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The first-ever Asia Pacific Actors’ Network got under way Friday with launch of a $280,000 fund to help young filmmakers, and a conference focused on development of the talent sector.

Conference was attended by talent agents including Endeavor’s Daisy Wu and Echelon Talent management’s Andrew Ooi, casting director Annie McCarthy of Engine and stars that included Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park, Fann Wong, Jason Scott Lee and Masaya Kato.

Good news for Asian actors came from Ooi, who said, “Hollywood is looking to cast more Asian actors in Hollywood movies.” But the managers were resolute in saying that breaking into Hollywood requires English-language skills and a willingness to compete for roles through auditions and casting calls. That requires a commitment to spending time in the U.S.

Park said that she had succeeded in avoided being cast in stereotypical roles for ethnic Asians by knowing what she wanted to do. “I had to really hold out to do this,” she said.

PoPing AuYeung, who specializes in casting Asian talent, said that it is incredibly difficult to identify who represents Asian actors and to penetrate layers of protective minders and assistants. “It can take weeks,” she said. “By that time roles may have gone.”