Short narrative film jury
Maggie Lee (she/her) is a Seattle playwright who creates diverse, imaginative new worlds in genres like science fiction, horror and adventure. Her plays have been produced in Seattle, New York, Seoul, Chicago and San Francisco. Recently, her play Sheathed was the recipient of the 2019 Gregory Award for Outstanding New Play, and was also a semi-finalist for the 2018 Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Maggie is a board member of Rain City Projects (an organization that supports playwrights in the Pacific Northwest), an Artistic Associate with Macha Theatre Works, and a member of the Dramatists Guild. Her plays are available on New Play Exchange and published by Mneme Press.
Matt Chan knows that storytelling begins with the audience – an idea that has driven his 45 years of award-winning success in the television industry. Chan has worked in every facet of the industry, from operating television stations to running national television series. In 1998, he started Screaming Flea Productions where he created hits like A&E’s Hoarders, landing him a spot as one of the very few people of color on the Hollywood Reporter’s Top 50 Reality Power Producers list. His newest passion is to give back to the community, training and educating new generations of citizen journalists and storytellers for the new world of media.
Monyee Chau is a queer Taiwanese/Chinese American artist. She received her BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in 2018. Monyee works with themes of ancestral healing, decolonization, and community building through multiple media, from graphic illustration to sculpture. She has exhibited at Pilchuck Glass School, Bellevue Arts Museum and Wing Luke Museum, and has curated various DIY exhibitions throughout Seattle and internationally.
Priya Frank is the Associate Director for Community Programs, and Equity Team Founding Chair at Seattle Art Museum, where her focus is on strategic partnerships, program curation, and racial equity related initiatives. Priya is Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission, and is a graduate of Leadership Tomorrow’s class of 2015. She was named one of 2018’s Most Influential People by Seattle Magazine, Puget Sound Business Journal’s 2019 40 under 40 list, and is a member of the 2020 Harvard Business School Young American Leaders program.
Short documentary film jury
Martin Tran is a Seattle-based community arts organizer. For four years he was honored to serve as a co-director of the Seattle Asian American Film Festival and currently works as the project manager for ACES: Artists of Color Expo; a POC-led art conference featuring performances, exhibits, workshops, presentations and open forums. Martin is also a filmmaker – his short films Phởmily Feud and American Girl have played in film festivals across North America. Most recently he co-produced the award-winning short film Sepulcher, which has just begun its festival run. His passion for telling stories, and for creating space for others to tell their stories, continues with his work as an Executive Producer on the Vanishing Seattle docuseries. Grown from a popular social media movement, this series documents the displaced and disappearing institutions, small businesses, and cultures of Seattle.
Mary Ann Midori Goto has been attending SAAFF since its inception and has never missed a festival. She has a 25-year career working in the nonprofit world, doing fund development for arts organizations such as the Broadway Center, the California Center for the Arts, and Town Hall. Mary Ann is currently development manager for Asian Counseling and Referral Service. She loves the progress SAAFF has made over the years and looks forward to enjoying more groundbreaking work this year.
SuYoung Yun is a queer-trans Korean-American organizer born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. They uplift the Asian and Pacific Islander political voice in Washington state through their work at APACE, Asian Pacific Islander Americans for Civic Empowerment. They spend their free time studying spiritual traditions and hope to become a Buddhist monk one day.
Feature film jury
Kayla Wong is a Seatte-raised, New York-based producer. With a degree in Film & TV Production from NYU Tisch, she started 8-Player Pictures, a NYC production company focused on untold stories. She previously worked at NBCUniversal, WNET New York Public Media, and Sesame Workshop. Currently, she is the Director of the Asian American International Film Festival, presented by the NYC media arts non-profit Asian CineVision.
Rita Meher is co-founder and executive director of Tasveer since its inception in March 2002. She leads the Tasveer South Asian Film Festival with a fierce passion and a relentless drive to bring to light the stories of South Asian Diaspora. Under her leadership, Tasveer was nominated for Seattle Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Arts in 2017.
Yuji Okumoto is a veteran actor of 40 years with nearly 100 productions under his name. He is best known for his breakout role in The Karate Kid, Part II as the iconic villain Chozen. Younger generations may know him from Disney hits such as Johnny Tsunami and Johnny Kapahala. Outside of the film industry, Yuji is a successful proprietor of Kona Kitchen, a Hawaiian-American restaurant and Seattle landmark for almost 18 years.