In what ways do you believe filmmakers can authentically depict Asian culture and heritage on screen while avoiding stereotypes? ​

I believe that an important area to focus on to avoid stereotyping while authentically depicting Asian culture and heritage in film is to dive into the relationships between the characters as a main pillar of importance during the storytelling. By focusing on the characters’ relationships with each other, we can showcase the uniqueness of each Asian culture in a way that everyone can relate to and at the same time learn from.

Are there any recent films or filmmakers that you believe are pushing boundaries and making significant contributions to the representation of Asians in cinema?

Recently, I really enjoyed watching “BEEF” and, of course, “Everything Everywhere All At Once”. I felt like these stories pushed the boundaries of film not only in a very creative way but also in a way that audience members could find something very relatable about the story that was being told. I truly believe that so many of the AAPI storytellers here in our local community are doing the same and I can’t wait to watch their stories being told on the big and small screens soon!’

Megan Hui

What films influenced you to get into the industry?

‘Growing up watching Chinese Kung Fu movies and action comedies like “Surf Ninjas” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” definitely sparked my interest in joining the film industry. They just looked so fun to be a part of!

How has the representation of Asian culture and heritage evolved in mainstream cinema over the years?

As the years have gone by, I feel like the representation of Asian culture and heritage in film has evolved to showcase the stories of generations of children and what life has been like for them after their parents immigrated to other countries.

What are some notable trends or shifts you've observed in the portrayal of Asian characters in film?

I’ve noticed an effort to depict the beautiful diversity among all the different Asian cultures, which has helped to reduce the ignorance that we are all the same.

In what ways do you believe filmmakers can authentically depict Asian culture and heritage on screen while avoiding stereotypes?

They can include the entire diaspora of Asian. The umbrella is so wide and filmmakers can make the choice to include all of us in their depictions. Wether that be south asians, mixed race asians etc. there are so many different cultures to pull from within Asia that have incredible stories to tell. 

Are there any recent films or filmmakers that you believe are pushing boundaries and making significant contributions to the representation of Asians in cinema?

Allegiance, Warrior and Everything Everywhere All at Once. 

Maya Macatumpag

What films influenced you to get into the industry?

The Matrix Revolution, Rush Hour 2 and Unleashed. 

How has the representation of Asian culture and heritage evolved in mainstream cinema over the years?

I think it has evolved in the sense that we don’t have as many token Asian depictions. The roles and storylines that are being curated have depth and explore the variety of real human experience that Asian live, rather than the typical stereotypes and tropes. 

What are some notable trends or shifts you've observed in the portrayal of Asian characters in film?

We have layers! Asian characters aren’t just one note.  

Derick Vizcarra

What films influenced you to get into the industry?

It was actually a Video Game that influenced me the most to get into the industry. It was called “Stuntman” playable on Playstation 2. I would spend hours on end trying to get a perfect score hitting marks and accomplishing car stunts, I was hooked and hoped that someday I would become a Stuntman. Definitely a dream that I still can’t believe to this day has become reality.

In terms of Film: Many of Jackie Chan’s films have driven me towards my passion for On-Screen Film Fighting as a Stunt Performer.

How has the representation of Asian culture and heritage evolved in mainstream cinema over the years?

I believe representation has somewhat shifted from poking fun at the stereotypes of the older Asian generations to the representation of the new 2nd generations of asians(Millennials/GenZ) growing up in an Asian household in North America.

What are some notable trends or shifts you've observed in the portrayal of Asian characters in film?

Probably the dismissal of the “FOB” accent as more and more of the younger 2nd generations of Asian actors and performers have taken to the screen.

In what ways do you believe filmmakers can authentically depict Asian culture and heritage on screen while avoiding stereotypes?

I believe consultation and authentic research goes a long way; oversimplified and caricatured representations are easy to lean on but can be avoided if filmmakers are willing to put in the work. Additionally, focusing on an individual characters’ experiences while avoiding generalizations would create authentic portrayals.

Are there any recent films or filmmakers that you believe are pushing boundaries and making significant contributions to the representation of Asians in cinema?

Film/Shows: Everything Everywhere all at Once, Shang Chi, The Brothers Sun, Kims Convenience, Crazy Rich Asians, Avatar the Last Airbender(2024)

Filmmakers: Destin Daniel Cretton, Adele Lim

Viva Lee

Momona Tamada

How has the representation of Asian culture and heritage evolved in mainstream cinema over the years?

Growing up in a generation that has seen such large shifts in the world of film and representation has been incredibly eye-opening. When I consider it, I realize that the majority of the mainstream cinema I consumed as a child lacked authentic representation. The only times I saw myself on screen was through shows that came directly from Asian countries outside of the Western film industry. I understand now why I always favoured Japanese television as a child – because I could see myself as a character within them. I’ve now become aware of how representation surrounds us and inspires us. It has such an impact on shaping our growth and ability to believe in ourselves -especially in the younger generation. It brings me joy to hear the gratitude viewers feel in seeing themselves more accurately represented in films today.

What films influenced you to get into the industry?

To be completely honest, I never thought I’d become an actress, so I can’t recall an exact film or catalyst that caused me to want to be a part of this industry. With that being said, it was through the inspiration I felt in those around me, especially other Asian individuals who were carving their paths, that I found mine. I have those to thank for helping me discover my own journey and for allowing me to continue sharing the inspiration they sparked in me.

What are some notable trends or shifts you've observed in the portrayal of Asian characters in film?

One of the first things I observed growing up about Asian characters in film was the lack of characters with leading voices. Anytime I’d see even the slightest bit of representation, it was likely through the role of a sidekick best friend, or as a presence that worked to highlight others. I always wondered about them, what their own stories and experiences were like as someone who had grown up with an Asian heritage. I wanted to feel like I could relate to some of the things that made our culture so special and different from what I was constantly forced to see. Over the past few years. It feels as though we are finally making shifts in a new direction, where we can recognize the beauty and diversity in highlighting all experiences. We all have unique and vibrant perspectives that deserve to be shared with the world around us.

In what ways do you believe filmmakers can authentically depict Asian culture and heritage on screen while avoiding stereotypes?

The film industry, now, more than ever, has been taking strides in crafting media that amplifies what truth looks like on screen. For us Asian artists who have been fighting for our voices, now is the time to feel empowered and share what is most authentic to us and our experience. To those who feel passionate about supporting and sharing our voices, taking the time to listen to our stories and putting in the effort to showcase what that looks like is what we need. It’s an opportunity for us to include those with real experiences from all sides of the industry, whether that be in front, or behind the camera. I believe that through collaboration and understanding of those around us, we can continue to celebrate each other and create so much more truth in this industry.

Are there any recent films or filmmakers that you believe are pushing boundaries and making significant contributions to the representation of Asians in cinema?

It has been so refreshing to see the work of many Asian filmmakers being recognized and honoured in the ways they deserve to be. Some artists I look up to who are changing the industry are Celine Song, Michelle Yeoh, Adele Lim, Jon M. Chu, Hayao Miyazaki, Bong Joon Ho, and the list goes on and on. I applaud all who are working to share their stories with the world and are changing the industry as they go. Whether they have made award-winning films or are simply living authentically and encouraging those around them, their passions have the power to inspire so many. When one of us succeeds, we all succeed. We will continue to support and lift each other up as we move into new avenues in the future. Thousands of voices are yet to be discovered. One by one we will keep paving the paths we wish to see in this industry.