Jo Koy Talks ‘Easter Sunday’, Authentic Storytelling And Filipino Representation: “I’ve Been Wanting To Tell This Story For 33 Years”
Michelle Yeoh becomes Dr. Yeoh as first Asian artist to receive AFI’s honorary doctorate in fine arts
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🏆 The Headlines
Jo Koy Talks ‘Easter Sunday’, Authentic Storytelling And Filipino Representation: “I’ve Been Wanting To Tell This Story For 33 Years” — “I’ve been wanting to tell this story for 33 years, but unfortunately, Hollywood hasn’t caught up until now,” Koy told DIASPORA during a recent interview. “The cool thing about this whole journey is it took someone like Steven Spielberg to finally [say], I want to make this movie — and you know, he did that.”
Jo Koy is part of a small group of Filipino Americans in Hollywood who have been grinding and doing the work to represent a community of Asians that make up over 4 million of the country’s 23 million-plus Asian population. He, along with his Easter Sunday co-stars Tia Carrere and Lou Diamond Phillips and actors like Dante Basco played roles in some of the most iconic movies (Wayne’s World, La Bamba, Hook, respectively) but somehow we never got a major studio film that spotlighted the culture. Now, Easter Sunday serves as a benchmark for not only Filipino representation, but inclusive storytelling in Hollywood as a whole.
In 2019, Koy struck a deal with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment to make Easter Sunday. When the COVID struck the world it didn’t necessarily speed things up, but the film was shot during pandemic. When all is said and done Koy said it’s “beautiful” to see the project come full circle. “We get to have a voice and finally we get to tell this story,” he said. “We get to learn about other people’s ethnicities and cultures and and also realize that we’re all the same.”
As Asian representation makes its way to the front of Hollywood, we are beginning to see more diverse stories within marginalized communities to reiterate that these cultures are not a monolith. Koy said he is not necessarily representing all Filipinos — but he is acknowledging the culture and family that made him who he is. “This is me and this is my version of my family,” he said. “You’re either going to relate to the family aspect, or you’re going to relate to who I am as a Filipino.”
Michelle Yeoh becomes Dr. Yeoh as first Asian artist to receive AFI’s honorary doctorate in fine arts — Michelle Yeoh will receive an honorary doctorate of fine arts degree from the American Film Institute “for contributions of distinction to the art of the moving image.”
Malaysian actor Michelle Yeoh will become the first Asian artist to receive an honorary doctorate of fine arts degree from the American Film Institute (AFI).
The AFI announced on Monday that Yeoh will be recognized “for contributions of distinction to the art of the moving image” spanning her over-40-year career.
Yeoh will be presented the honor on Saturday, Aug. 13, at Hollywood’s iconic TCL Chinese Theatre during the commencement ceremony for AFI Conservatory’s Class of 2022. AFI Trustee Emeritus Lawrence Herbert will also be conferred with an honorary doctorate of communication arts degree for his commitment to AFI’s mission on the same day.
“Michelle Yeoh and Lawrence Herbert have inspired the world with their remarkable talents,” AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale said in a statement on Monday. “Though both of these trailblazers have proven impact in vastly different ways, it is their shared dedication to the art of the moving image that provides this proud moment for AFI to shine a proper light upon their gifts given us.”
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