Our 2018 Judges will be announced soon!
2017 Judges & Coaches
Heading up our prestigious jury is Joan Chen, the celebrated actress/filmmaker (The Last Emperor, Twin Peaks, Marco Polo) and board member of the 1990 Institute.
- Joan Chen
Actress & Filmmaker; Chair, Youth Voices Jury
Acclaimed actress and film director Joan Chen is one of the international film industry’s most widely recognized and respected Asian stars. She began her film career at age 14 in Shanghai. Her performance in the films Qing Chun (Youth,lolo 1977) and Xiao Hua (Little Flower, 1980) catapulted her to fame in China, and garnered her the Best Actress Award. In 1981, Joan left China for the U.S. to study film at California State University, Northridge. In the U.S., she has appeared in over 40 film and television roles. Her most notable performances include the Oscar-winning film, The Last Emperor, David Lynch’s Twin Peaks TV series, Oliver Stone’s Heaven and Earth, and Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution.
In 1997, Joan made her directorial debut with the critically acclaimed Xiu Xiu:The Sent-down Girl, which received numerous international awards, including the International Freedom of Expression Award. In 2000, she directed MGM’s Autumn In New York starring Richard Gere and Winona Ryder and Shanghai Strangers in 2012. Currently, she plays Empress Chabi in in Netflix’s Marco Polo, a television drama series about Marco Polo’s early years in the court of Kublai Khan, which just completed its second season. Joan is a long-time resident of San Francisco with her husband, Dr. Peter Hui and their two daughters. Joan is a Director on the 1990 Institute Board.
- Tonia Chao Hsieh
Educator and Film Producer
Tonia Chao Hsieh has been an advocate for equity and social justice through education and media for nearly 30 years. She is the co-founder of KarMa Pictures, an independent film production company whose mission is to create stereotype-shattering films (The Debut, Restless and Americanese). Her passion for equity and social justice was ignited as a Business Consultant with ASIAN Inc., assisting women-owned and minority-owned businesses to secure contracts with various public agencies.
Her experience in education includes her role as Undergraduate Dean in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, and as the Facilities Planner and Facilities Manager at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. Tonia co-chaired the Board of Trustees for The College Preparatory School in Oakland, where she also served as Chair of the Governance and Trustees’ Diversity committees. She served on the Board of the Partners Program and is a founding board member of the Roses in Concrete Community School to open July 2015 in East Oakland. Tonia is a member of the 1990 Institute’s Board of Directors.
- Megs Booker
Theater directorMargaret (Megs) Booker has directed over 100 theatrical productions in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
She was the Founding Artistic Director of Tony Award-winning Intiman theatre in Seattle, where she produced three international theater festivals (Scandinavia, Germany, South America). In 1996, with the support of the Asian Cultural Council (an affiliate of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund), she directed an all-Chinese cast in a Chinese-language production of August Wilson’s Fences at the Beijing People’s Art Theatre. Dr. Booker spent four years with the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference developing and directing new work and has been the Artistic Director of the Asolo theatre (Florida) and the Hartman theatre (Connecticut). She received her B.A. from Stanford University, M.A. from the University of San Diego and Ph.D. from Stanford University.Dr. Booker has taught at Stanford, UC Santa Cruz. and American Conservatory Theatre. She is the author of Lillian Hellman and August Wilson: Dramatizing a New American Identity and a major contributor to the Cambridge University Press’ The Cambridge Companion to August Wilson.Currently, Ms. Booker is staging the musical fable A NIGHT AT THE ALHAMBRA CAFÉ, recently produced at Harlem Stage in New York and the Krannert Center in Champaign-Urbana, Ilinois for international touring. She led the 1990 Institute’s Beijing Jazz program at the China National Children’s Center and chaired The 1990 Institute’s Programs Committee. Additionally, she is a docent trainee for the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and embarking on a new career as Lead Floral Designer for her new company Floricity.
- Milton Chen
George Lucas Educational Foundation
As a leading figure in educational media for more than 25 years, Dr. Milton Chen is at the forefront of K-12 teaching and learning as it has been transformed in the Digital Age. An authority in education innovation, with interests ranging from project-based learning, social/emotional learning and technology strategies that enhance the educational process, Chen has made it his life’s work to improve practices and programs so that teachers, administrators, and students can achieve their full potential in an era of cutting-edge innovation and transformation.
As executive director of the George Lucas Educational Foundation (Edutopia), Chen was instrumental in making the Edutopia.org multimedia website the premier online community for K-12 teachers, administrators, parents, and students. With its emphasis on social learning, teacher development, and technology integration, Edutopia remains instrumental in advancing 21st-century learning skills and changing education for the better through its unique digital-savvy approach to innovation.Prior to his leadership role at Edutopia, Chen was the director of research at the Children’s Television Workshop, where he worked on such childhood touchstones as Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and 3-2-1 Contact. He is also the author of the book Education Nation: Seven Leading Edges of Innovation in Our Schools, a new vision of learning that takes education from its traditional classroom into a bold new era of possibilities — digital and otherwise. He currently serves as the chair of the advisory council for the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at St. Vincent’s College in Pennsylvania.
- Alan Chu
SVP of Media, Smithsonian Institution
Alan Chu is currently Senior Vice President of the Media Group at the Smithsonian Institution. Alan has profit and loss responsibility for this division whose major properties include Smithsonian Magazine, Air & Space Magazine, Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Books, and a minority interest in the Smithsonian’s cable TV joint venture with CBS/Showtime, Smithsonian Channel. Most recently, Alan is leading the Media Group’s international expansion into Asia.
Before joining Smithsonian, Mr. Chu was with Time Inc. where he was in a variety of financial, marketing and management roles, including working with business unties Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, Golf, Popular Science, Ski, and This Old House. His other career experiences included working at IBM and in management consulting after receiving his MBA from Columbia University. Mr. Chu lives in New York City with his wife and son.
- Sabrina Chen-Louie
President, JBF Entertainment
JBF Entertainment is a development, production and distribution company, with the goal of sharing Asian themes, cultures and stories with the world through high quality feature films, documentaries, short films and series. JBF also represents and promotes Asian-American directors, writers and talents.
Sabrina is an experienced film executive with expertise in acquisition, distribution, sales, production and finance. She spend her early career in Taiwan working with Era, CMC and Pandasia, acquiring and distributing films such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Blair Witch Project and From Dusk til Dawn, among others and TV series. before joining Michelle Yeoh in 2001 to produce “The Touch” and “Silver Hawk.” Since 2006, Sabrina has co-written scripts and produced and distributed over 15 documentaries. In 2013, she organized the Asian Short Script Competition, with the top scripts being optioned and produced into short films.
- Edward Y. Lee
Filmmaker; former Associate Director, White House Office of Public Engagement
Edward is an independent filmmaker and activist, producing documentaries, short films and advocacy campaigns that highlight the stories of the marginalized and underserved. He was the videographer for the Obama Presidential campaign, and later an Associate Director at the White House Office of Public Engagement. As President Obama’s liaison to the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, he built bridges between the federal government and the community to increase access and dialogue around policy issues like immigration, education, and health care reform.He also worked as the Youth Outreach Director on the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Prior to that, he worked at the U.S. Department of Education, championing education reform to ensure that all students are given a world-class education. He helped co-found Jubilee Project, a 501(c)3 film company creating short films, PSAs and documentaries in collaboration with non-profits to increase awareness and inspire actions. As a filmmaker, he has directed and produced over 150 short films, documentaries and PSA’s generating over 30 million views online and empowering the community to take actionable steps on political and social issues. He is a child of immigrants, and a graduate of Harvard University.
- Jan Lin
Editor/Producer of the Olympic Channel at Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS); US-China digital media consultantl l
Jan stumbled into the global media world. She first had her creative writings published by a local newspaper at age ten, when no one had told her that writing can be and is a career in its own right. Braving London as a ‘starving artist’ after college, she never imagined the (painful) childhood years of learning Mandarin to become bilingual and a semester of China Studies at college would unlock her wildest media career. With Beijing 2008 Olympic Games approaching, she was commissioned by a London-China cultural magazine to produce stories on the Chinese sports culture for the global audience. It was her maiden trip to China that summer which had convinced her how misunderstood China was and her role to bridge the gap.lShe spent all of her twenties working across four continents gallivanting in a range of media jobs. Perpetually curious, in the early days of the digital media explosion, Jan was quickly fascinated by the potential of YouTube and the Chinese social media ecosystem as effective tools to facilitate cross-cultural relations. By the London 2012 Olympic Games, Jan had become a pioneer in YouTube Sports streaming initiative as well as Tencent Sports’ global outreach initiative. Since then, Jan has produced digital web series on YouTube as a freelance sports producer and branded content for businesses and non-profits. Today, Jan is a part of the launch team at the International Olympic Committee’s new digital TV initiative – Olympic Channel.
- Mary Kay Magistad
Mary Kay Magistad is formerly The World’s East Asia correspondent. She lived and reported in the region for two decades. Mary Kay is now based in San Francisco.During her time in Asia, she traveled regularly and widely throughout China and beyond, exploring how China’s rapid transformation has affected individual lives and exploring the bigger geopolitical, economic and environmental implications of China’s rise. She stepped back every so often to do an in-depth series on such topics as the China’s urbanization — the biggest and most rapid move from the countryside to the cities in human history, on the potential for innovation in China, and on the ripple effects on Chinese society of the One Child Generation coming of age.
Mary Kay’s seven-part series on that subject, called “Young China,” won a 2007 Overseas Press Club Award, one of several awards she has received.Mary Kay started out in Southeast Asia, based in Bangkok, as a regular contributor to NPR, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and other news media. She covered the Cambodian civil war and the UN peace process, the Burmese army’s crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators and the United States’ wary rapprochement in the early ‘90s with Vietnam.
Mary Kay also reported farther afield, covering the aftermath of genocide in Rwanda, tensions with Iraq in Kuwait, and other stories.Mary Kay became NPR’s full-time Southeast Asia correspondent in 1993, and in 1996 she opened NPR’s first Beijing bureau. She took time out for two fellowships at Harvard — a Nieman and a Radcliffe fellowship — enough time to realize China was too interesting a story to leave — before going back to China for The World.
Mary Kay graduated from Northwestern University with a double major in journalism and history, and has an MA in international relations from the University of Sussex in England, completed on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship.
- Annie Jie Xu
General Manager, Alibaba Group US
As the general manager of Alibaba Group US, Annie is responsible for the operation of the US teams located in San Francisco, San Mateo and Seattle. She joined Alibaba in 2000 and has been a leading force in its direction since day one. Under her leadership, Alibaba’s team in the US has grown from 3 people to over 150 people in the area of marketing, business development, investment, corporate communications, investor relations, product development, user experience design, data science technology and customer service. Working in partnership with key leaders in the US and highest level of executives in Alibaba, Annie currently focuses on organizational development, employee communications, talent development and training.Prior to Alibaba, Annie worked as the head of Sales and Marketing at Kubota Electronics, a fortunate 500 company in Silicon Valley for 4 years. She was named Top 100 Women of Influence by Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2013. Annie received a BS in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.
- Victoria Wu
Chief Strategy Officer, RakutenVictoria was most recently an Investment Partner at Tencent Xplorations Group. Prior to joining Tencent, Victoria worked for the Boston Consulting Group. She also worked at The Nature Conservancy, the largest environmental non-profit organization in the world. She was the head of TNC’s fundraising in North Asia region. She also worked in corporate engineering at Genentech. Before life in technology industry, she served as TV news anchorwoman and journalist in Greater China region. Victoria brings with her fifteen years of experience in internet, entrepreneurship and management in China and the U.S.
Victoria holds a M.S. in Management Science from Stanford University, and a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Science & Technology of China.
- Brian Yang
Actor and Film Producer
Brian is best known for his recurring character as forensic scientist “Dr. Charlie Fong” on the Hawaii Five-0 TV series. He has also starred in films such as The Man with the Iron Fists as Hyena, Quentin Lee’s The People I’ve Slept With as Jefferson (Archie Kao)’s right-hand man (and was also an Executive Producer of the film), Alice Wu’s Saving Face as Little Yu as Joan Chen’s love interest, Michael Kang’s West 32nd as Jahnkeh, among others. Brian was also the host of a reality show in China called Shanghai Rush.
Film production-wise, he was a producer of the 2012 Jeremy Lin basketball documentary directed by Evan Jackson Leong, Linsanity, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Other projects include producing Annie Undocumented, a Web series about young Asian Americans who are undocumented and Brittney Griner: Lifesize, about WNBA star Brittney Griner in the award-winning “ESPN Nine for IX Shorts” series. Yang and Leong have teamed up again on a feature film, Snakehead, which will star Lucy Liu. Brian was raised in the Bay Area, attended University of California Berkeley where he studied Biology and Dramatic Arts. He speaks both English and Mandarin. His career into Hollywood began after being cast as an extra on The Joy Luck Club.
- Janet Yang
Film Producer Janet is a prominent Hollywood producer with deep roots in China. She has worked with some of the most formidable directors and actors in the world, including a long partnership with Oliver Stone.Janet began her career distributing Chinese films in North America by such acclaimed directors as Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou. She was then brought to Hollywood in the 80’s to reintroduce American cinema to the Chinese marketplace, and successfully brokered the first sale of Hollywood movies to China since 1949.Janet got her start in production working in Shanghai with Steven Spielberg on Empire of the Sun (Warner Bros). She has since produced a number of award-winning films, including the iconic The Joy Luck Club (Disney); The People vs. Larry Flynt, which won Golden Globe awards for Best Director and Best Actor, and was directed by multiple Academy Award-winner Milos Forman (Columbia Pictures); Dark Matter with Meryl Streep (Sony); The Weight of Water with Sean Penn and directed by Academy Award winner Kathryn Bigelow (Lion’s Gate); High Crimes with Morgan Freeman (20th Century Fox) ; Indictment: The McMartin Trial, which won both the Emmy and the Golden Globe for Best Television Movie(HBO Films); a Chinese adaptation of the acclaimed Disney franchise High School Musical (Disney); and cult favorite Shanghai Calling. Most recently, Yang served as an executive producer for the acclaimed documentary film Documented, written and directed by famed journalist Jose Antonio Vargas (CNN Films).Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Janet has been named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Hollywood” by the Hollywood Reporter. She is a a voting member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, as well as a member of the Executive Committee of the Producers Branch of the Academy; the Committee of 100, an advisory board member of Asia Society Southern California, and a board member of the 1990 Institute. She is also now on the Executive Committee of the Producers Branch of the Academy. She holds a B.A. from Brown University in Chinese studies and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.