New Film Production Company Centers Stories From People of Color

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Feb 25, 2020

A brand new production collective, the AUM Group, was launched by several Asian American film and tech leaders, with producer Nina Yang Bongiovi (“Godfather of Harlem”) and Gold House chairman Bing Chen leading the charge, The Hollywood Reporter reported February 24. AUM will directly fund films created by people of color.

"If artists of color can come together as one community, we can really make some changes in our industry," Yang Bongiovi told THR. "And that’s really the goal of the multicultural fund. When we are able to support African-American artists, as well as Asian-American artists, Indigenous artists, Latinx artists, that’s going to give us strength in shifting culture."

According to THR, the idea was drafted during the 2018 box office boom of "Crazy Rich Asians." Its success gave Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin and others the idea to track the financial success of films created by and for people of color to help illustrate future viability. The way Yang Bongiovi sees it, people of color have been making great television and films for years, only to be offered less money than their White counterparts, and she’s closing the curtain on that system.

"We don’t have to be at the mercy of a green light committee. We’ll go, ‘And you’re going to acquire it, and at a premium.’ No more lowballing us or telling us our projects are worth less, because we have funding that will not only fund development, but also production," Yang Bongiovi said.

"For the last 10 years, we’ve been taking the lion’s share of every project that we believe in because every other investor is scared to death. So we’ll take the lion’s share [at AUM Group] and say, ‘Come along with us. See how we produce, launch careers and treat our artists.’ And you can actually be profitable while shifting the culture in Hollywood."