CTFF 2019 OPENING REMARKS – BEE VANG

BEE VANG, at 16, held the leading Hmong American role as Thao Vang Lor in Clint Eastwood’s 2008 film Gran Torino. He subsequently performed in independent films and on stage at Brown University where he received a 2016 liberal arts degree in international politics, media and cultural studies. He also trained in China in techniques of Chinese opera and Japanese performance. Throughout this time, Vang engaged in social justice and media activism, and published works related to the visibility and inclusion of Southeast Asian Americans and, more broadly, Asian Americans in Hollywood and mainstream popular culture. His work covered such topics as representation, race, gender, sexuality, production, geopolitics, refugees, criminal justice, mass incarceration. Vang presented at multiple conferences related to these topics, and publicly lectured or gave workshops in over twenty venues, domestically and overseas including the University of Toronto, Beijing University, Minzu University, and Zhongshan University. Meanwhile, Vang worked at MSNBC with The Rachel Maddow Show in broadcast journalism, at The Economist in print journalism, and at First Look Media in documentary filmmaking with Laura Poitras. After several years working as a print journalist, nonfiction writer and policy researcher, he recently moved to LA to devote himself to acting, filmmaking and other creative pursuits.

(L-r) Walt Kowalski (CLINT EASTWOOD) and Thao (BEE VANG) in Warner Bros. Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

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