JONATHAN PARK aka DUMBFOUNDEAD

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Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina to South Korean refugees, Jonathan Park (better known as DUMBFOUNDEAD) was smuggled in along with his sister by his mother to Mexico, and then later settled in Koreatown in Los Angeles at the age of three.   At age 16, he discovered Project Blowed, an open-mic workshop located in Leimert Park in South Central L.A.  Equipped with a blunted grin and an arsenal of quick witted rhymes, Dumbfoundead has topped the hip-hop charts with his single “Are We There Yet?”  

Being a multi-hyphenate, Dumbfoundead recently released a six-episode webseries entitled RUN DMZ.   I asked questions about this new series, his love for K-Town and how to best make his mother proud.

*NOTE: Dumbfoundead to be a panelist at 2013 Conference for Creative Content (C3) on October 26, 2013 at SAG-AFTRA.

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JEFF LIU, Writer/Director of “Yellow Face”

5 QUESTIONS WITH JEFF LIU Jeff Liu

Recently, Jeff Liu premiered his work-in-progress of “Yellow Face” at our 29th Annual LA Asian Pacific Film Festival.  Based on the Obie-winning play by Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang,  “Yellow Face” chronicles the misadventures of an Asian American playwright named DHH who leads the protest against the yellow face casting in the Broadway production of “Miss Saigon”, only to mistakenly cast a Caucasian actor in an Asian role in his own play.  Mashing up elements of theater, film and YouTube, this is the first-ever online adaptation of a play from producer Justin Lin (“Fast and Furious 6”) and the YOMYOMF Network.  

It will have its world premiere online

SATURDAY, JUNE 8 (Act I) — CLICK HERE TO WATCH

and SUNDAY, JUNE 9 (Act II) — CLICK HERE TO WATCH

We had a chance to discuss with Jeff the origins of “Yellow Face”, how he hopes it will shape the way we consume content, and his ideas for a tennis-themed bio-pic.   Continue reading

DAVID KWAN

5 QUESTIONS WITH DAVID KWAN David Kwan David Kwan is the Managing Director of The Famous Group.  With offices in downtown Culver City , CA and SoHo New York, NY, The Famous Group is an award winning full-service integrated production company, handling all aspects of live action filming and editing, CG/motion graphics, digital development and production for broadcast and the web under one roof.  The Company recently received a Cannes Lion, AICP Award, two OneShow Pencils and a Clio Award, and has won dozens of Addy Telly, Communicator, ICA, FWA and other awards. 

As Managing Director, David brings together directors, designers, storytellers, technologists and inventors to create a broad range of brilliant commercial projects, content, and interactive experiences that are both creative and energizing.  The company has worked with the industry’s largest ad agencies and many of the world’s biggest brands.  His prior experience includes executive marketing and product management positions.  His prior experience includes executive marketing, strategic consulting, and product management positions.  David completed his fellowship and graduate degrees at Princeton University and Harvard University.

We had a chance to discuss with David the beginnings of The Famous Group, where he sees integrated production going, and how the New England Patriots didn’t make it to the big game (but David did).   Continue reading

YUKARI FUJIU (lead singer of CRIBABI)

5 QUESTIONS WITH YUKARI FUJIU

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Yukari Fujiu is a singer songwriter / guitarist. She began her musical career as the lead singer of an all-girl Tokyo band called The Groopies and went on to release two solo albums on Pony Canyon Records. She also wrote million-seller hits for several Japanese artists. Later, she worked in London with Dave Stewart of Eurythmics, and with Gota Yashiki of Simply Red. While living in the UK she formed the group called Cribabi with Andy Cox, ex the Beat and Fine Young Cannibals. They released the album “Volume” which was selected for The Best of British by Virgin Megastores USA. Eventually she moved her base to Los Angeles, California and reformed Cribabi. They have just released the new single “Flight 49”. Her performances, including the music video of “Flight 49”, are online at www.cribabi.com.  The audio single is available on iTunes and Amazon.com.

We recently caught up with Yukari after the premiere of the video at the Unexpected Film Festival and had a chance to discuss her transition from Tokyo to Los Angeles.

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GRACE LEE

5 QUESTIONS WITH GRACE LEE

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Grace Lee is a Los Angeles based writer and director.  Her feature film AMERICAN ZOMBIE premiered at Slamdance Film Festival and was released by Cinema Libre in 2008.  Prior to that, she produced, wrote and directed THE GRACE LEE PROJECT which was broadcast on Sundance Channel and is distributed by Women Make Movies.  She received her MFA in Directing from UCLA Film School, where her thesis film BARRIER DEVICE, starring Sandra Oh, won a Student Academy Award and Directors Guild of America award among others.  She is the recipient of the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Digital Media, a Rockefeller Media Arts grant, the PPP Pusan Prize as well as funding from the NEA, Center for Asian American Media, Chicken & Egg Pictures and the Armani Directing Fellowship from Film Independent.  Grace was also selected to Visual Communications’ 2012 PROJECT CATALYST (formerly known as C3: Project Market) where she promoted her film project MUSIC FOR AARDVARKS.

Grace just premiered her feature film JANEANE FROM DES MOINES at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, where she was nominated for the prestigious International Critics’ Prize – Discovery.  In JANEANE, a conservative Iowa housewife’s personal and political convictions are severely tested as she seeks answers from the Republican presidential candidates leading up to the 2012 Iowa Caucuses.

During the recent tumultuous Presidential Election, the film’s release was very apropos.  We had a chance to delve into with Grace the the controversy surrounding JANEANE, not only from a political standpoint, but also from a narrative slant.  

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JAY CASPIAN KANG

5 QUESTIONS WITH JAY CASPIAN KANG

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Jay Caspian Kang grew up in Boston and Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  In 2003, Kang graduated from Bowdoin College and was also awarded the prestigious Sinkinson Prize for Best Short Story.  Shortly thereafter he received his Masters of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University.

Kang has had articles appear in the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Deadspin and The Atlantic.  Along with surfing, he’s an avid sports fan, writing many articles for Bill Simmons’ Grantland, where he is currently an Editor.  Kang’s debut novel, THE DEAD DO NOT IMPROVE was released in August of 2012 and revolves around a disgruntled MFA graduate named Philip Kim, who discovers that his elderly neighbor has been murdered, and who soon becomes the unlikely protagonist of a quickly unfolding mystery.

We had a chance to discuss with Jay his novel, his affinity towards Pop Music, and why surfers are a totally different breed.

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The National Film Society, aka AWESOME ASIAN BAD GUYS

The National Film Society is a new media studio co-founded by filmmakers Patrick Epino and Stephen Dypiangco, who’ve decided to take their talents to YouTube. With a uniquely brainy and offbeat style, they produce original content, collaborate with talented creators and make fun of each other as much as possible. Part of PBS Digital Studios.

They recently announced they will be directing, producing and starring in a 5-episode arc of a webseries entitled Awesome Asian Bad Guys.  We asked questions, they answered them (somewhat adequately), and continue to make their mothers proud.

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Cinematographer PATTI LEE

Photo by Jennifer Arnold

Born the youngest of five girls from a traditional Chinese American family, Patti Lee did the unthinkable and went into show business.  After graduating UCLA’s film school, Patti began her career lighting feature films, commercials and television shows, working first as a set lighting technician, then later as a gaffer.  Lee’s career continued to rise, and she got her first big break as Director of Photography on “The Bernie Mac Show” (FOX).  Some of her other cinematography credits include “Men at Work” (TBS), “Whitney” and “Perfect Couples” (NBC/Universal).  In addition to shooting, Patti produced the acclaimed feature documentary, A SMALL ACT, which premiered at Sundance and was broadcast at HBO.  The film was named by Roger Ebert as one of “The Best Documentaries of 2010”.
We asked Patti questions about the challenges in different media formats, who her idols are, and why it’s good to be the youngest in the family.

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STEVE BYRNE

Steve Byrne. On a typical Tuesday.

In just a few short years, STEVE BYRNE has risen through the ranks of the comedy world to become one of the industry’s most innovative and sought-after performers. Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, Steve Byrne was born to a Korean mother and an Irish father. His unique background has given him the base comedic material for his first television show, Sullivan & Son, which premiered on TBS July 19th. We asked Steve questions about his new show, his new baby and his take on hair styles in the NHL.

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PHILIP CHUNG

PHILIP W. CHUNG is a writer for film, TV and theater and was the co-founder/co-Artistic Director of Lodestone Theatre Ensemble, an acclaimed Asian American theater company. He co-founded the blog YouOffendMeYouOffendMyFamily (YOMYOMF) with film director Justin Lin and co. in 2009, and helped the launch of the YOMYOMF Network in June, one of YouTube’s new premium channels, where he oversees the creative content. In its debut launch, YOMYOMF ranked 9th out of 95 YouTube channels. Philip does not like long walks on the beach.

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