear television (FAST), as well as digital media and digital out-of-home (DOOH) businesses. Kwong has more than 17 years of experience developing and managing new business ventures within the digital entertainment, digital gaming, and media industries. Before Redbox, Kwong held roles at Fullscreen Media, Netflix, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, Helio, and Virgin Mobile. Kwong holds an MBA from The University of Southern California and a BA in Economics from UCLA.
Co-Founder and CEO at Saga
Rebecca Liao is Co-Founder and CEO at Saga, a Web3 protocol for launching the next 1000 chains in the multiverse. The Saga platform allows developers to take a single tenant VM and automatically launch it on a dedicated blockchain, complete with fully provisioned validators and an optimally incentivized security structure.
She is also a Co-Founder, Advisor and former COO at Skuchain, a currency agnostic blockchain for global trade and a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneer for 2019. In 2020, the World Trade Organization named Skuchain one of the top three blockchain companies in trade and supply chain finance. Under her leadership, Skuchain’s platform grew to $5 billion+ in annual volume.
She is currently Advisor to Sommelier Protocol, where she is designing their DAO to optimize for governance, platform growth & regulatory compliance. She is also a Fellow at the Stanford Program in Law, Science and Technology, where she produces and hosts the #global-public-policy podcast.
Video & Entertainment Partner Marketing, Global Media Partnerships at Meta
Tina Trankiem is Video and Entertainment Partner Marketing, Global Media Partnerships at Meta. She is an award-winning integrated marketing and partnership activation leader recognized for creating integrated marketing campaigns that are robust, impactful, creative, and measurable. She is a strategic and innovative marketing leader with an entrepreneurial spirit and meaningful experience working within entertainment, digital and multi-media industries to transform programming and marketing initiatives into consumer-centric messages that are groundbreaking and captivating. Trankiem is known for building collaborative relationships with stakeholders at all organizational levels while tactically utilizing research, creative testing, and social media to seize market share.
Correspondent, Variety Intelligence Platform
Heidi Chung is a media analyst and correspondent for Variety Intelligence Platform. She is based in Los Angeles and joined Variety’s premium subscription service in July 2020. Previously, Chung was an on-air reporter for Yahoo Finance, covering the stock market and economy on the site’s daily livestreaming programming, and an associate producer at CNBC. In her role at VIP+, Chung focuses on the financials of the largest media and tech companies. She writes short-form commentary pieces and appears on camera for VIP+, often breaking down the ways in which broader market conditions and economic events impact the media and tech sectors.
Spotlight on Showrunners
Jessica Gao is a Beijing-born, Los Angeles-raised writer/producer. She is the creator and head writer of Marvel’s first ever legal comedy series SHE-HULK: ATTORNEY AT LAW, which follows Jennifer Walters, a lawyer specializing in cases involving superhumans, and a cousin to the famous Bruce Banner Hulk. SHE-HULK debuted on Disney+ on August 18th.
Gao previously was a writer for the animated sci-fi comedy series RICK & MORTY and won the 2018 Emmy Award for “Outstanding Animated Program” for her writing on the “Pickle Rick” episode, which has been described as “a breakthrough for the series,” and has been featured prominently in various articles. Additionally, Gao co-wrote the feature OH HELL NO for Jack Black at Sony, and is currently writing an art heist feature with Jimmy O. Yang and Ken Cheng for Warner Bros. Additionally with Jimmy O. Yang and Ken Cheng, she co-founded the production company Crab Club.
Previously, Gao was a Supervising Producer on Comedy Central’s CORPORATE, and she has also served as a staff writer on ROBOT CHICKEN and HBO’s SILICON VALLEY
Georgia Lee is an award-winning writer and filmmaker. She is the creator and showrunner of Netflix’s hit series “Partner Track”. Georgia is also adapting Ken Liu’s short story “The Regular” for Justin Lin’s Perfect Storm. Previously Georgia wrote on Amazon’s “The Expanse” as well as the CW’s “The 100”.
With fellow creator/showrunners Joe Henderson (“Lucifer”) and Matt Owens (“One Piece”), Georgia founded Magic Quill Productions, a writer-forward production company which has a first look with Netflix.
Prior to writing and directing, Georgia worked for management consultancy McKinsey & Company. Georgia’s first short film caught the attention of Martin Scorsese, and she became his on-set apprentice on “Gangs of New York”. Georgia then wrote and directed her first feature “Red Doors” which won numerous awards on the festival circuit including the Tribeca Film Festival.
Georgia holds a BA in Biochemistry from Harvard University as well as an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Writer, Director, Producer
Alan Yang is one of the foremost Asian-American creators in the entertainment industry. He is the co-creator, executive producer, and director of the Netflix series Master of None. For the episode entitled “Parents,” based in part on his personal experiences, he received the Emmy Award for Best Writing in a Comedy Series, becoming the first Asian-American recipient of the award. Master of None has been nominated for twelve Emmys and three Golden Globes, and was the recipient of a Peabody Award, two AFI Awards, and the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Comedy. Yang is also the writer, director, and producer of the Netflix film Tigertail, a drama based on his father’s upbringing in Taiwan. He serves as an executive producer alongside Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon and Lee Eisenberg for the BAFTA-and Independent Spirit Award-nominated half-hour anthology series Little America for Apple, now entering its second season. His Amazon Prime show, Forever, starring Maya Rudolph, Fred Armisen, and Catherine Keener, premiered in Fall 2018 and received a nomination for a WGA Award. Yang is the co-creator, executive producer, and director of a forthcoming untitled Maya Rudolph comedy series for Apple. He directed the music video for Jay-Z’s “Moonlight,” starring Tessa Thompson, Lakeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Jerrod Carmichael, and Issa Rae. Previously, Yang was a writer, co-executive producer, and director for Parks and Recreation, for which he was nominated for an Emmy in 2015. He can also be seen on-screen in episodes of Parks and Recreation playing bass in Mouse Rat, the rock band fronted by Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt).
Piya Sinha-Roy is a senior creative writer and former entertainment journalist at Reuters, Entertainment Weekly and The Hollywood Reporter. She has a decade of experience covering film, television and the changing landscape of Hollywood, with an emphasis on underrepresented talent and subjects.
How Asia Markets Changed and What it Means for Hollywood
Managing Partner and Co-Founder Golden Karavan, Awedacious Originals
Apoorva Bakshi is an International Emmy Award-winning producer, most notably known for her critically acclaimed crime drama Dehli Crime. She serves as a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Golden Karavan, Awedacious Originals, and Project FUEL carving her niche as one of the youngest producers of prolific South Asian productions.
An accomplished story engineer, Apoorva has collaborated with auteurs & filmmakers and developed a robust slate of genre-defying projects which include book adaptations, period drama series, blue chip documentaries, animation features, scripted and unscripted films, and TV shows. A fierce guardian of independent voices, Apoorva believes in telling urgent and mission-driven stories that have the ability to move, inform, stop you in your tracks, make you think or feel more deeply, and share the same with the widest audiences possible, even if that means pushing boundaries and taking risks. Prior to producing, Apoorva successfully acquired and distributed over 50+ award-winning independents, notably the Cannes favorites, Gangs of Wasseypur; Golden Globe shortlists Fandry and Siddharth; IDFA winner Placebo and Indian Selection for the Oscars Visaranai among others. She has also worked at Sony Pictures Entertainment Networks Asia on large-scale format productions The Amazing Race Asia, Cyril Simply Magic, and India's Minute to Win It.
Having experienced the creative and business sides of the entertainment industry, Apoorva successfully navigates both and continues to find new ways to innovate and merge the two. A professional sharpshooter and formally trained Bharatnatyam dancer, Apoorva shuttles between San Francisco & Mumbai and loves to backpack the world while she is not up in the air.
Partner, O'Melveny & Myers, LLP
Lindsay Conner is a leading corporate entertainment lawyer, with a focus on film, television and digital content. He has served as chief outside entertainment counsel for major film studios and television networks, global telecommunications companies, film and television production and distribution companies, rights owners and content owners, and digital media companies, as well as for banks, financial institutions, private equity funds and high-net-worth investors. Lindsay’s clientele span the globe, from North America to Asia, Europe and Latin America. Lindsay has been quoted in media ranging from The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times to the China Global Television Network. He has been honored by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the “Top 20 Dealmakers of the Year” and one of the “Top 100 Power Lawyers in Hollywood,” and by Variety as one of “50 Game-Changing Attorneys in Hollywood” and one of the “Variety 500,” Variety’s list of the top 500 most important people in the global entertainment and media industries.
Lindsay has restructured the production and distribution of a multibillion-dollar television franchise, closed half-billion-dollar feature film finance and distribution deals, negotiated studio film slate and independent film financing deals, and structured international television finance, production and distribution deals. He regularly closes deals for equity investments in, as well as for the acquisition of, entertainment companies and film and television assets.
Executive Vice President, Head of Corporate Banking, East West Bank
Bennett Pozil is a leading expert on U.S.-China cross-border entertainment financing and is the head of East West Bank’s Corporate Banking. Since 2011, his team has made over $4 billion in loans to finance the production and distribution of content in the U.S. and China, establishing the bank’s unique, significant presence in both markets. East West Bank has created relationships with Chinese studios, including Bona Film Group, Perfect World, Hunan Broadcasting and Alibaba Pictures. Pozil’s team also works with notable U.S. digital-media clients, including Scopely, Wondery, and Skybound. Over his career, Pozil has structured the financing of hundreds of films, including Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Hero, Fearless and Lost in Translation. He is listed on the Variety500, is a frequent speaker on cross-border film partnerships at international film festivals and has been an adjunct professor at the Beijing Film Academy.
Head of Originals, Asia Pacific, Amazon Studios
Erika North is the Head of Asia‑Pacific Originals at Amazon Studios, overseeing the development of original content in this region. Before joining Amazon in 2019, North was Director of International Originals and Content for Asia-Pacific at Netflix. In this role, she launched the first International Originals across markets including Thailand, Malaysia, and India, developing Original series such as the Thai fantasy drama The Stranded, Taiwanese-Malaysian period drama Ghost Bride, and romantic comedy Triad Princess. Prior to Netflix, North held the position of Head of Programming and Production at HBO Asia, where she was responsible for award‑winning HBO Originals such as The Teenage Psychic and Halfworlds, and critically acclaimed true‑crime docu-series Behind Closed Doors. North holds a Master of Science from London School of Economics and Political Science.
Asia Editor, Variety
Patrick Frater has more than 20 years of experience writing about and analyzing the international film industry, with publications including Variety, Screen International and The Hollywood Reporter. He was Asia editor of Variety between 2005 and 2009 and re-joined the publication in July 2013. In 2010, he co-founded regional film trade publication Film Business Asia and consultancy firm F Media. Based in Hong Kong, Frater travels widely within the Asia-Pacific region and is a regular radio pundit, conference host and public speaker.
The Power of Women Funding Women
Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Community Fund (APCF)
As Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Community Fund (APCF), Chun-Yen Chen provides executive leadership and directs operations and grantmaking for the organization. Previously as project-based Development Director, she cultivated major donors to grow its DonorAdvised Fund as well as the scholarship program. Chun-Yen has over 20 years of professional working experience in non-profit executive management and fund development, state government budgetary analysis, and academic faculty fields. As Community Development Officer at a community bank in Southern California, she worked closely with the FDIC, Federal Reserve Bank, and other regulatory agencies to develop collaboration and partnership among financial institutions and non-profits to bring qualified Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) services, investment, and donation opportunities to low and moderate income communities in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. As Senior Budget Examiner in the New York State Government, she analyzed state agency fiscal operations, developed budgetary and policy recommendations, evaluated proposed legislation, and monitored revenue and expenditures for the Governor.
Born and raised in Taiwan, Chun-Yen received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from National Taiwan University and master’s degree as well as doctoral candidacy in Public Administration from Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy, SUNY at Albany. Because of her dedicated community services and exceptional leadership, she received numerous awards and recognitions.
In 2004 she received the “Citizen of the Year” Award from Los Angeles Skyline Lions and “Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month - Women’s Issue Award” from California Former State Assemblymember Judy Chu (now U.S. Congresswoman). In 2005, she was selected as a “UNSUNG HERO” by Public Television Station KCET Asian Pacific American Heritage Month for her contribution in social service. In 2006, she received “Chinese Overseas Outstanding Youth Award” from the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, Los Angeles. In 2008, she was featured by KSCI, LA 18 TV station as a “Community Role Model” to recognize her dedicated contribution to the community and also received “Women of the Year Leadership Award” from the California Former State Assemblymember Mike Eng in the Women History Month.
In 2010, she was invited back to Taiwan and received “Taiwan’s Top Ten Outstanding Young Person – under Public Administration Category” and received special recognition from the President of the Republic of China, Taiwan.
In 2018, she received “Community Excellent Award” from the San Gabriel Valley Civic Alliance to recognize her many years of dedication for building community collaboration.
In 2021, she received “Asian Women Empowered (AWE) Catalyst Visionary Award” by the Asia Society Southern California (ASSC)
Board of Directors, Apollo Medical Holdings, Inc., Zeuss Technologies, and Aegis Systems
John Chiang serves as a member of the board of directors of Apollo Medical Holdings, Inc., Zeuss Technologies and Aegis Systems. In addition, he serves on the corporate advisory boards of Pasadena Private Finance, Calyx Peak, Adept Development and Faraday Future.
From 2015 until 2019, John Chiang served as California's 33rd State Treasurer. As the state's banker, he oversaw trillions of dollars in annual transactions, managed a $75 billion investment portfolio and was the nation's largest issue of municipal bonds.
Prior to being elected Treasurer, Chiang served as State Controller from 2007 through 2014. During the Great Recession, he took steps to preserve cash to meet obligations to education and bond holders. His cash management decisions - which included delaying payments and issuing IOUs - were instrumental in keeping the state's credit rating from plunging into junk status, and his actions saved taxpayers millions of dollars. Additionally, Chiang aggressively used his audit programs to identify more than $9.5 billion of fraud, waste and abuse in government programs, the most by any Controller in California's history.
In 1998, he was elected to California's Board of Equalization and served two terms, including three years as Chair.
John Chiang serves as Co-Chair of California Forward, member of the Board of Councilors at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, Treasurer of the California State Guard Foundation and Chief Financial Officer of the Committee of 100.
Chiang served as an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow, Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellow and USC Center for the Political Future Fellow.
Chiang is a graduate of the University of South Florida and Georgetown University Law Center.
Julia S. Gouw
Chair, Piermont Bank
Julia S. Gouw is the Chair of Piermont Bank, a digital commercial bank that serves the fintech ecosystem. 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 has been a proponent in advancing Asian representation in entertainment. She was recently honored as an “Entertainment Game Changer” at Asia Society Southern California’s U.S Asia Entertainment Summit.
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 (OIAA) 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.
The Julia S. Gouw Short Film Challenge
Ragini Bhasin is a filmmaker of South Asian heritage, born and raised in India, and currently residing in Los Angeles. A graduate of Dodge College of Film and Media arts, Chapman University, she has made award-winning films like Ghazaal and Las Escondidas, which have played numerous festivals worldwide, including, Oscar-qualifying Nashville, Los Angeles Asian Pacific, Florida, Flicker's Rhode Island International, Tirana International Film Festival and Femme Filmmakers in the same line-up as Olivia Wilde and Lulu Wang. Her film was also featured in the Wrap's Shortfilmfestival and distributed by the German ARTE channel in France, Germany, and Belgium, ShortsTV, and Argo Channel. She is also the recipient of the Meredith Macrae Memorial Award by WIF, the Maya Deren Short Film Innovation Prize by Femme Filmmakers, BAFTA Newcomers Program 2021, The Sundance Institute | Starlight Media’s Star Collective Program, an Alliance For Women In Media Mentee 2021, and the winner of the CAPE x Janet Yang Productions’ Short Film Challenge.
She has directed English, Hindi, Dari, Spanish, and Mandarin films and loves working with non-actors who bring unparalleled freshness and condor on screen. Her work de-stigmatizes topics that are deemed controversial and explores the psyche of underrepresented communities, from Muslim Hijabi women to transgender athletes.
Currently, she directs unscripted digital series that garner millions of views for Jubilee Media’s Youtube channel including series like Middle Ground, Spectrum, Odd One Out (Nominated for the Streamy Awards in 2021), and Ranking amongst others. These series have been sponsored by brands like Netflix, Google, Warby Parker, Always, Grammarly, and Honey, amongst others. She is also in the development of her first feature film- a social thriller that revolves around the life of an acid attack survivor.
Banban Cheng is a Brooklyn-based writer and filmmaker who spent their childhood performing Chinese stand up comedy in Houston, Texas. Since then, they have traded the stage for writing and directing movies. They spend most of their life obsessing about Asian-American identity, weird science, and how to perfect the noodle soup.
Cheng’s feature screenplay, Lucky Grandma, co-written with director Sasie Sealy, won the AT&T and Tribeca Film Festival’s 2018 Untold Stories $1 million filmmaking grant. The movie, starring the inimitable Tsai Chin (Joy Luck Club, Casino Royale) debuted at Tribeca Film Festival in April 2019 and will be making its European debut at the London Film Festival.
Their screenplay Trouble to the Herd is also the winner of the 2019 Asian Cinevision SAG-AFTRA Screenplay Award and was a finalist at the 2019 Nashville Film Festival.
Their short film Ten & Two - about a Chinese-American housewife who learns how to drive in order to leave her husband - was awarded NYU’s Wasserman Prize for Filmmaking. Cheng has been awarded the Sloan Foundation feature screenplay award for Sugar Water, a gothic drama about the strange discovery of insulin. Her work has been shown at SXSW, Palm Springs International Short Film Festival, Newfest, Outfest, and Los Angeles International Film Festival.
Professionally, Cheng has directed the stage for TED Talks, featuring brilliant speakers with “Ideas Worth Spreading.” They are currently the Creative Director of Format Development at TED, experimenting with and launching new forms of storytelling. They and the team are the creative force behind the video series Small Thing Big Idea and DIY Neuroscience - garnering millions of views online. They are also part of the editorial team behind WorkLife with Adam Grant - a popular podcast about how to make work not suck. They continue to develop short form video content as well as longform podcasts with a focus on exploring ideas that have the potential to make an impact on the world.
Born to an Indonesian father and a Polish mother, Soma Helmi hails from Bali and directed all 20 episodes of Season 3 of Snapchat‘s original series The Dead Girls Detective Agency. The series is produced by Keshet Media and Insurrection Media.
She worked frequently with Catherine Hardwicke as a creative consultant. Helmi most recently consulted for Ms. Hardwicke on her feature Mafia Mamma (2022) for Bleecker Street and as a creative consultant on her Quibi Series Don’t Look Deeper. Helmi’s work has screened at Sundance, Hollyshorts, Outfest and Amazon’s New Voices Film Festival among many others.
Helmi began her career working as an Art Director for J. Walter Thompson in Jakarta, where her clients were Unilever and Pfizer. She would go on to direct commercial spots for Google, Klondike, Nike, Chevrolet, and Campbell’s.
She is a 2021 Paramount Viewfinder Directors Program fellow and was named one of the “8 directors to watch” by Alliance of Women Directors. Helmi is on the 2021 CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) List x Blacklist and created Blackmagic Collective’s Breakthrough Initiative for BIPOC TV writers and directors.
Liz Sargent is a Korean American adoptee and New York Emmy-winning writer/director. In her work Sargent examines themes around adoption, disability, and family.
Sargent incorporates her background as a choreographer into her commercial and experimental work with films that have premiered at Venice Biennale Danza and Lincoln Center. Her short film Strangers’ Reunion was one of five films chosen by Ritz-Carlton and Hearst to be made with mentorship by Mike Figgis and production by RSA Hong Kong. It won best screenplay at Brand Film Festival and best director at Diversity in Cannes.
She won a Reel Sisters Fellowship 2022, Asian Women Giving Circle 2020, winner of the CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) Julia S. Gouw grant including a fellowship with Janet Yang Productions and CAPE. Sargent is also the winner of the Korean American Stories ROAR Story Slam 2022 for her story 'Angel's Kiss'. She is making her break into TV directing with the Ryan Murphy's Half Initiative Mentorship and was a top 3 finalist for the SeriesFest Shondaland Directing Mentorship 2022.
Sargent is a producer with Cyprian Films New York.
Michelle K. Sugihara
Executive Director, CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment)
Michelle K. Sugihara is the Executive Director of CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment). She is also an entertainment attorney, film producer, and adjunct professor for the Claremont Colleges’ Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies. She co-leads #GoldOpen, is on the leadership team of Time's Up Entertainment Women of Color, and is a founding member of the Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theater. She is also an associate member of Cold Tofu, the nation's premier Asian American comedy improv and sketch group. An avid public speaker, Sugihara speaks and teaches across the country on various topics including Representation in Media, Women in Entertainment, Diversity and Inclusion, Leadership, and Improv for Non-Actors.