2019 LA Asian Pacific Film Festival Awards Jury Announced!

April 24, 2019

We are delighted to announce members of our Awards Jury, composed of distinguished members from the film and creative industries. The 2019 LA Asian Pacific Film Festival Awards Winners will be announced after the Awards Ceremony on Friday May 10th, 2019.


Dan Truong
Dan Truong currently heads Independent Film Strategy at Prime Video Direct. He is a veteran of studio finance and business development, previously holding positions at The Orchard as head of Strategy for the Film & TV division and at Focus Features where he sourced partnerships within the digital distribution and marketing space and helped launch the studio’s digital-first distribution initiative Focus World. Dan received his MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Jacqueline Lyanga
As the Guest Director of Film Independent’s inaugural VR and Immersive Storytelling Showcase in 2018, Jacqueline Lyanga launched Film Independent’s foray into the immersive content space. Ms. Lyanga was the Director of AFI FEST presented by Audi, the American Film Institute’s (AFI) annual international film festival in Los Angeles for eight years, from 2010 to 2018. She has been a panelist and moderator of industry panels at the Berlinale, the Cannes Film Festival, the Forbes Women’s Summit and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and has reviewed grants for the National Endowment for the Arts. She has served on international film festival juries at festivals such as the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the JIO MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). In 2014 she was featured on Essence Magazine’s list of the 75 most powerful black women in Hollywood, and in Variety’s Women’s Impact Report as one of the female entertainment industry leaders in Hollywood deemed a game-changer and innovator.

Quan Phung
Quan Phung is a television executive and producer with more than 20 years of experience in the US and global television business. He currently serves as a Strategic Adviser for STXtelevision, a division of STX Entertainment, where he is developing projects with global Asian talent such as Kevin Kwan, Jackie Chan and Daniel Wu. He is also developing his own projects through his production company, among them an adaptation the YA novel THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO which has been set up at Amazon Studios. He was President, Scripted Television at Slingshot Global Media, a start-up independent television studio, where he oversaw the development and production of premium global drama content. At Slingshot, he executive produced MISSION CONTROL, a pilot for CBS and set up drama projects at HBO, Cinemax, Hulu, and USA with established talent and producers such as Keanu Reeves, Simon Kinberg, and Michael DeLuca. Prior to this, he spent five years as President, Bluegrass Television, where he executive produced WHITNEY, a comedy series created by Whitney Cummings that aired for two seasons on NBC.

William Yu
William Yu is a digital strategist, screenwriter, and speaker. Yu created #StarringJohnCho, a Shorty Award-winning project that used Photoshop to insert actor John Cho into hit Hollywood films in order to spark a global conversation about Asian American representation in media. Yu’s sequel project, #SeeAsAmStar, which used artificial intelligence to reimagine video clips from film with Asian leads, also garnered significant attention. His original screenplay, LOVE YOU, CHARLIE, a high school thriller, recently won the screenplay competition at the 41st New York Asian American International Film Festival. As a Senior Strategist at Giant Spoon, Adweek’s 2018 Breakthrough Advertising Agency of the Year, Yu helps clients build meaningful connections with their audiences and creates ideas that make impactful dents on culture. His work has been featured on major media outlets such as The New York Times, GQ, BBC, and CNN, among others. He is based in Downtown Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter at @its_willyu.



Christina Chang
Christina Chang has had many notable roles on hit series throughout her career. She currently stars in last fall’s No.1 new drama series THE GOOD DOCTOR, created by David Shore. Chang was a recurring character in the first season and was promoted to a series regular for Season 2. She stars as Dr. Audrey Lim, who has emerged as a formidable counterpart to Dr. Neil Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez), with the duo often splitting up the growing group of residents between them. The highly anticipated show will return to ABC this fall for a second season.

Claire Aguilar
Claire Aguilar is Director of Programming and Policy at International Documentary Association (IDA). At IDA she oversees IDA’s professional development, education, mentorship and training initiatives. She serves as the primary programmer for IDA’s biennial “Getting Real” conference which is next scheduled for September 2020. She sets strategy around IDA’s policy and advocacy work supporting filmmakers around a range of issues. Claire is the former Director of Programming and Industry Engagement at Sheffield Doc/Fest, one of the leading festivals for documentary and digital media. Claire curated and directed the film programme for Doc/Fest 2015 and 2016, programming over 350 films and working with over 200 filmmakers and media creators. At the Independent Television Service (ITVS), she served as Vice President of Programming and Executive Content Advisor, working on program content and strategy for the organization, including commissioning programming from international and U.S. independent producers. She co-curated the Emmy and Peabody awarded series Independent Lens, a prominent showcase of independently produced programs on PBS. A second-generation Filipina American, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies and a Master of Arts in Film and Television Studies from UCLA. She is Vice President of the Board of Women Make Movies, and serves on the board of Firelight Media and on the Advisory Board of the Why Foundation.

Ianeta Le’i
Ianeta Le’i joined Sundance Institute in 2019 as Senior Manager of the Indigenous Program. Under Director, Bird Runningwater, she helps to identify and support emerging Indigenous filmmakers and their stories from across the U.S., and globally. Ianeta also manages the implementation of Program labs, fellowships, and screenings, and is a pre-screener for POV. Before Sundance Institute, Le’i worked at Pacific Islanders in Communications, in Honolulu, Hawai’i, managing film projects and non-fiction content intended for public television.



Mike Kaspar
Mike Kaspar is the host and producer of the radio program and podcast Film School Radio. Over the last 12 years the program has become an important platform more than 1,200 filmmakers representing the best in the world of independent, foreign and documentary film. For 15 years Kaspar worked as a political consultant, campaign manager and communication director.

Set Hernandez Rongkilyo
Set Hernandez Rongkilyo is an undocumented immigrant filmmaker and community organizer whose roots come from Bicol, Philippines. They have organized around migrant justice issues, and their short films have been featured in film festivals across the U.S. Set is the Impact Videos Producer at the California Immigrant Policy Center, and has served as Impact Producer for CALL HER GANDA (2018). They are the recipient of the 2018 Firelight Impact Producer Fellowship, 2017 Soros Justice Fellowship, among others.

Sudeep Sharma
Sudeep Sharma is a film programmer and media scholar. He is a Senior Programmer at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles and Palm Springs International ShortFest. He is also a Shorts Programmer at Sundance and an Associate Programmer for features at Tribeca. He has also held programming positions at AFI Fest, Los Angeles Film Festival, the Indian Kaleidoscope Film Festival and was Director of Programming for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. He completed his Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies at UCLA and has taught at universities throughout Southern California.



Ben-Alex Dupris
Ben-Alex is an enrolled member of the Colville Confederated Tribes in Washington State, where he grew up. He is a current Artist-in-Residence at Concordia Studio, headed by Davis Guggenheim. He is also a current Impact Producer Fellow for Firelight Media in the creative house of Stanley Nelson, and Marcia Smith. Over the years he has worked in commercial entertainment, tribal language preservation, and most recently by documenting the front lines of the Standing Rock Occupation for five months. His directorial debut, SWEETHEART DANCERS premiered at Big Sky Film Festival 2019. He also produced PAULETTE, which follows Gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan by director Heather Rae for The Guardian films, and Sundance Institute. He is formerly a 2017 Sundance Institute “Rauschenburg” Producer’s Fellow, and a 2016 Redford Center Grantee.

Marty Syjuco
Originally from the Philippines, Marty is two-time Emmy‐nominated filmmaker whose first film GIVE UP TOMORROW premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival where it won the Audience Award and Special Jury Prize. The film went on to win 18 awards (including 2 awards from LAAPFF 2012) and has been seen by over 50 million viewers worldwide. His second feature, ALMOST SUNRISE won multiple awards including a CINE Golden Eagle Award, played theatrically at the IFC Center in NYC, and was nationally broadcast on PBS/POV for Veterans Day. His current film, CALL HER GANDA (directed by PJ Raval) is currently playing at festivals and community screenings around the globe while continuing to receive recognition, including the Grand Jury Prize at last year’s LAAPFF, a nomination for a GLAAD Media Award, and a PBS broadcast on POV’s 32nd season this summer. Marty is a proud Sundance, Tribeca, ITVS, Bertha, IFP, Fledgling Fund, Wyncote and Good Pitch fellow, and was recently invited to join the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Marya Bangee
Marya Bangee is the Executive Director of Harness, an organization that works to center the stories of underrepresented communities in Hollywood. Harness works with networks and studios like NBCUniversal and Netflix, as well as individual artists like Katy Perry, to amplify the work of social movement leaders from marginalized communities to create culture shift that supports positive social change. She started her journey as a community organizer in the Muslim-American community, where she represented her community in national media like the New York Times and NPR. Her career took her from organizing with low-income communities in Los Angeles to serving as a Project Director at UCLA where she worked to increase access to higher education with urban youth, to working in philanthropy at the California Community Foundation. She graduated as a Dean’s Merit Scholar for the University of Southern California with her Masters in Public Administration in 2015.

Stephanie Matsuba
Stephanie Matsuba is a Haitian-Japanese tech entrepreneur and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. She has contributed to the production of a slate of documentary films and immersive projects through her work at Verizon owned media company RYOT and most recently worked on the Oscar nominated documentary short LIFEBOAT. In 2018, she aided in the production of a virtual reality project honoring the legacy of Nelson Mandela which will be activated at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa next year. As an artist, she has written and acted in projects with fellow USC graduates and is currently a contributing writing for EARHART, a platform celebrating femme, trans, & gnc artists.



Fawzia Mirza
Fawzia Mirza is an actor, writer, creator, who believes in the power of comedy to tackle divisive topics and breakdown stereotypes. She was named one of ’10 Filmmakers to Watch’ (Independent Magazine), a White House ‘Champion of Change’ (Asian American Art & Storytelling), a 3Arts Grant Recipient, a ‘Top 10 Creative’ (Indiewire), and a Djerassi Program Writing Resident. She’s made award-winning short films, web series and documentaries, receiving SFFILM Society’s Rainin Fellowship with co-writer Terrie Samundra to adapt her play Me, My Mom & Sharmila. Her first feature,Signature Move, which she co-wrote, produced, stars in (starring Indian film legend Shabana Azmi), world premiered at SXSW, screened 150+ film festivals, won 14 awards (Outfest Grand Jury Prize, Best US Narrative), streams on Amazon. She wrote for the new CBS drama series THE RED LINE, executive produced by Greg Berlanti and Ava Duvernay, airing April 28th on CBS.

Hussain Currimbhoy
Hussain Currimbhoy joined the Sundance programming team in 2014, specializing in documentary feature films. He was previously the Director of Programming for the Sheffield Doc/Fest in the UK and has worked in international fiction and documentary programming for some of Australia’s most highly-regarded film events, including the Adelaide and Melbourne film festivals. Upon graduation from the Victorian College of Art in 2002, Hussain founded a touring short film festival and began curating film programs for the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. He has a B.A. in film from Curtin University and has written and directed 8 short films, many of which have played at film festivals around the world. Born in Canada, he has spent time living and working in Australia, Japan, The Netherlands, and the UK.

Joe Seo
Raised in Koreatown in Los Angeles, Joe has delved into the art of acting since grade school. He has worked in film & tv in Korea, Japan, and China. SPA NIGHT is the first feature he has done since his time back in the States. Through it, he has won the grand jury prize for outstanding performance at Sundance and Best performance prize at Outfest. More recently, he’s playing Kyler in YouTubeRED’s Cobra Kai.

Justin Tipping
Justin Tipping is a writer/director from El Cerrito, CA. Most recently Tipping has directed episodes of television for Showtime’s BLACK MONDAY, THE CHI, and Netflix’s DEAR WHITE PEOPLE. He also directed the Pilot for Lena Waithe’s upcoming half hour comedy, TWENTIES. His critically acclaimed feature film debut, KICKS, was theatrically released by Focus Features and Universal International. He is currently in development to write and direct an untitled project with Macro (Sorry to Bother You, Mudbound) for Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali, and the Valiant Comic HARBINGER with Original Film (The Fast and the Furious franchise, 21 Jump Street). As a writer he’s written for Showtime, Gaumont Television, FX, Universal, TriStar, Sony, and Columbia Pictures. Tipping also produced the film LOWRIDERS for Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, and Imagine Entertainment. He holds an MFA in Directing from the American Film Institute Conservatory where his thesis film, NANI, won the 2012 Student Academy Award, DGA Best Asian American Student Filmmaker award, and the LAAPFF Golden Reel Award.

Marritte Go
Maritte Go is a Filipino-American filmmaker who graduated from University of Southern California with a Masters in Film and TV Production. She is a Film Independent Project Involve Directing Fellow and directed the short film FRACTURED, which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and won the Barbara Boyle Excellence in Filmmaking award. Maritte is also an HBO Visionary award winner; her short film REMITTANCE is currently playing on HBO. She recently finished shooting her feature directorial debut called RISE. The dramatic thriller is inspired by the real-life conflict between the Nigerian people and the Boko Haram insurgency, the jihadist rebel organization responsible for kidnapping hundreds of girls and women and enslaving them in the sex trade. Before that, she wrapped directing Phobias, an anthology horror feature for Defiant Studios and Radio Silence. For her next project, she is set to direct a horror/thriller called OMEGA produced by Dark Castle and Divide/Conquer.

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