Please join us on Day 2 of the 2021 NYWIFT Summit: The Creative Industry Radically Reimagined to discuss Advocates for Change.
Welcome Keynote: Fireside Chat with Tina Tchen, President & CEO, Time’s Up
moderated by NYWIFT Board Member, Yvonne Russo
Tina Tchen serves as president and CEO of TIME’S UP Now and the TIME’S UP Foundation, overseeing the organizations’ strategic plans to change culture, companies, and laws in order to make work safe, fair, and dignified for women of all kinds. In 2017, Tina co-founded the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund with Robbie Kaplan, Fatima Goss Graves, and Hilary Rosen; since then, the Fund has connected thousands of people to legal or public relations support for sexual harassment across dozens of different industries. A former assistant to President Obama, executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, and chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, Tina has worked to advance gender equality, particularly for working women. At the White House, Tina spearheaded the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families and helped form the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. Prior to taking the helm at TIME’S UP, Tina was a lawyer specializing in workplace culture, advising companies on gender inequity, sexual harassment, and diversity. She has served on numerous strategic advisory boards for organizations, businesses, and nonprofits, including the United State of Women, which she continues to co-chair. As an Asian American woman who juggled work as a single mother, Tina understands the importance of diversity in the workplace and leadership. Tina believes diversity manifests itself, especially right now, not only in the color of our skin — but in our situation at home and more.
Yvonne Russo (moderator) is an award-winning producer, director and writer of film and television specializing in inspirational Indigenous and cross-cultural stories. As an independent producer, Russo has worked on a diverse range of productions in over 16 countries from Rajasthan, India, to the East African Nation of Rwanda. Recent credits include Woman Walks Ahead; the HBO mini-series Lewis and Clark; Viva Verdi!; and Rescuers: Heroes of the Holocaust. She’s a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and Co-Chair of the Producers Guild of America Diversity Committee. She is also a Sundance Institute Lab Fellow and Tribeca All Access Program Fellow, and is on the board of The Language Conservancy, which works to revitalize endangered languages. She’s a contributing author for The Huffington Post and Produced By Magazine. Yvonne Russo is a member of the Sicangu Lakota Tribal Nation.
Panel: Advocates for Change
Advocates for Change will highlight leaders advocating on the front lines to raise awareness about the representation of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the media, encouraging a nuanced and multi-dimensional approach to shatter stereotypes and celebrate the full breadth and depth of their community. These activist have opened many doors for discussion on what needs to change in the entertainment industry to ensure equity and safety.
Christina Chou is an Agent at leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in the Motion Picture Literary department. She works in the Los Angeles office and represents writers, directors, and actors such as Lee Isaac Chung, Wong Kar Wai, Cathy Yan, Arvin Chen, Wooshik Choi, Zoya Akhtar, Na Hong-Jin, Bao Nguyen, and Steven Yeun. Christina has a passion for international and underrepresented voices, and also works actively across agency departments and offices to support clients in the North American and global marketplace.
Christina began her career at the Economic and Trade Policy office at the Embassy of Canada. She then worked at boutique talent management company, Plan C Group, before joining CAA in 2011. Chou graduated from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a dual B.A. degree in Economics and Political Science.
Peilin Chou is an Academy Award-nominated Producer with an overall deal at Netflix Animation. Most recently, Peilin produced Over the Moon, an animated musical feature film directed by Glen Keane which premiered on Netflix in Fall 2020. Peilin also produced Abominable, an animated feature co-production with DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio directed by Jill Culton, which launched theatrically worldwide in Fall 2019.
Prior to joining Netflix, Peilin was the Chief Creative Officer of Pearl Studio (formerly Oriental DreamWorks). In her 5 year tenure at Pearl Studio, Peilin oversaw the overall mission and creative direction of the studio, including the development and production of all Pearl Studio films and projects, as well as the creative oversight of all marketing, PR, and consumer products at Pearl. In addition to her work in animated features, Peilin’s 20+ year career in content creation also encompasses numerous creative leadership roles in television and theater. In television, Peilin developed a robust slate of scripted and unscripted series (live-action and animation) in her roles as Director of Development at Nickelodeon, Vice-President of Original Series at Spike TV, and Senior Vice President of Programming and Production at AZN Television. In the realm of live theater, Peilin served as the Director of Development at Livent, Inc. as well as Artistic Associate of The Roundabout Theater, where she specialized in new musical development, and oversaw the company’s New Works Reading Series.
Christine Choy was trained as an architect, receiving her Master of Science degree from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University. Soon thereafter, Christine crossed the country to Los Angeles, studying at the American Film Institute where she earned a Directing Certificate. Christine has produced and directed more than eighty five films and received over sixty international awards. Among them are numerous fellowships such as the John Simon Guggenheim, the Rockefeller, and the Asian Cultural Council, as well as an Academy Award Nomination for the documentary film, Who Killed Vincent Chen?. Christine has an equally impressive history as an educator, teaching not only at NYU at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, this year once again as Chair of the former, but also at Yale, Cornell, and SUNY Buffalo. Christine is the founding director of Third World Newsreel and School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, a member of Project Vetting committee of the Film Development Fund, Hong Kong and an International Trustee Member of the Asia Society from 1995 to 2002.
Casper S. Wong (Moderator) is an award-winning New York-based filmmaker, technology lawyer, and social entrepreneur. Her documentary feature debut, The LuLu Sessions, has won 10 international awards and nominations in every major category, with a US broadcast on PBS’s World Channel as part of the America ReFramed Documentary Series. She received a Humanitarian Award from the SASS Foundation for Medical Research for her film’s social impact on the emotional complexities of breast cancer. She is the Creator of the Peace Pod Project, a multi-platform VR/AR/XR dedicated space for facilitating reconciliation between 2 people. She has directed and produced in China since 2005 and served as the studio executive for Roger Corman’s first co-production with China. She is currently in development on several sci-fi and animation projects.
Casper’s work has been screened and distributed internationally. She is a two-time winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Screenwriting Grants; a New York State Council on the Arts Grantee; Sloan Fellow at the Hampton’s International Film Festival Screenwriter’s Lab; a nominee for the Directors Guild of America’s Best Student Film; the winner of the Special Jury Award of the Golden Horse at the Taipei Film Festival.
Prior to receiving her MFA from NYU in directing, Casper was Senior Attorney for IBM General Counsel, and received a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University. She is the Founder of Asian American Women Media Makers, and is on the Board of Directors at New York Women in Film and Television, leading its Innovation Initiative.
Closing Keynote by Renee Tajima-Peña
Renee Tajima-Peña is Professor of Asian American Studies, Director of the Center for EthnoCommunications and holder of the Alumni and Friends of Japanese American Ancestry Endowed Chair. She is an Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker whose credits are Who Killed Vincent Chin?, My America…or Honk if You Love Buddha, Calavera Highway, Skate Manzanar, Labor Women, No Más Bebés and other films about themes of immigration, race, ethnicity, gender and social justice. Her films have screened at the Cannes Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, South By Southwest Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and the Whitney Biennial. Tajima-Peña is the series producer/showrunner of Asian Americans, an unprecedented 5-hour series on the Asian American experience that aired on PBS in May 2020. She also produces online media projects that explore the history of Japanese American incarceration and resistance. Tajima-Peña co-founded the Nikkei Democracy Project, a multi-generational multi-media collective that uses the power of the Japanese American imprisonment story to expose current threats to Constitutional rights.
NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.