Crossover film and music superstars, Wang Leehom and Jung Ji-hoon (aka “Rain,” aka “The Rain”) are to be honored by the Asia Society next month in Los Angeles. Bob Weis, president of Walt Disney Imagineering and Zhang Wei, president of Alibaba Pictures, will also receive prizes.
The inaugural Game Changer Awards will be presented on Nov. 5 at a gala dinner to follow the U.S.–Asia Entertainment Summit. The summit is in its tenth year. And, where previous editions had concentrated on U.S.-China relations, the event this time has been given a broader focus examining the wider connections between the U.S. and Asia entertainment businesses.
“Lost” star, Daniel Dae Kim, who has broadened his operations from acting to directing and producing through his 3AD Media company, will be a highlight of the conference section. He will be quizzed by “Late Night” director Nisha Ganatra on The New Hollywood: Have the Asians Arrived?
Other confirmed spotlight speakers at the Entertainment Summit include: Steven Xiang, CEO of Chinese production and streaming firm Huanxi Media; Douglas Montgomery, VP of retail insights at Warner Bros.; Francis Chung, VP of global co-productions at Korea’s CJ Entertainment; and Kevin Lin, co-founder of live-streaming mecca Twitch.
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“This conference comes at a pivotal time when the entertainment and media industries are in the throes of unprecedented disruption as consumers embrace streaming and other new technologies,” said the Asia Society.
Chinese-American musician, producer and director, Wang has screen credits that include Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution,” Jackie Chan’s “Little Big Soldier,” and Michael Mann’s “Blackhat.” Rain, who was one of the first K-pop stars to achieve major international success, made his Hollywood debut in “Speed Racer” and starred in “Ninja Assassin” and in Park Chan-wook’s “I Am a Cyborg, But That’s OK.”
Weis oversaw development of Shanghai Disney Resort, and was part of the team that built Tokyo Disney Resort in 1983. As president of Alibaba Pictures, Los Angeles-based, Zhang oversees film investment and production for China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba.
“This year, I am particularly excited to broaden the scope of the summit to celebrate pan-Asian artists across many fields,” said Janet Yang, summit chair. “We are able to honor both the King of Chinese Pop, Wang Leehom, as well as the King of K-Pop, The Rain. They represent the spectacular rise of Asian talent on the world stage.”
“With the rapid evolution of digital technologies, the summit began to look at wider collaboration in U.S.-China entertainment. Further expansion this year reflects the growing impact of entertainment from Korea, India, and Japan, among others, throughout Asia and in the U.S.” the Asia Society said. Variety, once again, joins the summit as a media partner.