Please join OCA-OC and MANAA for a lively discussion on positive Asian American characters in the media and our efforts to change the way mainstream media portrays Asian Americans.
Francois Chau, actor (Dr. Cheng on “Lost”) more info
Tzi Ma, actor (“Rush Hour”
Lisa Akiyama, OCA-OC Educational/Cultural Affairs Chair
Phil Lee, MANAA President
Vic Chao, actor more info
Panney Wei, TV-Radio Host-Writer-Motivational Speaker
Thursday, June 4, 2009
UC Irvine University Club
801 East Peltason Drive, Irvine
6:00pm Registration and Networking
Drinks and hor’douvres provided!
Seats are limited!
Parking is complimentary (Click on map for larger view)
Community Partner: UC Irvine Asian American Studies Department
Francois Chau’s early life has the makings of a movie of the week. He was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to Chinese Vietnamese parents. His family moved to Vietnam when he was five, and then he and his mother left Saigon in 1967. After living in various places including France, Delaware, and Africa, he settled in the Washington, D.C. metro area in 1973.Speaking only French when he came to the US, he quickly learned English from watching his favorite shows,” Start Trek” and “Batman”, thus beginning a life time obsession with TV. He never dreamed that Television would play such an integral part of his adult life. Francois caught the acting bug in high school, but was encouraged to pursue a more stable profession. After one college semester studying business however, he transferred to the drama department at the Catholic University of America. Graduating with a BFA in Acting in 1984, he loaded his belongings into a rented truck, and headed to Hollywood. The following year, he landed the role of “Quick Kick” in the animated series, “G.I. JOE”, and has been working ever since.
Mr. Ma started his acting career in 1973 starring in a full length Student film called “Half-Ass” written and directed by his friend Victor Huey. He studied acting at LaMama in New York City. The most influential teacher in Mr. Ma’s life was the highly respected MAKO. For the next fifteen years, Mr. Ma dedicated his acting life mainly in the theaters in New York City and regional theaters around the country. His has had the privilege of working with some of America’s most gifted playwrights. Among his most favorite playwrights are Mr. David Henry Hwang and Mr. Eric Overmyer. Mr. Ma has collaborated with Mr. Hwang on FOB, THE DANCE AND THE RAILROAD, GOLDEN GATE, FLOWER DRUM SONG, YELLOW FACE and other plays. Mr. Ma also starred in Mr. Overmyer’s NATIVE SPEECH and IN PERPETUITY THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSE. Both of these brilliant playwrights have written works specifically for Mr. Ma.In 1988, Mr. Ma came to Los Angeles to perform in a production of Mr. Overmyer’s IN PERPETUITY THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSE at South Coast Repertory Theater, garnering excellent reviews for his work. The opportunity allowed him to exhibit his talent to Hollywood for the first time, leading to work in film and TV. Unfortunately, the work offered at the time was mostly for roles which were stereotypical caricatures, cardboard cutouts or one-dimensional background color which served no purpose other than to lend a mild sense of authenticity to the stories, which were predominately created by white, male producers and writers that were not mindful of how the Asian Pacific American community was being portrayed. Still, Mr. Ma understood the impact and power of the film and TV industries in reaching the world. He knew it was something he needed to be a part of. Every meeting he had with the powers that be became a mission to educate and influence them to give Asian Pacific American characters three dimensions and culture-specific behaviors. Most importantly, he strove to make sure that Asian Pacific American characters be included as part of the fabric of American society so as not to be seen as perpetual foreigners. It has been an uphill climb for too many reasons to elaborate on here, but his efforts have led to the creation of roles he is proud of in the following productions:
Films – FORMOSA BETRAYED, BABY, RUSH HOUR 3, BATTLE IN SEATTLE, ALL GOD’S CHILDREN CAN DANCE, DRAGON BOYS, AKEELAH AND THE BEE, THE LADYKILLERS, THE QUIET AMERICAN, HAWAIIAN GARDEN, CATFISH AND BLACK BEAN SAUCE, RUSH HOUR, DANTE’S PEAK, CHAIN REACTION, GOLDEN GATE, RAPID FIRE.
Television – THE BEAST, DIRTY SEXY MONEY, GREY’S ANATOMY, FINNEGAN, 24, COMMANDER IN CHIEF, THE UNIT, THE PRACTICE, E.R., LAW & ORDER, BOOMTOWN, THE BERNIE MAC SHOW, HAWAII, GIDEON’S CROSSING, CITY OF ANGELS, N.Y.P.D. BLUE, MARTIAL LAW, MILLENIUM,YELLOW THREAD STREET, FORBIDDEN NIGHTS, THE FORGOTTEN, THE DANCE AND THE RAILROAD.
Guy Aoki was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, and attended Occidental College in Los Angeles and The University of Hawaii at Manoa, graduating from Occidental as a Psychology major in 1985. He worked as a Los Angeles Times reporter, researcher and mixing producer for Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40,” and wrote various syndicated radio shows including “Countdown America with Dick Clark” (named “Best Adult Contemporary Radio Show” by Billboard Magazine in 1991) and “Dick Clark’s U.S. Music Survey.” In 1992, he co-founded Media Action Network for Asian American (MANAA). The all-volunteer, non-profit organization is the only group solely dedicated to monitoring the mass media and advocating balanced, sensitive, and positive depiction and coverage of Asian Americans. During Aoki’s presidency, MANAA received awards from The L.A. Mayor’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Committee, Asian Pacific American Women’s Network, and Chinese American Civil Rights Organization.
Since 1999, Aoki, along with organizations like the NAACP, has been involved in meetings with the top four television networks to add more people of color to their writing, producing, directing, and acting ranks. And in 2001, Aoki confronted comedian Sarah Silverman on “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher” after she used a racial slur against Chinese people on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”
Founded in 1973 as Organization of Chinese Americans, OCA is a national organization dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States. OCA aims to embrace the hopes and aspirations of nearly 12 million Asian Pacific Americans in the United States.
Dedicating to monitoring the media and advocating balanced, sensitive, and positive coverage and portrayals of Asian Americans.