Meet the 2018 CAPE Leaders Fellows!

CAPE launches its second annual CAPE Leaders Fellowship to equip the next generation of creative executives and talent representatives with the skills and professional network to break into the VP ranks and beyond. Modeled after CAPE’s highly-successful New Writers Fellowship, this new signature program includes evening sessions, intimate breakfasts, networking mixers, and one-on-one mentoring sessions with high-level industry executives.

The inaugural class of Fellows are:

Johnny Chiou HeadshotJOHNNY CHIOU currently serves as Manager of Development at 3AD, actor/producer Daniel Dae Kim’s production company, which currently produces THE GOOD DOCTOR on ABC. Prior to this, he was Development Coordinator at Universal Cable Productions (MR. ROBOT, 12 MONKEYS, GIRLFRIENDS’ GUIDE TO DIVORCE). Johnny got his start as an assistant in the Television Department at Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Johnny is a graduate of UC Berkeley where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.



SCOTT SAKAMOTO is a Production Supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Studios, where his passion and experience have centered around the Story Department. In his current position, Scott is helping to oversee the creative process on a yet to be announced animated feature. His other recent projects at Disney have included the Oscar®-nominated feature MOANA and the upcoming theatrical sequel to WRECK-IT RALPH, RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET. Previously, Scott was involved in the front-end production departments at DreamWorks Animation, where he worked on projects such as HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN, and MONSTERS VS. ALIENS. Scott began his career in entertainment as a Development Intern at Spyglass Entertainment and then as an assistant in the Feature Literary Department at The Gersh Agency. Scott graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Communication Studies.


Sanjana Seelam HeadshotSANJANA SEELAM was born in India, raised in the Bay Area and Phoenix. Having studied pre-medicine, graduating with a BS from UCLA, she made the natural transition to a career in entertainment. Currently a Manager of Development at BuzzFeed Studios, she develops and produces digital, linear and feature content across all networks and platforms. Prior to BuzzFeed, Sanjana worked in Development at 20th Century Fox TV as well as 3 Arts Entertainment. Off the clock, Sanjana loves hikes with her insta-perfect dog, buffalo wings, and marathoning weeks-old episodes of JEOPARDY!


Kenny_Tsai_SquareKENNY TSAI joined Universal Television in 2012 and currently holds the title of Director, Current Programming. He is responsible for overseeing 7 Universal Television-produced current dramas and comedies, including MASTER OF NONE for Netflix, WILL & GRACE and GOOD GIRLS for NBC and the upcoming Apple series AMAZING STORIES with Amblin. He was previously an executive at Blumhouse Television, where he helped manage their first-look deal with UCP and Universal Television, and got his start in the industry as the showrunner’s assistant on HBO’s Emmy-award winning series BOARDWALK EMPIRE. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and son of Taiwanese-American immigrants, Kenny has been a passionate fan of television since childhood. He resides in Los Angeles and often travels out for noodles and dumplings.


IMG_3518JON WU is Director of Production at 20th Century Fox, where he oversees the development, production, and acquisition of feature films. While at Fox, he has been an executive on 16 go pictures, including THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, DEADPOOL 2, and the upcoming BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. Previously, Jon worked at Sony Pictures Television and in the motion picture literary and television talent departments at WME Entertainment. He began his career in the agency’s mailroom. Jon received his M.F.A. from the Peter Stark Producing Program at University of Southern California and his B.A. in African American Studies at Yale University. 


Katharine Wu Headshot SquareKATHARINE WU is a half-Taiwanese television executive from Long Beach, California.  She is currently the Director of Development at Appletree Pictures, where she has worked with Shiri Appleby to build a scripted slate for the company’s overall deal with A+E Studios.  Appletree is focused on female-driven series and partnering with fresh and diverse voices. Previously, Katharine spent several years working in scripted programming at A&E, where she honed her development skills and covered the last two seasons of BATES MOTEL.  Katharine earned a BA in Cinema-Television Production from USC.

Led by top industry executives and agents, the Fellowship is the brainchild of CAPE Board Chair Kevin Iwashina (Agent, Endeavor Content), who serves as co-chair with CAPE Board Members Albert Cheng (COO and Co-Head of Television, Amazon Studios) and Peter McHugh (Manager, The Gotham Group).

Fellowship partners include Walden Media, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Endeavor, Fox Searchlight, Justine Wines and Fuji Water.

For full press release, click here.






You’re Invited to the CAPE/Pearl Studio presents THE POWER OF REPRESENTATION IN STORYTELLING!




Join CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) and Pearl Studio (fka Oriental DreamWorks) for THE POWER OF REPRESENTATION IN STORYTELLING, a conversation with Asian American creative voices!


Chloe Bennet | Actress, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., & Activist
Sono Patel | Co-Producer, CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND
Gene Luen Yang | 2016 MacArthur Fellowship-Winning Graphic Novelist, AMERICAN BORN CHINESE

Moderator: Rebecca Sun | The Hollywood Reporter
*panelists subject to change

DATE: Tuesday, March 20, 2018
6:00pm – Registration/Check-In Begins
6:30pm – Panel Discussion
7:30pm – Mixer with Refreshments
ADDRESS: 5808 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028
PARKING: Complimentary valet parking courtesy of Netflix. Instructions provided with reservation confirmation.

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TICKETS: $25 General Admission

Meet our 2018 CAPE New Writers Fellows!

Congratulations to the 8 writers selected for the 2018 CAPE New Writers Fellowship!

Led by top industry writers, producers, agents and executives, the CAPE New Writers Fellowship is co-chaired by Steve Tao (VP of Current Programming, The CW Network) and Leo Chu (Screenwriter, BATMAN NINJA and Executive Producer/Creator, SUPAH NINJAS). The sessions include master classes and writing labs, in which Fellows revise their scripts under the mentorship of high-level industry professionals. Upon completion of the program, each Fellow will receive a cash stipend, a copy of Final Draft 10, free entry into Final Draft’s Big Break Contest and free hosting on The Black List.

In a repeat of last year’s successful collaboration, one or more writers from the CAPE New Writers Fellowship will be selected to participate in Pearl Studio’s (fka Oriental DreamWorks) Artist-In-Residence Program this summer in Shanghai, China. During the program, Pearl Studio will share projects currently in production or development, and the writer will have the opportunity to choose to work on one or more of these projects and to collaborate with other artists for one week of creative exploration.

Fellowship partners include NBCUniversal, Pearl Studio (fka Oriental DreamWorks), Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Amazon Studios, Warner Bros. Entertainment, LA County Arts Commission, Nielsen Foundation, and Carnival Corporation, as well as in-kind partners Final Draft, Inc. and The Black List. Venue sponsors include NBCUniversal, Netflix, The Writers Guild of America Foundation, IW Group, Millennium Films, and The CW. Fellows and speakers will be well fed thanks to dinner sponsors including Kikka Sushi, Kaya Street Kitchen, Bibigo Fresh Korean Kitchen, Taipei Bistro and Fantastic Donuts.

The 2018 CAPE New Writers Fellows are:

Lisa Bao SquareLISA BAO was born and raised in Shenyang, China before immigrating to the U.S. with her parents when she was seven. As the eldest (and favorite) child of her parents, Lisa initially tried to become a doctor, but discovered she could not hack the sciences in college. Lisa had to settle for second best by becoming a lawyer, an important turning point since law school taught her how to fail and the importance of showing up prepared. Armed with these lessons, and after getting New York out of her system, Lisa returned to Los Angeles to pursue her childhood dream of writing for the screen. Her scripts have made her a Disney-ABC Writing Program Finalist, a Fox Writer’s Lab Semi-Finalist, and a 2018 CAPE Fellow.


Iram BilalIRAM PARVEEN BILAL was raised in Nigeria and Pakistan and is a Physics Olympian turned filmmaker. She is excited to lens her script FORBIDDEN STEPS, a film about a Muslim cop in Chicago. Bilal is developing TV projects set both in the US and in the UK. An avid public speaker and activist, she was a co-chair of the Asian American Writer’s Committee at the WGA and a board member for the Caltech Y, her alma mater. Bilal initiated the Pakistani Oscar committee and is the founder of Pakistan’s first professional screenwriting lab (QALAMBAAZ). She is a Thomas J Watson, Women In Film, Film Independent fellow and an active member of the Alliance of Women Directors and Film Fatales. She believes that genuine curiosity is the antidote to fear.


Gabriel Ho SquareGABRIEL HO grew up in Irvine, California, where his father was a minister. He spent most of his childhood at the church and wrote and directed shorts for his high school fellowship, but always told himself it was just a hobby. Heavily influenced by the tech geek on Alias, he was set on a respectable path to be an engineer and worked for the Department of Defense, but soon realized he didn’t want to build circuit boards and gadgets – he wanted to create the worlds and characters that inspired him in the first place. He gave up his engineering scholarship to pursue his real passion – film. He graduated from Columbia University, and came out to LA, where he started in the mailroom at WME. He recently worked as the Writers’ Assistant on TNT’s Animal Kingdom, MRC’s The Dark Tower, and ABC’s The Rookie.


Vidhya Iyer SquareVIDHYA IYER was born in a small town in south Nigeria to Indian immigrant parent and was shipped like an Amazon Prime delivery to a small city in south India at the age of 12. There she lived alone in an apartment, without adult supervision from the ages of 12-19. She studied to be a computer science engineer in college while running an Italian restaurant with her brother. She came to AFI to write stories that will translate across international borders and hopes to leverage her background and be a liaison between the American, Indian and Nigerian entertainment markets. She is currently a comedy improv performer at the UCB and also performs stand-up comedy.


Joanee LeeJOANNE LEE was raised on Long Island by South Korean immigrant parents, went to Harvard College, worked for Goldman Sachs in London, attended Wharton Business School, and helped run a NYC-based non-profit organization that pairs low-income adults with corporate mentors. She then did digital media business development for ABC News, A+E Networks, and POPSUGAR. Joanne studied improv and sketch writing at UCB and performed stand-up in NYC. She was a showrunner’s assistant for an HBO comedy. Her half-hour TV pilot UNPLANNED finished in the top ten of the 2016 Final Draft Big Break Contest. In 2017, her half-hour TV pilot KILLING IT won the Silver Prize in PAGE and was a top five finalist (and only comedy pilot) in TrackingB. She wrote a freelance episode of the Disney Channel show ANDI MACK which will air in summer 2018. She is repped by APA.


Ryan Lee SquareRYAN LEE was born in Paris, France and raised in Palo Alto, California. Ever since viewing a VHS copy of  MOUSE HUNT at age 6, he’s wanted to make movies. He attended the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, majoring in Film Production with a minor in Screenwriting, where he wrote several thesis films. Since graduating, he’s developed feature films, television pilots, and interactive web series scripts in multiple genres. He has also worked as a script reader, a public access TV technician, and a Little League Umpire. His goal is to write for film and TV, and to have season tickets to the Yankees one day.


Lauren Moon SquareLAUREN MOON is a queer third-generation Korean American LA-based writer/activist born in Dallas, TX. She is a graduate of Pomona College and holds an MFA in Writing for Screen and Television from USC. Her feature film WESTMINSTER, CA was a finalist for the HUMANITAS Carol Mendelsohn Drama Fellowship and was a quarterfinalist in Scriptapalooza’s screenplay competition. She received the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre’s Thomas Angel Foundation Scholarship in 2017. Her multicam sitcom pilot INTERNATIONAL HAÜS was funded, produced, and shot by USC. Lauren writes grounded stories depicting young men and women of color trying their best to find their voices while stumbling through adolescence and adulthood. She is also in a rowdy punk band, co-produces podcast about fetishes, and has a weekly radio show consisting of songs that make her cry.


Stefanie Woodburn SquareSTEFANIE WOODBURN is a mixed Chinese American writer, actress, and filmmaker.  She grew up in Maryland, learning the value of education from her teacher mom and the value of finance, math, and weightlifting from her stay-at-home dad.  She loved acting in musicals and dance captaining competitive showchoir, later studying at NYU and performing theater in Paris.  Not having the guts to pursue her creative dream after graduation, she became a consultant (naturally), working on the business and tech side of studios.  She finally found her voice on Twitch, creating community and streaming video games to fundraise for her short film about pole dance.  POLE is currently an official selection in 18 film festivals.  Excited to write stories from the mixed perspective, she applied with the feature film to CAPE and looks forward to creating the Pole Cinematic Universe.




More information about the CAPE New Writers Fellowship can be found at:


CAPE at Kollaboration Empower Weekend

CAPE at Empower Square

Join CAPE at Kollaboration Empower Creative Leadership Conference on November 4, 2017. Our panel, PRODUCING SOCIAL CHANGE: A CONVERSATION WITH SHOWRUNNERS, explores the role of the showrunner and how they create change in front of and behind the camera.

Use code EMPOWERCAPE for a 15% discount!

Come laugh with some of the funniest Asian American comics.

Learn directly from some of the Asian American community’s most inspirational creative professionals. Discover how to make your dreams of working in arts & entertainment a reality.

Celebrate Asian American talents and achievements and find out who is this year’s Kollaboration STAR champion!

For more information and full schedule, visit


CAPE Fellows Abroad: 3 Fellows Selected for ODW’s Artists-In-Residence Program in Shanghai


As a part of this year’s CAPE New Writers Fellowship, Oriental DreamWorks selected 3 CAPE Fellows for their Artist-In-Residence Program in Shanghai, China. Johnny Ngo (Feature Film Fellow, 2017) talks about his experience.

Oriental DreamWork’s Artist-In-Residence Program was simply priceless. From the moment wearrived to our last day at the office, we never stopped feeling welcomed. The ODW staff, at every level, was supportive and collaborative. There was no micromanaging. They trusted us to be artists, because they’re artists themselves. They respected our own individual creative process. They even went out of their way to nurture it. They took us on tours around Shanghai to inspire us and made sure we tasted the culture through various cuisines that were carefully curated. There’s no question I’ve expanded my mind… and gained some extra pounds (of culture) in the process.

I’ve never worked in animation. ODW’s Artist-In-Residence Program challenged me to develop a new lens for storytelling. Justinian and Susan, the two creative executives I was paired with, constantly pushed me to be more visual and to think outside the box. “Why does this have to be animated?” “Can we convey that concept or emotion more visually?” “How do we keep elements simple yet satisfying?” One of my favorite moments came on the second day when we met with the visual team and our assigned visual artist. We were given a project to tackle by this point. As I described my vision – a single image that captures the spirit of the movie, the visual artists would say, “That’s great Johnny, but how are we suppose to FEEL at this point in the story?” I loved that. Their instincts kept me grounded. I’m proud of the work I accomplished with ODW. I’m exceptionally proud of my visual artist for capturing my vision and elevating it to epic proportions. I can go on and on about my experience with ODW and their Artist-In-Residence Program, but I’ll just summarize it in two words: rewarding and unforgettable.

Thanks again, ODW and CAPE for this amazing opportunity. My creative compass will never be the same!



Join us for a mind-blowing evening with DAVID KWONG, the magician and puzzle master behind NOW YOU SEE ME and ABC’s DECEPTION, in a special benefit performance for CAPE!

DATE: September 28, 2017
TIME: 7:30PM
LOCATION: National Center for the Preservation of Democracy at the Japanese American National Museum
ADDRESS: 100 N Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012



A veteran “cruciverbalist” (crossword puzzle constructor), Kwong routinely creates puzzles for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and other national publications.

Kwong is the puzzle and secret code consultant for the hit NBC show BLINDSPOT. He was the head magic consultant on the 2013 worldwide hit film NOW YOU SEE ME. Other films Kwong and his Misdirectors Guild have worked on include THE IMITATION GAME, ANT-MAN, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION, THE MAGNIFICENT 7.

Kwong was a featured speaker at TED 2014. His talk on how human beings are “wired to solve” involved hiding secret messages in the New York Times crossword puzzle. Kwong’s book Spellbound: Seven Principles of Illusion to Captivate Audiences and Unlock the Secrets of Success was published by Harper Business in May 2017.

Thank you to our sponsor!

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You’re Invited to the CAPE Leaders Fellowship Graduation & Industry Mixer!

CLF Grad Promo

Join us for CAPE’s inaugural Leaders Fellowship Graduation & Industry Mixer!

DATE: Tuesday, August 15, 2017
TIME: 7pm – 9:30pm
LOCATION: Madera Kitchen
ADDRESS: 1835 North Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
PARKING: Valet parking $9 and metered street parking
$45 – Online Pre-Sale (On sale until 8/15 at 5PM PST or until sold out)
$50 – At door CASH | $50 + fees – At door CC

***All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.***
All proceeds benefit CAPE, a 501(c)(3) organization that works to increase Asian American Pacific Islander representation in entertainment.


Come celebrate the CAPE Leaders Fellowship Graduation & Industry Mixer! Eat, drink, mingle, and connect with the largest group of AAPI entertainment professionals in Hollywood. Celebrate with the inaugural class of Leaders Fellows, CAPE Board of Directors, Partners Wells Fargo, The Walt Disney Company, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Lionsgate, DreamWorks, The CW, and many other top industry professionals.

Refreshments include hors d’oeuvres and cash bar.


For more information about our CAPE Leaders Fellowship, click here.
For more information about CAPE, click here.


Promo Image_2018 HBO APAV

HBO, in partnership with CAPE and Visual Communications, invites emerging Asian Pacific American (APA) filmmakers to create works that explore themes of home for its second annual HBO Asian Pacific American Visionaries Short Film Competition. The contest seeks to address such timely issues as belonging, identity, and culture through the lens of the APA experience. Three winning films be selected to premiere at the Los Angeles Asian American Film Festival, showcased on HBO platforms, and awarded cash prizes.

For complete rules and guidelines, visit

Deadline for entries is November 1, 2017 at 9:59pm PST.

Join the conversation on social media with hashtag #hbovisionaries.

Introducing the CAPE Leaders Fellowship Inaugural Class!


CAPE launches its first annual CAPE Leaders Fellowship to equip the next generation of creative executives and talent representatives with the skills and professional network to break into the VP ranks and beyond. Modeled after CAPE’s highly-successful New Writers Fellowship, this new signature program includes evening sessions, intimate breakfasts, networking mixers, and one-on-one mentoring sessions with high-level industry executives.

“The CAPE Leaders Fellowship represents phase two of our strategic vision,” said CAPE Executive Director Michelle K. Sugihara. “We started with writers because diversity begins on the page. Now we are excited to turn our focus to the decision-makers who have the power to champion and greenlight our stories.”

The inaugural class of Fellows are:

KYLE DEAN is a Los Angeles-based talent manager at McKeon/Myones Entertainment. Born abroad and raised as a “military brat”, Dean eventually settled down in San Antonio, TX before getting his BA from Stanford University, double majoring in Film & Media Studies and Psychology. After graduating in 2009, he moved straight to Los Angeles and worked in casting and as a freelance writer before eventually transitioning to talent management. Dean is very involved in Stanford in Entertainment, the official alumni group for Stanford alums working in the entertainment industry, where he serves as Treasurer and Board Member. He is also involved in Ivy Pride Alliance LA

LINDSEY GUI is a Manager in the Corporate Business Development and Strategy group at Warner Bros. In her current role, Lindsey works on strategy and M&A projects including the studio’s China strategy, J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, and the video streaming service HOOQ. Prior to Warner Bros., Lindsey worked in corporate and business development functions at Bona Film Group and entertainment investment firm The Seelig Group. Lindsey is a board member of the Network for Asian Pacific Americans at Warner Bros. She graduated with honors from Princeton University with a BA in public policy and The Wharton School with a MBA in statistics and marketing.

SAN HENG was born in a refugee camp in Cambodia.  After failing to show any proficiency in break dancing, she started working in television. She is now an Executive Producer. Her credits include the long running TLC show SAY YES TO THE DRESS, creating the pilot of the show out of an apartment in Brooklyn, NY. Other credits include home-design/renovation shows such as WHILE YOU WERE OUT  and MOVING UP as well as ensemble follow-docs, like REAL HOUSEWIVES and LITTLE WOMEN:LA. San attended the University of Florida where she received a dual degree in telecommunications and psychology, but more importantly, learned how to tell a story, perform improv comedy, and truly dominate at Risk.

NATHAN KITADA is a Creative Development Exec at YouTube Originals, where he oversees scripted original content for YouTube Red.  Prior to the Originals team, Nathan worked on YouTube’s Creator Lab initiative, an internal R&D group focused on areas of expansion for the YouTube platform (360º/VR video, Kids Content, Edu Content).  Before YouTube, Nathan was at Maker Studios, where he ran programming on Maker’s gaming hub channel and helped build their branded entertainment business as Director of BE, Gaming.  Nathan has an MFA from the American Film Institute and a BA from Yale University.

ALEX LIN was born in Taipei, Taiwan and immigrated to the United States. He was raised in  San Gabriel Valley. Alex is currently the Vice President of Development at DEFY Media, the top digital producer and programmer of original video content for Millennials and Gen Z. DEFY creates original web series, television series and feature films across all platforms. Prior to DEFY Media, Alex was the Manager of Comedy Development at NBC. Prior to his work in network television, Alex worked in the TV literary department at CAA, and he began his career at Innovative Artists. Alex earned a bachelor degree from University of California, Los Angeles.

JOHN ZHANG currently works as a Creative Executive at Le Vision Entertainment, a company that has been called the Netflix of China. He completed internships at Viacom while studying economics at the University of Chicago. After graduation, he found himself attracted to the creative side of the business so he made the move to Los Angeles. He started his career at Perfect Storm Entertainment, the production company of director Justin Lin, where he focused on developing and producing movies for the emerging Chinese market. As a lover of technology, John hopes to identify new opportunities as the way audiences consume content changes, and continue his effort to create engaging films for both China and the rest of the world.

Led by top industry executives and agents, the Fellowship is the brainchild of CAPE Board Chair Kevin Iwashina (Co-Founder & CEO, Preferred Content), who serves as co-chair with CAPE Board Members Albert Cheng (COO, Amazon Studios) and Peter McHugh (Manager, The Gotham Group).

Fellowship partners include Wells Fargo, The Walt Disney Company, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and DreamWorks Animation. Additionally, the Fellowship is supported in part by generous contributions made by individual donors during CAPE’s 25th Anniversary Gala in October 2016.

For full press release, click here.

Visual Communications Presents the 2017 LA Asian Pacific Film Festival!

CAPE is a proud Community Partner of the 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, presented by Visual Communications. The festival runs from April 27 – May 4.

Use code CAPE17 to get $2 off tickets to the following programs:


GOOK by Justin Chon
supported by the UCLA Luskin School of Public Policy
Saturday, April 29 at 8pm | Aratani Theater
Buy tickets to GOOK



Catch the winning entries from the APA Visionaries Short Film Competition
Friday, April 28 at 6:30pm | Tateuchi Democracy Forum

And join us at the Kick Off Party this Friday, April 7 at the Pico House in Chinatown! Tickets available for purchase here.

#LAAPFF2017 takes places from April 27 – May 4. For the full festival schedule, click here.