U.S.-Asia Entertainment Summit Committee
This signature Asia Society program attracts high-level, high-impact speakers and attendees, thanks to our blue-chip Summit Planning Committee:
Janet Yang, Chair
President, Janet Yang Productions
President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Janet Yang is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning Hollywood producer with deep roots in China. Yang is a member of the Board of Governors of the Motion Picture Academy, as well as an officer chairing the Membership and Governance Committee.
Yang has worked with some of the most formidable directors and actors in the world. She came to prominence through her collaboration with Steven Spielberg on Empire of the Sun (Warner Bros). That was followed by a long partnership with multiple Academy Award-winner Oliver Stone—where she served as Executive Producer on the iconic The Joy Luck Club (Disney), and as a Producer on the Golden Globe-winning The People vs. Larry Flynt (Columbia Pictures). Her latest film is Over the Moon, an animated feature based on her original story inspired by the Chinese moon goddess. Legendary animator Glen Keane directs the movie for Netflix and Pearl Studios.
Committed to fostering global understanding, Yang has been a long-standing member of the Committee of 100, an organization of the most prominent Chinese-Americans; an advisory board member of Asia Society Southern California where she also chairs its highly regarded U.S.-Asia Entertainment Summit; and co-founder of Gold House, the non-profit collective of influential Asian cultural leaders.
Kathy Le Backes, Co-Chair
Director, Content Advisement - Representation, Inclusion Strategies & Engagement, The Walt Disney Studios
Kathy Le Backes has been working at the intersection of entertainment and social impact for over 15 years. She is currently the Director of Content Advisement on the Representation, Inclusion Strategies + Engagement team at The Walt Disney Studios where she helps ensure cultural authenticity and inclusion in their feature films. Prior to joining Disney, she was the Senior Director of Equity + Inclusion at WarnerMedia where she helped develop and run talent development programs to discover, cultivate, and amplify underrepresented writers, directors, producers, and below-the-line talent across WarnerMedia's brands, such as HBO, Warner Bros, Turner, and CNN. Before that, Le Backes was the Vice President of Development & Research at Wise Entertainment where she oversaw the development of the company’s slate with a special focus on inclusive content and diverse storytellers. She also executed the integration of social issues into Wise Entertainment’s creative IPs, and cultivated relationships with non-profit and social justice organizations to bolster meaningful storytelling. While at Wise, Le Backes was a producer on three seasons of the six-time Emmy-nominated Hulu original drama, EAST LOS HIGH. She also produced over 100 short-form transmedia videos for EAST LOS HIGH and Hello Sunshine’s SHINE ON WITH REESE WITHERSPOON.
Prior to joining Wise Entertainment, Le Backes served as the Digital Campaign Manager for the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) program. In that role, she oversaw and produced multi-platform digital and social media campaigns to help raise awareness for cancer research. She also executed SU2C social impact campaigns with brands such as MasterCard, Major League Baseball, and Lucasfilm. Before her role at the EIF, Le Backes served as Program Manager at the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center’s Hollywood, Health & Society program, where she worked closely with writers and producers from hit shows such as ER, GREY’S ANATOMY, BREAKING BAD, and LAW & ORDER: SVU to facilitate storylines that educate viewers on social issues.
Le Backes is a regular lecturer on entertainment and social justice at USC, UCLA and Mount Saint Mary’s University. She is also a board member of Asia Society Southern California, a faculty advisor for the RespectAbility Entertainment Lab, and on the leadership committee for the Yes, And… Laughter Lab. Le Backes holds an MPH degree from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and a BS in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Davis.
Stephen Saltzman, Co-Chair
Head of International Entertainment Group, Media, Fieldfisher
Stephen Saltzman has extensive experience in domestic and international transactions in the entertainment and media industries. He focuses on innovative and complex international distribution, co-production, and co-financing transactions as well as cross-border transactions involving the creation, production, financing, and/or exploitation of content, and brand building.
Saltzman recently advised Chinese studio Huayi Brothers International, which co-bankrolled the largest indie film to complete production in 2020, Roland Emmerich's $140 million Moonfall. In addition, he also recently advised esports team TSM (Team SoloMid) in one of the largest sponsorship deals in the industry with the crypto currency exchange, FTX. Saltzman advises a broad range of clients across the media and entertainment spectrum, including US, European and Asia-based producers, production companies, studios, theme park operators, distribution companies, broadcasters, digital content companies (including esports teams), banks, film funds, directors, talent, and authors.
Saltzman regularly appears on The Hollywood Reporter's "Power Lawyers Top 100" list and on Variety's "Dealmakers Impact Report", and frequently participate as a featured speaker and panelist in seminars and symposiums in the United States, Europe, and Asia. In addition to his US and Asia experience, he utilizes his language capability to develop his German-speaking practice, which is often profiled in various German publications.
Director of Events & Global Publicity, Warner Bros. Pictures
Jade Alex is an event producer and awards strategist specializing in red carpet motion picture premieres, promotional stunts, awards celebrations, marketing conferences, corporate retreats and fan events. Beginning at DreamWorks SKG, her career has spanned 20 years at entertainment studios like MGM/UA, Focus Features and Relativity Media. Alex currently serves as the Director of Global Events and Publicity at Warner Bros. Pictures, where she has designed creative programs to eventize over 100 theatrical releases including “Judas and the Black Messiah”, “A Star Is Born”, “Dunkirk”, “Ready Player One”, “American Sniper”, “Wonder Woman”, “Just Mercy”, “It” and “The Lego Movie”. Her team’s work has resulted in three Maxwell Weinberg Awards for Motion Pictures Publicity Campaigns for “Gravity”, “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Joker”.
Prior to her work in the film industry, she spent five years in Hong Kong at Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd managing, leasing and marketing office and retail properties Windsor House and the Entertainment Building, which was sold to Hysan Development Holdings for HK$3,640 million during her charge. Alex was an original board member of L.A. Diaper Drive, one of the largest nonprofit diaper banks in the U.S. The charity was acquired by Baby Buggy renamed to GOOD+ Foundation, where she continues to volunteer as a Los Angeles Friends committee member. She holds a seat on the Advisory Board of Asia Society Southern California and is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. Alex earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Counsel, Latham & Watkins LLP
Jing Cao focuses her practice primarily on entertainment and media finance and investment transactions. Cao represents major studios, production and distribution companies, commercial banks, investment funds, and financial institutions that are based in both U.S. and China in corporate finance transactions, film slate and single-picture financings, and production and distribution of motion pictures.
Cao also regularly helps her clients navigate issues in connection with cross-border finance, co-production and distribution transactions. In addition to her core practice in the entertainment and media sector, Cao is also regularly involved in many other types of US-China cross-border investment transactions. Previously, Cao was a legal consultant in O’Melveny’s Shanghai office, where she represented clients on matters ranging from telecommunications, broadcasting and logistics, to commerce, banking and employment issues. Cao earned her Bachelor’s degree in law from the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade and her LL.M. from Columbia University.
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. Chen 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.
Managing Director, Dasym Media LLC
Charles Coker is Managing Director of Dasym Media, an entertainment company focused on launching and optimizing brand franchises on a global scale. He also advises Dasym Investment Strategies on media-related investments and activities in China. Coker served as producer on the Sino-foreign co-production Skiptrace (2016), a buddy comedy starring Jackie Chan, Johnny Knoxville and Fan Bingbing. The film grossed over $135 million at the Chinese box office. He is currently working on a number of co-production film and TV projects, including a miniseries about the legendary World War II fighter-pilot unit known as the Flying Tigers. Before joining Dasym, Coker practiced law in Shanghai and Los Angeles with leading international law firms, where he advised entertainment and media companies, as well as independent producers, on their China strategy and operations, including Sino-foreign co-productions.
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 Director, Center for Regional Economics and California Center, Milken Institute
Kevin Klowden is the executive director of the Milken Institute’s Center for Regional Economics and California Center. He specializes in the study of key factors that underlie the development of competitive regional economies (clusters of innovation, patterns of trade and investment, and concentration of skilled labor), and how these are influenced by public policy and in turn affect regional economies. On a national level, he is heavily involved in issues of capital access for small business, including serving as chair of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Trade Finance Advisory Council. He co-led the Partnership for Lending in Underserved Markets initiative with the U.S. Small Business Administration, which focused on funding for African-American and Latino small businesses. His areas of expertise include technology-based development, capital access, infrastructure, the global economy, media, and entertainment. He holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and London School of Economics.
Executive Vice President, 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.
CMO, Advisor, and Founder
Chair, Asia Society Southern California
Trustee, Asia Society
Katie Soo is an award-winning global media and tech CMO with a proven track record for leading transformations, breaking trends, forging new technology partnerships, and launching large-scale, disruptive business models and brands. Soo is Senior Advisor to Newbury Street (NASDAQ: NBST) and Advisor to KiwiCo, after serving as the company’s first CMO, overseeing global consumer marketing across 40+ markets.
She is the former Senior Vice President of Growth Marketing at HBO Max overseeing growth and marketing across brand, originals, and performance media. She led subscriber acquisitions, in-app editorial, consumer campaigns, social media, partner marketing, and retention strategies. Prior to that, she’s held executive roles at Warner Bros. Digital Networks, DC Universe, Fullscreen, hulu, and was early Dollar Shave Club.
Soo is actively involved in startups, serving both as an advisor and mentor to founders and companies. She has received numerous accolades from Ad Age, Adweek, Promax, Webbys, Digiday and the Shorty Awards for her work in both creative storytelling and digital products. Most recently she was recognized on Ad Age’s “40 Under 40,” Business Insider’s CMOs to Watch, Media Play’s 40 Under 40, PR Week’s “The Innovation 50,” and was also named on Goldhouse’s A100 list honoring the most impactful Asians in culture.
She is a West Coast native and sits on the Advisory Board for California State University Entertainment Alliance and serves as a member of Vox Media’s Brand Council. She’s also a Trustee of Asia Society’s Global Board and is the Chairman of Asia Society Southern California. When she isn’t working, Soo enjoys spending time with her family and supporting environmental causes.