I recently had the honor to sit on the panel with John Penotti at Silicon Dragon’s media event in LA. John is an American expat who lived in Asia for many years, and he totally gets it! This romantic comedy is full of heart, beautifully shot, and touching in so many ways. Not only is “Crazy Rich Asians” a great movie, but it is also the first studio movie since “Joy Luck Club” came out 25 years ago that features all Asian leads.
Jean Su was interviewed for the global series “Hollywood Meets China” – one of six Producers interviewed who are working in both countries and across borders.
Iris Yamashita is a screenwriter nominated for an Academy Award for the movie Letters From Iwo Jima, directed by Clint Eastwood. Letters from Iwo Jima received a Golden Globe award for “Best Foreign Language Film” and was nominated for 4 Oscars®. Iris is the only female of Asian descent ever to have been nominated in the “original screenplay” category. She has also optioned or been assigned to various screenplays, working with internationally acclaimed directors such as Wayne Wang, Shekhar Kapur and Hideo Nakata.
Ms. Yamashita has taught screenwriting at UCLA, USC, CalTech and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has also been a judge or mentor for programs sponsored by the Writers Guild of America, Film Independent, the Korean Film Council, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and the San Francisco International Asian Film Festival, and is a member of the advisory board for the Asian Culture & Media Alliance.
Currently, Iris is the writer and creative consultant on an originally conceived stage show, which is scheduled to debut at Tokyo Disneyland in the summer of 2016. She continues to work on projects for both film and television.
Neil Landau served as an assistant dean at UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television and co-director of UCLA’ Screenwriting MFA program and their Graduate Professional Program in Writing for Television for many years, and is the founding Director of Screenwriting in the new MFA Film & Television Program at the University of Georgia.
Neil’s screen credits include the cult teen comedy Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead; Melrose Place, The Magnificent Seven, Doogie Howser, M.D., The Secret World of Alex Mack, Twice in a Lifetime, MTV’s Undressed. His animated movie projects include Tad: The Lost Explorer (aka Las Adventuras de Tadeo Jones) for which he earned a Spanish Academy “Goya” Award and Cinema Writers’ Circle Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (2014); Tad2 (Tadeo Jones and the Secret of King Midas), from Paramount, premiered in August, 2017 (once again to record box office). Neil is working on the Tad #3 for a 2022 release by Paramount. He also co-wrote the animated feature Capture the Flag (also for Paramount); and the animated movie Sheep & Wolves, for Wizart Animation (The Snow Queen), 2017 release. He’s currently Head Writer and Co-Executive Producer on the new animated feature film Finnick for Riki Animation Studios, and serving as Co-EP and Executive Script Consultant on Mummies for 4 Cats Pictures and Warner Bros. Both are currently in production for 2022 release. Neil’s new projects include Strings (for Warner Bros.), the live action miniseries for Amediateka/HBO Europe entitled Patient Zero and a remake of Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead slated for remake in 2021.
Neil is author of five books, including the bestselling 101 Things I Learned in Film School (Grand Central Publishing, 2010, reissue by Random House/Crown in early 2021; and The TV Showrunner’s Roadmap (Focal Press, 2014; second edition to be published in 2021).
Neil served for several years as executive script consultant in the international divisions of Sony Pictures Television and Columbia Pictures. He gives lectures, keynotes, and hosts workshops around the world on the art and craft of screenwriting, including keynotes in Milan, Rome, Seoul, and Sochi. He’s lectured at USC School of Cinematic Arts, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, La Femis in Paris, Met Film School in London, University of the Andes in Santiago, Alexander Mitta Film School in Moscow, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Shanghai Film Art Academy, Starlight Media in Kiev, and Accademia Nazionale del Cinema in Bologna, Italy. He’s a member of the WGA west, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, PEN west, and is on the Board of Directors for OUTFEST.
Neil received a Master of Fine Arts, Screenwriting, from the University of Georgia, and Bachelor of Arts, Film/Television, from the University of California, Los Angeles.
The panel discussion was moderated by Janko Roettgers of Variety, with panelists William Pfeiffer, CEO of Dragongate Entertainment (an Asian-focused film and television production company backed by Lionsgate), and Aynne Kokas, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia and expert on the intersections between the U.S and China media and technology industries.