NYWIFT Talks: Asian American Representation in Media

Welcome to NYWIFT Talks, a weekly series to bring updated news and vital information about the impact of COVID-19 on the media and entertainment industry. Industry professionals will be in conversation discussing what you need to know about theatrical releases, digital advances, virtual tools, festival opportunities, production updates and more. 

NYWIFT Talks are free for all to attend.

On this week’s NYWIFT Talks, we explore the intersection of the pandemic with racial and gender equality, and its direct impact on the Asian American community. We will also discuss how media is complicit in perpetuating Asian stereotypes, including how some journalists portray hate crimes against the Asian American community. We are joined by filmmaker Diane Paragas (Yellow Rose), David Ninh (Kino Lorber), Kyung B. Yoon (Korean American Community Foundation) and Merrill Sterritt (Cinereach).

This conversation will be moderated by NYWIFT Board Member S. Casper Wong

Date: Wednesday, April 21, 2021 
Time: 4:00pm EST
Location: Zoom (Links can be found in confirmation email)
Cost to attend: Free




Diane Paragas is a Filipino-American documentary and narrative film director whose work is rooted in the stories of real people. Paragas began her career as a director in television working for MTV International, and she went on to produce the cultural series Living Asia for Discovery Channel. Her first documentary film Kabayan was released on PBS and explored the Filipino-American experience. She also produced for the Peabody Award- and Emmy Award-winning Egg the Arts Show, as well as programs for Bravo, BET, and CBS. Her most recent documentary Brooklyn Boheme, co-directed by Nelson George, celebrated the African-American art movement that launched the careers of Spike Lee, Chris Rock, and Rosie Perez, to name a few. The film won the Black Reel award for Best Television Documentary and premiered on Showtime. Paragas wrote and directed her debut narrative feature Yellow Rose, which stars Eva Noblezada and Lea Salonga and tells the story of a Filipino-American girl pursuing her country music dreams under threat of deportation. The film was selected as the Opening Night Film of the 2019 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, and won the NYWIFT Ravenal Foundation Feature Film Grant and the inaugural ABS-CBN Cinematografo Grant. Yellow Rose won Grand Jury Prizes at LAAPF, Bentonville Film Festival, CAAMFEST37, AAIFF, Urbanworld, PAAFF and Toronto Reel Asian where it also took the Audience Award. The film also won the Audience Award at Hawaii International Film Festival. Yellow Rose was picked up for worldwide distribution by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and was be released theatrically in 2020.

David Ninh is the Senior Director of Press and Publicity at independent art house film distributor Kino Lorber, overseeing theatrical outreach for foreign, independent, documentary, and classic films. Prior to Kino Lorber, he was the first arts & culture publicity hire at global creative crowdfunding platform Kickstarter as Senior Communications Specialist, where he partnered with hundreds of creators during the initial funding stages of successful film, arts and culture projects. He has also worked on the publicity teams at Film at Lincoln Center, New York Film Festival and PMK*BNC. A former Texan, he started his career as an entertainment and style reporter for The Dallas Morning News. He also currently works as an independent documentary producer with NY-based film production company Still Point Pictures. He lives in Brooklyn.

Kyung B. Yoon is president and co-founder of the Korean American Community Foundation (KACF), a leading funder of Korean and Asian American community organizations in the Greater New York City area, and a model of inclusive and participatory philanthropy in immigrant communities. Her previous experiences are in the fields of global development and media, as the Executive Producer of Television at the World Bank Institute, where she created and hosted an international documentary series focused on poverty issues and economic development which has been broadcast in more than 60 countries around the world. Prior to the World Bank, she was a correspondent for WNYW-Fox Channel 5 where she made history as the first Korean American broadcast reporter in New York City. Kyung is currently a contributing reporter to CUNY-TV’s ​Asian American Life,​ which is broadcast nationally on PBS stations and for which she received an Emmy nomination in 2015. Kyung currently serves as the Board Chair of Philanthropy New York and as a trustee of the New York Foundation. She is immediate past Board Chair of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) and a former Board member of United Way of New York City. Kyung holds a BA in English and political science from Wellesley College, and an MA in development economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

As the Head of Alliances and Cultural Engagement, Merrill Sterritt has expanded Cinereach’s impact by developing methods of support for regional and community-focused film organizations and collectives. Prior to joining Cinereach, Merrill co-founded Film Presence in 2010, where she lead theatrical outreach campaigns to connect films with crucial audiences from outside the arthouse bubble. Merrill has also worked in post-production and managed the Production Assistance Program at Women Make Movies. She is currently a part of DOC NYC’s Documentary New Leaders cohort.


S. Casper 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 NYWIFT, leading its Innovation Initiative.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 20: Protestors hold signs that read “hate is a virus” and “stop Asian hate” at the End The Violence Towards Asians rally in Washington Square Park on February 20, 2021 in New York City. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, violence towards Asian Americans has increased at a much higher rate than previous years. The New York City Police Department (NYPD) reported a 1,900% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

April 21 @ 4:00pm
4:00 pm — 5:00 pm (1h)

This program will take place virtually as a webinar via Zoom. Please register in advance, and all registrants will receive a link to attend the webinar the day of the event.

We encourage you to download Zoom in advance.

Free event.



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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 Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.