Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Janet Yang to receive 2012 Asian American Media Award at AAIFF’12 Opening Night Presentation of Shanghai Calling on July 25, 2012

Shanghai Calling, a romantic comedy set between Shanghai and NYC, written and directed by Daniel Hsia (Psych) and produced by Janet Yang (Larry Flint vs. The People) opens the Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF’12) on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at the Asia Society and Museum, 725 Park Avenue in New York.

The film stars Daniel Henney (X Men Origins: Wolverine), Eliza Coupe (Happy Endings) , Bill Paxton (“Big Love”), Alan Ruck (Greek, Extraordinary Measures, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), Geng Le (Desires of the Heart) and Zhu Zhu (What Women Want, MTV-China)

Shanghai Calling, tells the story of Sam Chao (Daniel Henney), an up-and-coming Manhattan attorney angling for partnership, who is dispatched by his bosses to Shanghai to open the firm’s new satellite office there. If Sam completes the three-month assignment, they will give him the promotion he’s been dreaming about. But Sam may not be suited for life in China. His first day in Shanghai, he humiliates Amanda (Eliza Coupe), the lovely relocation specialist hired to smooth his way into the expat community, browbeats Fang Fang (Zhu Zhu), his hyper-capable office assistant, and insults everyone he meets with his refusal to adapt to local customs. When his insistence on doing things his way costs an important client a potential billion-dollar deal, Sam must rely on the very people he has alienated to fix his blunders and save his job. As he painfully learns to temper his take-no-prisoners style, Sam slowly discovers a new way of looking at the world—and at Amanda.

Janet Yang

Janet Yang

Shanghai Calling’s producer Janet Yang is the recipient of the 2012 Asian American Media Award, presented by Asian CineVision (ACV). Her stunning achievements as a film producer and superb impact on the Asian American community as a cultural ambassador will be acknowledged during the AAIFF’12 Opening Night Presentation of Shanghai Calling (USA/China).

“I am deeply honored,” said Janet Yang after being informed about receiving the award.

“Janet is a giant in both the Hollywood and independent film world,” says John Woo, Executive Director of Asian CineVision. “Her achievements in the Asian American story telling are an inspiration to us all.”

Recognizing Janet Yang
Janet Yang is an accomplished Hollywood producer with a long, deep relationship with China. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, she currently splits her time between Los Angeles and China.Yang has distinguished herself serving as a cultural ambassador, by connecting the creative and business worlds of the East and West. As a film producer, Yang has worked with some of the greatest directors and actors in the world. She often discovers unique and unheard of stories, bringing them to mainstream audiences.

Earlier this year, Yang wrapped production of Shanghai Calling. The movie will be released in China by its largest film distribution company, China Film Group.

In recent years, Yang was hired by Disney to produce High School Musical for Chinese audiences. This was the first time that a global franchise was made especially for the rapidly expanding Chinese marketplace. Previously, she produced the drama Dark Matter, starring Meryl Streep and Liu Ye. The film had its premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and won the prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Prize for Best Narrative Feature.

Yang is the president of Janet Yang Productions, and the production company The Manifest Film Company. Some of her productions include: High Crimes, a military courtroom thriller, The Weight of Water, a drama directed by Academy-Award winner Kathryn Bigelow and starring Academy Award-winner Sean Penn, Zero Effect, a simultaneous drama and comedy, featuring the story of the world’s greatest detective and Savior, a story about a man’s search for redemption.

From 1989 to 1996, Yang served as a president of Ixtlan Corporation, formed with Oscar-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone. Yang also produced Milos Forman’s The People VS. Larry Flint, the winner of the Golden Globe Award for Best Director and Best Screenplay. In addition, Yang was an executive producer of Wayne Wang’s film, The Joy Luck Club, and she executive produced the Emmy and Golden Globe Awards winner “Indictment: The McMartin Trial.”

Prior to her cooperation with Oliver Stone, Yang was collaborating closely with Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment on Empire of the Sun, a historic production filmed in China. She then became a production executive at Universal Studios and developed Dragon:The Bruce Lee Story.

Yang has a B.A. in Chinese studies from Brown University and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as the Committee of 100. She is an advisory board member of Asia Society Southern California.

Yang has been named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Hollywood” by The Hollywood Reporter and has been featured in articles appearing in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and Variety. She has appeared on numerous television and radio shows in the U.S. and China, including CCTV and Beijing TV.

The Asian American Media Award
The Asian American Media Award (AAMA) recognizes outstanding achievements and contribution by an individual to Asian American media. The recipients are selected annually by Asian CineVision (ACV), a national media arts center based in New York City. Since 1987 ACV has awarded the Asian American Media Award to Asian Americans who have contributed significantly to Asian American media. Previous recipients include: Loni Ding (1988), Mira Nair (1992), Ang Lee (1993), Joan Chen (1994), Michelle Yeoh (1998), and Sammo Hung (1999).

About Asian CineVision & AAIFF
The Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) is produced by Asian CineVision (ACV), a nonprofit media arts organization devoted to the development, promotion and preservation of Asian and Asian American film and video. AAIFF is the nation’s longest-running festival of its kind and a leading showcase for the best in independent Asian and Asian American film and video.

In 1978 ACV organized the Asian American Film Festival, the first in the U.S., a three-day program of 46 films and videos at the Henry Street Settlement on New York’s Lower Eastside. AAIFF has provided the U.S. premieres of acclaimed film directors including Wayne Wang, Mira Nair, and Marilou Diaz-Abaya, and Ang Lee.

Now in its 35th year, the Asian American International Film Festival will feature 50 New York premieres-narrative and documentary features, and shorts-of all genres from The Philippines, Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea, UK, Canada and across the Asian Diaspora.

For more information on the 35th Annual Asian American International Film Festival, please visit

Other Articles by Lia Chang
$UPERCAPITALIST starring Derek Ting, Linus Roache, Kenneth Tsang, Richard Ng and Kathy Uyen is the AAIFF’12 Centerpiece Presentation on July 28, 2012; opens in U.S.Theaters in August
Daniel Hsia’s Shanghai Calling, Simon Yin’s Supercapitalist & Michael Kang’s Knots to Screen at 35th annual Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) in New York, which runs July 25 – August 5, 2012
35th Asian American International Film Festival Line-up in New York
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Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang. Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2012 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at

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