Tonight, on the opening night of the 2012 Asian American International Film Festival, Asian CineVision will award Janet Yang with the 2012 Asian American Media Award.
Yang is a deeply respected Hollywood producer who has had an accomplished career. From 1989-1996, Yang was president of Ixtlan Corporation, formed with director Oliver Stone. During this time, Yang produced The People vs. Larry Flynt and executive produced The Joy Luck Club as well as Indictment: The McMartin Trial.
She is the president of Janet Yang Productions and the production company, The Manifest Film Company. Some of the films Yang has produced include High Crimes and The Weight of Water directed by Kathryn Bigelow.
More recently, Yang had been asked by Disney to adapt High School Musical for a Chinese audience, the first time a global franchise was made specifically for a Chinese market. She just wrapped production on Shanghai Calling, about an American attorney who is sent to open another office in Shanghai and must adapt to working and living in a new culture. The film will open in China, distributed by China Film Group, and is expected to screen at international film festivals.
Yang has been named one of the "50 Most Powerful Women in Hollywood" by The Hollywood Reporter and featured in articles in The Los Angeles Times, Variety, The New York Times and many more print and television outlets.
Yang wanted to work in the entertainment industry because she wanted there to be representations of the Asian community in film.
My inspiration to work in the entertainment industry came when I lived in Beijing in the 80’s after college. It was then and there that I had the epiphany that something was terribly wrong, for as a child in America, I never saw images on screen of people who looked like me. I decided to do what I could to change that, and thus began a journey that has resulted in the extraordinary fortune of having my life as an Asian-American woman and my work as a film producer become so closely intertwined. Today, as China and Asia have become front and center in the world’s consciousness, I find that it is no longer necessary to live a bifurcated life, and that finally, those who are born in the East and those born in the West can come together, here, there and everywhere, and speak a common language.
Yang will be presented the award by Rose Kuo, Executive Director of Film Society Lincoln Center this evening in NYC during the AAIFF opening night presentation of Shanghai Calling.