Introducing: The A3 Foundation
Growing up in Brooklyn, I remember watching TV as a child and rarely seeing someone who looked like me on the media screens.
Although in my lifetime, the US has become more diverse with different ethnicities and personalities, this still isn’t accurately reflected in American media. While we represent almost 5% of the United States, only 3% of characters on television are Asian American , and these are rarely lead roles . Although Asian Americans are more prominent in online media with 4 out of the top 30 YouTube artists being Asian American artists with more than 14.4 MM subscribers, we still lack overall representation .
About a year a ago, myself and a few early Facebookers, Julia Lam, and Franklyn Chien, who are also passionate about seeing more diversity in media, met up to figure out how we could help. We’re technologists, but we believe media is important and influential and wanted to see if we could have an impact. How could we better help support diverse storytelling — both in traditional and online media? How could we help Asian Americans be portrayed as more than the ninja, the nerd, the doctor, the dominatrix? How could we support stories that helped display Asian Americans and all ethnic Americans as who we are — Americans.
So thus the A3 Foundation was conceived. Our mission is to foster and support emerging Asian American artists in the media. Our philosophy is to invest in people. We take bets on the most promising young artists and provide them funding, mentors, and resources to take their skills to the next level.
Through this last year, we funded three fellows through the A3 Fellowship program and placed with them with two online digital powerhouses: Wong Fu Productions and Justin Lin’s online channel, YOMYOMF. Learn more about our fellows and our program here.
Today, we’re excited to launch a second program in collaboration with the prestigious Sundance Institute, which has a history of educating and supporting talented up and coming artists. Together, we are doing more outreach to the Asian American community and supporting an Asian American fellow for their prestigious Screenwriting or Directing Lab in 2013 or January 2014. Over 2,000 screenwriters and directors apply for these labs, for just ~25 spots and we’re excited to be working together with them to support Asian American storytelling. Learn more about Sundance’s Screenwriter’s Lab and Director’s Lab.
We’re excited to build and support this community, but we can’t do it alone. If you’d like to get involved or donate, please contact us.
We hope this is just the beginning of a future that more accurately represents the diversity of stories of Americans today.
A3 Foundation, Co-founder