Netflix, The Hollywood Reporter, and Gold House took over Casita in Los Angeles on Thursday night to celebrate Netflix’s impressive roster of Asian and Pacific-Islanders (API) talent in 2022.
Hosted by The Hollywood Reporter’s Senior Editor Rebecca Sun, the evening saw talent, filmmakers, celebrities, and influencers gathered to enjoy special experiences. The 2022 API roster hit the black carpet to speak to with a press line comprised of API media outlets and journalists. A group photo was taken with the 2022 Netflix API stars to celebrate their representation in stories from this year.
Rebecca Sun was in great spirits as she spoke to Awards Focus following her opening remarks as the evening’s host. “Honestly, this was my first time being asked to host an entire evening,” Sun shared. “It’s been really fun, and you feel like there’s this family atmosphere with everybody rooting for each other.”
Sun quickly highlighted the progress made in projects and media, highlighting API artists. “There used to not be enough seats at the table, but that’s changing now and we’re a part of that,” Sun said. “I really hope that as API artists continue to succeed and thrive, they never stop supporting each other.”
A few highlights from the evening include: GRV Dance Crew performing a Netflix inspired “Squid Game” dance, Mama’s Night Market curating a menu comprised of nine local API owned small business vendors, and Bopomofo Cafe shared #SpilltheBobaTea based on Netflix Golden’s show “Spill the Boba Tea.”
Comedian, host, and actor Hasan Minhaj was sporting a flashy green suit for the evening. The look may have been a nod to Minhaj’s portrayal of the iconic Batman villain, the Riddler.
Minhaj is the first API talent to voice the Riddler in a DC property, recording the role of the Riddler for Warner Brothers’ “Batman Unburied” audio drama starring Winston Duke at Bruce Wayne/Batman.
“I thought Winston was amazing in the role of Batman,” Minhaj said. “There’s been a long tradition of comedians playing the Riddler, and one thing I wanted to bring to this Riddler was that it’s not so much a joke but a game of intellect.”
Minhaj looked back on his big break in entertainment and how he draws inspiration to push himself further as an artist.
“My inspiration and drive for what I do really comes from my faith and my family,” Minhaj shared. “My dream was to do comedy full time and be able to say what I want to say, and I’ve achieved that.”
Minhaj recalled his two biggest breaks in the business, which he remains incredibly grateful for receiving. “My biggest breaks are definitely thanks to Jon Stewart, doing the Daily Show in 2014 which put me on the map,” Minhaj shared. “That led to the 2017 White House correspondent’s dinner, and that was another life changing moment.”
Actress, writer, and director Sujata Day discussed her time during the pandemic finding distribution for her film, “Definition, Please.”
“We did a lot of our marketing and publicity during the Covid film festival environment,” Day recalls of getting her film distribution after a lengthy campaign. “Then Mindy Kaling and Ava DuVernay found the film and came through at the right time to get it to Netflix.”
Day has enjoyed the audience reach provided by Netflix’s viewership. “Ava DuVernay’s distribution deal through Netflix really helped so many fans find the film,” Day shared. “We are still looking for international distribution partners for the film as well.”
Lead actor Ritesh Rajan was attending with Day and spoke about his role in the film. “I read the script and found that as an Indian actor you rarely get such in-depth and meaningful characters,” Rajan said. “My character of Sunny is multi-layered and faces real consequences which is a testament to Sujata’s writing. It’s an opportunity to touch on a story with a bi-Indian American and to do it with a multi-cultural crew was a dream come true.”
Rajan had just come of shooting Netflix’s “Russian Doll” series and was excited to explore a more grounded role. “I had just wrapped Russian Doll and I was also recording the voice of Ken the Barbie, which is another Netflix property,” Rajan said. “There’s some real Netflix synergy here, clearly.”
Day’s next project is a modern retelling of Universal’s popular “American Pie” franchise. “We are going to continue the tradition of having a cast of unknowns coming into a story that is multi-cultural and mining the humor in that,” Day shared.
Additional Netflix 2022 API stars in attendance were “Never Have I Ever” cast members Ramona Young, Poorna Jagannathan, Anirudh Pisharody, and Sarayu Rao; Partner Track cast members Desmond Chiam, Rich Ting, Kelvin Han Yee, Lena Ahn, and Jo Sung; and Film stars Jessica Henwick (Glass Onion), Lewis Tan (Fistful of Vengeance), and George Young (Falling for Christmas).
Additional celebrity guests included Simu Liu, Mena Massoud, Chloe Kim, Sam Song Li, Highdee Kuan, Joon Lee, Rekstizzy, Justin Chu Cary, Ciara Riley Wilson, Jae Suh Park, Nina Yang Bongiovi, and more.
Netflix is the world’s leading streaming entertainment service with 214 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries, feature films and mobile games across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.
About The Hollywood Reporter:
The Hollywood Reporter (THR) is a flagship entertainment media brand, offering in-depth reporting, analysis, unparalleled access, world-class photography and video, and feature exclusives in its award-winning weekly magazine and dynamic website. The Hollywood Reporter also boasts prestigious live events, industry-leading philanthropic, empowerment and diversity initiatives.
About Gold House:
Gold House is the leading changemaker organization and network of Asian and Pacific Islanders (API), fighting together for socioeconomic equity and belonging. Through a suite of innovative programs and platforms, Gold House unites, invests in, and promotes API creators and companies to change culture and commerce. All to shape a world where everyone can thrive.