The Casting Society of America will host two virtual town halls this month as part of its Asian-American Pacific Islands Initiative. Celebrating Asia Pacific American Heritage Month, CSA says the town halls and roundtables, on May 10 and 17, “are designed to affect a concrete change in the way that creatives, in this historically underrepresented community, have they been seen, what they have accomplished and how we can all create systemic change to advance the needle of progress. “
The events, titled “Closer to Equity: Deconstructing the Asian Narrative,” are free and open to the entertainment community.
CSA will also hold roundtable discussions on Asian inclusion on May 20. Speakers include Grace Wu, executive vice president of entertainment content and casting for NBCUniversal; director Jude Weng; and actors Jamie Chung, Amy Hill, Dustin Nguyen, Grace Park, Rain Valdez, and Jude Weng.
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“Empowering casting directors by giving them the tools to cast authentically will create a ripple effect in the industry that will result in more opportunities for underrepresented actors and filmmakers in front of and behind the camera,” said Russell Boast, co-chair of CSA. “The Pacific Islands Asian American Initiative follows the tremendous success of CSA’s Entertainment Equity Initiatives for black, trans, and non-binary actors; artists with disabilities, seniors, Native American and Indigenous actors, and actors from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, offering an opportunity for these underrepresented actors to be seen, as well as an opportunity for our global CSA membership become more familiar with your work. “
The May 10 town hall, called The Groundwork, will include individual stories and conversations with industry creatives. Depending on the lineup, topics will include:
• Perception of the media through a historical lens
• Power dynamics and systems of oppression
• Fight against stereotypes: dispelling tropes in the action genre.
• Authenticity and ally: changing the narrative
• International perspective
• Asian achievements
You can register here.
The May 17 town hall, titled “Asian Visibility Through the Industry Lens,” will be co-moderated by Caroline Liem, casting director and vice president of advocacy for CSA, and Lee Ann Kim, former television news anchor. , reporter and founder of Pacific Arts. Movement. The welcoming remarks will be given by Nancy Wang Yuen, sociologist and author of Reel unevenness, who will lead a conversation about inequality in the media. Panelists include casting director Jenny Jue; talent manager Kevin Lin; and actors Tzi Ma, Harry Shum Jr, Joel Kim Booster, Sherry Cola, Tess Paras, and Zoe Chao.
Topics will include an in-depth discussion on visibility and invisibility, and “the challenging nature of where we have been, where we are and where we are going as a community.”
You can register for that event here.
“Being half Asian, I felt like I belonged to the half, not fitting into the narrative very well wherever I went,” Liem said. “The principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and the processes and framework that underpin current systems must continue to be examined if we are to create a world where underrepresented groups feel they belong. Speaking frankly from a place of vulnerability and listening from a place of openness, with a strong desire to ‘do better’ in action, is how we accelerate the change we need to achieve a more equitable industry to which we all belong. “
“As part of the national reckoning on racial justice, the entertainment industry must continue to have honest and candid conversations about race and gender bias, and be willing to admit that it can do better,” Kim said. “I am honored and excited to help guide this critical conversation during AAPI Heritage Month.”