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The Los Angeles Asian Film Festival Celebrates “Normalcy” in the Media

Los Angeles – “Diversity” is a word that the Hollywood industry has been tossing around this year 2015 on all fronts – film; television; and content creation. However some have gone as far as questioning if its a trend? Or are audiences, actors, directors, producers, and the whole television and film industry ready for a revolution? Is Hollywood ready to transform the portrayal of “minorities” and give these actors multidimensional roles and a voice that represents the landscape of what American cinema should be- a representation of the many cultural communities that make up the U.S. population with out prejudice, but rather as the average American family?

The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) not only talks about “diversity” but lives it every day with artists, creatives and industry execs in front of and behind the camera. In the past, Hollywood had constantly stated that there were no Asian American filmmakers, actors, writers, editors and others to employ.

At this year’s Festival, the LAAPFF presented by Visual Communications (VC) brought together an unprecedented two-day conference during the festival celebrating diversity – or rather normalcy – with four of the industry guilds including the Directors Guild of America (DGA), Writers Guild of America (WGA), Motion Picture Editors Guild (MPEG), and the Screen Actors Guild – America Federation of Television and Radio Association (SAG – AFTRA).

The panel gathered in a packed room with audience members in not only trying to decipher the word diversity but also breaking through industry stereotyped roles. The panel was moderated by Parvesh Cheena (actor: A TO Z, SEAN SAVES THE WORLD) and included panelists Usman Ally (actor: MADAM SECRETARY), Joy Osmanski (actor: MULANEY, SAVE ME, GREY’S ANATOMY), IMG_1827Randall Park (actor: FRESH OFF THE BOAT, THE INTERVIEW), Lucille Soong (actor: FRESH OFF THE BOAT, FREAKY FRIDAY), and Leslie Woo (casting director/department: SILICON VALLEY, TOGETHERNESS, SCOUNDRELS, SHANGHAI CALLING) who shared their journey and expertise with aspiring film students and actors.

The panel shared some horror stories they faced with in castings and the challenges in their professions that made them cringe, such as racism, discrimination and how they determine wether a role is right for them as well as what keeps them going in pursuing acting as a career.

“Always act. Always be an actor,” said Randall Park who just finished his first season with ABC’s new comedy “Fresh off the Boat” alongside Lucille Soong.

While Joy Osmanski encourages actors to live outside the realm of the acting world saying,

“[I want] to make the rest of my life as rich and fulfilling as I can.”

Osmanski is currently working on the play “Untethered” that is set to open Friday, May 8th 2015 at the Mountain View Mausoleum.

The festival will run thru April 30th showcasing independent and short films. For more information you can visit their website www.asianfilmfestla.org.

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Silvia Pereida

Silvia Pereida is a Cal State Fullerton graduate with a Bachelors degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Latin American Studies. She enjoys traveling including trips to Mexico, Colombia and South Korea. She currently contributing to M.U.S.E. a multimedia digital magazine as Executive Producer, Writer, On-camera talent, Reporter, Field Producer, Assignment Editor, Graphics, plus more.

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