Special Events

Asian Americans in Hollywood: Breaking Through with Lasting Impact in the Industry

Special Events
07 Mar, 2022

Asian Americans in Hollywood: Breaking Through with Lasting Impact in the Industry


Daniel Wu
Actor, Into the Badlands

Melvin Mar
Producer, Fresh Off The Boat

Moderated by Jason Lin, Producer at Story Arch Pictures, and Gail De Kosnik, Director, The Berkeley Center for New Media

Co-sponsored by Asian American & Asian Diaspora Studies and Eastwind Books of Berkeley.

The first in a two part series on Asian Americans and AAPI in the media and entertainment industry. The event will be free of charge and open to the public, but will encourage attendees to make donations to the new Scholarship for AAPI and Media & Entertainment Creatives.

Register for Zoom link here!

Video and Transcript Now Online

Click here to watch the recorded lecture.

Click here to view the transcript.

2021 was a harrowing year in anti-Asian violence, drawing attention to the ways that Asians and Asian Americans are offered such limited space within Hollywood, and the connection between racist historic exclusion and its consequences for America’s wider cultural imaginary. Coinciding with the launch of a scholarship for AAPI creatives, BCNM announces “Asian Americans in Hollywood” an evening event with internationally acclaimed actor and Berkeley native Daniel Wu (Into the Badlands, Tomb Raider) and Fresh off the Boat and Jumanji Producer Melvin Mar, about their experiences breaking into the industry and forging their own space within it.

Daniel and Melvin will discuss shifts they have seen in the industry since they first got their starts; Daniel as an American-born young actor who left the country in search of better roles to become a breakout star in the Hong Kong film industry; and Melvin as a coffee-grabbing intern at Fox Studios while juggling his parents’ disapproval and desire for him to go to medical school. The two will discuss their shared vision for AAPI creatives – no matter their educational background or major – to play key roles in shaping media & entertainment, create more nuanced and layered roles for AAPI talent and how to champion more inclusive storytelling woven with perspectives from the Asian diaspora.

About Jason Lin

Jason Lin is a film producer and creative entrepreneur with representative films and producer credits including: A Dog’s Journey, Green Book, A Dog's Purpose, Peppa Celebrates Chinese New Year, The Forbidden Kingdom, Ocean Heaven, and Jet Li’s Fearless. He has worked at companies including Alibaba Pictures, Jet Li Production Studio, The Walt Disney Company, UTA, and Morgan Stanley. He created a premium apparel line called Wuji with Jet Li and Adidas that launched in China in 2009 infusing Adidas apparel with martial arts culture. Wuji is now available in 10 countries in Asia.

Jason started Story Arch Pictures in 2019 to develop and produce mainstream, cross-cultural, and socially-relevant film and TV series aimed at a global audience inclusive of perspectives from the Asian diaspora. Projects are focused on the action genre and also include great stories across all film genres. Currently he is working with Jet Li on a travel documentary series exploring how cultures around the world discuss mind and body as well as building a business vertical around global martial arts culture.

About Melvin Mar

Melvin Mar began his career at Dreamworks SKG, Scott Rudin Productions, where he built a solid relationship with Orange County director Jake Kasdan. They have since worked together on the films The TV Set, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Bad Teacher, Sex Tape, Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle, Jumanji: The Next Level, the indie feature Lucky Grandma, the upcoming Disney+ movie Prom Pact, and the hit television comedy New Girl. Besides serving as executive producer on American Born Chinese to be released on Disney+ later this year, Mar served as an executive producer on Doogie Kamealoha, MD, Fresh Off the Boat, Bless This Mess, Weird Loners, The Grinder and Speechless.

Mar and Kasdan have an overall deal at Walt Disney Television, where they are developing comedies and dramas for cable, streaming and network television. He is based in Los Angeles and New York.

About Daniel Wu

Daniel Wu is an American actor, director, producer, race car driver, and most recently community activist. After graduating from the University of Oregon in 1997 with a degree in architecture, Wu went to Hong Kong on what was meant to be a short graduation trip. He was soon discovered by art house film director Yonfan and was asked to play the lead role in his first film, “Bishonen”. Wu quickly rose to stardom and has made over 60 films in 20 years while playing a wide range of roles ranging from historical figures to action heroes in “Man with the Iron Fists” (2012), “Tom Raider” (2018), “Warcraft” (2016) and “Caught in Time” (2020) to name a few. In 2016, Daniel moved back to the States to Executive produce and star in the AMC action series “ Into the Badlands ”. Wu was most recently seen in Lisa Joy’s feature directorial debut, romantic sci-fi noir thriller “Reminiscence” (2021) and will be playing Sun Wu Kong in American Born Chinese to be released on Disney+ later this year.


The event is free and open to the public and will take place virtually over Zoom with a simultaneous livestream on BCNM’s YouTube Channel. All of our broadcasts will be live-captioned, and our Zoom Webinar experience offers an additional Streamtext window with options to customize caption text size and display. Please contact info.bcnm [at] with requests or questions.

With the consent of featured speakers, all recorded videos will be available on the BCNM YouTube channel immediately after the event and event transcripts will be posted to this page one month after the event. We strive to meet any additional access and accommodation needs.

BCNM is proud to make conversations with leading scholars, artists, and technologists freely available to the public. Please help us continue this tradition by making a tax-deductible donation today. If you are in the position to support the program, we suggest $5 per event, or $100 a year.

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