Daniel Dae Kim & More discuss limited opportunities for AAPI talent – Deadline
Even with the most recent moments of Minari, Sound of metal and Rich and crazy Asians, Finding a place in Hollywood remains a challenge for the creative and talented Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
On Thursday, Daniel Dae Kim, Nina Yang Bongiovi and Sanjay Sharma gathered for Amazon’s representation of Asia and the Pacific Islands in film and media – Voices, hosted by Albert Cheng of Amazon. They reflected on the progress, or lack thereof, in amplifying AAPI’s voices in Hollywood and the internal hurdles that are holding back DCI’s industry efforts.
“I think you can’t help but look at the relationship between portrayal in media and portrayal of us. In general, they’re inextricably linked, which is why it’s important that we are able to change the narrative in a meaningful way, ”Kim said.
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Kim, a multi-hyphenator who has tirelessly used his platform to speak out against Asian discrimination and anti-Asian violence, said that while there has been pressure for more Asian stories to hit the big screen, television still needs catching up.
“Even in 2021, if you look at what’s actually being broadcast in terms of portraying Asian Americans, you have two shows that hark back to a legacy of a stereotype that all Asians know martial arts,” he said. -he declares. “If you watch what happened on television, if not martial arts or an association with Crazy Rich Asians Which one is Empire bling, what kind of representation do we have? “
Bongiovi, the executive producer behind Godfather of Harlem, sorry to bother you and Fruitvale Station, Kim expanded on Kim’s point, noting that limited portrayals of the Asian-American experience can do more harm than good. She noted that AAPI’s talents, due to lack of opportunities, often take work that requires an accent or that represents a stereotype to some extent. While some work is beginning to open, she added that it was up to producers and executives to have more say in the offering of more nuanced roles and stories.
But even when important, non-stereotypical roles open up, they are rarely made available to unknown and emerging talent. According to a recent USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative study Nancy Wang Yeun and Stacy L. Smith, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson made up almost a third of all lead roles at AAPI. While the Jumanji The star may be in high demand, Sharma, Founder and CEO of Marginal Mediaworks and Chair of the CAPE Board of Directors, said there was an abundance of willing and talented actors and creatives from around the world. Asian diaspora, also ready to take on major roles.
“Every time I hear the phrase ‘this is a pipeline problem’ I lose my mind,” he said. “Talent and creativity are evenly distributed, but access is not. There’s no shortage of amazing projects, stories, and storytellers, so it makes you realize it’s systemic. The stories we are allowed to tell come from a system that is historically structurally biased. “
He added that when it comes to the accounts of AAPI and those from other marginalized communities, there are only two seemingly acceptable stories – those of extreme hardship or extreme exceptionalism. When the creators of BIPOC try to break that mold or try to find an intermediary, they meet, “we have things like that,” said Sharma.
The perceived value of stories from the AAPI community and other minority groups not only dictates the amount of opportunity available to actors, writers, and other creatives. Bongiovi added that the perceived value of a project will also determine scale, budget and even gender, continuing a cycle that leaves out diverse and unknown talent.
“Everything that features people of color has been devalued. If you have stories, or if you have talent in the narrative space of BIPOC, then the value of it is generally perceived to be lower, so your budget must be lower, because “we don’t know if you can do it. “,” She mentioned. “It has continued over decades and decades and I think we would have proven it so many times, but it still happens.”
“This usually happens to all BIPOC storytellers. No period pieces. Contemporary comedy – anything that could be economically less budgetary, ”she continued. “Hopefully we can really compete with our counterparts, with white shows that could do romantic comedy, could do period pieces and they could do whatever they want and get budget fairness.
Watch the Amazon’s Studios live event here.