Japan’s leading director, Akira Kurosawa, will fly to Hollywood to receive the lifetime achievement award of the Assn. of Asian/Pacific American Artists March 18.
He will be honored along with other winners of “Jimmies,” awards named for the late Academy Award-winning cinematographer James Wong Howe.
Two feature films are among this year’s AAPAA Media Award Winners: “Come See The Paradise,” 20th Century Fox’ Alan Parker feature about Japanese internment during World War II, and the Parakletos Prods./Penland Co. film “China Cry,” about the struggles in communist China of evangelist Nora Lam.
Television will be represented by two shows, David Lynch’s ABC series “Twin Peaks,” and the CBS telefilm “Forbidden Nights.”
“Twin Peaks” earned its Jimmie for casting Joan Chen in a role not originally intended for an Asian. Using her in a part not dictated by ethnicity is seen AAPAA as supporting “the premise that talented actors of any color can play almost any role if simply given the opportunity.”
A Jimmie will go to “Forbidden Nights” for its “positive and nonstereotypical” portrayals in the interracial love story between an Asian and a non-Asian. Tristine Rainer was executive producer of the Warner Bros. TV telefilm.
Jimmie for best documentary will go to “Slaying The Dragon,” produced by Deborah Gee for Cross Current Media/NAATA and aired on PBS. The docu’s award is for “the provocatively entertaining and informative exploration of the negative portrayal of Asian women in film and television.”
A special advocacy award will go to playwright David Henry Hwang and actor B.D. Wong “for courageously and unselfishly bringing the issue of discriminatory casting issues raised by the ‘Miss Saigon’ controversy to national attention through their own visibility and success in the established entertainment community.”
Also to be Jimmied is the Pan Asian Repertory Theater of New York, being cited for “courageous and unwavering leadership” in the “Miss Saigon” Broadway controversy. Pan Asian is credited with forcing a national debate on discriminatory casting practices.
Coca-Cola will get the corporate award for “unwavering” support of AAPAA and for its commitment to the Asian-American community in greater Los Angeles.
Tri-Star Pictures is corporate sponsor of the March 18 AAPAA media awards dinner. Company chairman Mike Medavoy is corporate dinner chairman. Producing the awards dinner are tv producer Wenda Fong, Tri-Star production v.p. Christopher Lee and Fritz Friedman, publicity v.p. of RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video. Columbia Pictures Entertainment, parent of Columbia and Tri-Star, is owned by Japanese giant Sony.