Janet Yang

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Janet Yang
Born (1956-07-13) July 13, 1956 (age 62)
OccupationProducer/Entertainment and Media Consultant
Years active1985-present
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese楊燕子
Simplified Chinese杨燕子

Janet Yang (born July 13, 1956) is a Hollywood producer.

Her award-winning film and TV credits include The Joy Luck Club, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Dark Matter, Indictment: The McMartin Trial, Zero Effect, Shanghai Calling, and High Crimes.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born Janet Yang in Queens, New York, Yang holds a B.A. from Brown University in Chinese studies and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.[2] Yang was President of World Entertainment in San Francisco. She revived this small, local distributor of Hong Kong films, expanded it into exhibition, and was able to garner exclusive representation rights in North America for all films produced in the People's Republic of China. These films included filmmakers Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige, among others. From there, Yang began her career in Hollywood.


Her first producing effort was the documentary film, East to West: America Through the Eyes of a Chinese. The film documents the journey by car across America of two Mainland Chinese students who meet ordinary, and some extraordinary (Muhammad Ali, Studs Terkel), Americans. Featured on Charles Kuralt's Good Morning, America, and sold to the Disney Channel to acclaimed reviews, East to West also brought together a cast and crew from greater China, including Director Ang Lee as its sound man.

Yang's career in Hollywood started when she was hired by several major studios to re-introduce American cinema to the Chinese marketplace after a long hiatus. From 1985 to 1987, she represented three major studios — Universal, Paramount, and MGM/United Artists — and was able to broker the first sale of American studio movies to China since 1949.

Yang got her start in production working closely with Steven Spielberg and his producers. In 1985, she was hired to be Spielberg's eyes and ears in China for the filming of the historic production of Empire of the Sun. She was responsible for liaising with both national and local levels of the Chinese government for its largest production to date. She then segued into a production position at Universal, supervising Spielberg's Amblin account.

From 1989 to 1996, Yang served as President of Ixtlan, the company she formed with Academy Award-winning Writer/Director Oliver Stone, spearheading all aspects of the company's development and production. At Ixtlan, she produced The People vs. Larry Flynt, starring Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, and Edward Norton, and directed by multiple Academy-Award-winning director Miloš Forman. The film won the 1996 Golden Globe Awards for Best Director and Best Screenplay, and garnered Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Actor.

Yang also served as executive producer of the groundbreaking film The Joy Luck Club, based on the best-selling novel by Amy Tan and directed by Wayne Wang.

Yang executive produced another seminal work for HBO, Indictment: The McMartin Trial for which she won both Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Made for Television Movie.

Following her seven-year stint at Ixtlan, she formed the Manifest Film Company with Lisa Henson. Manifest Productions include Carl Franklin's High Crimes, with Morgan Freeman; The Weight of Water, from Academy-Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow and starring Sean Penn; Zero Effect, starring Bill Pullman and Ben Stiller; and Savior starring Dennis Quaid.

In the last several years, Yang produced the acclaimed film Dark Matter, directed by Chen Shi-Zheng and starring Chinese actor Liu Ye and Meryl Streep. Dark Matter premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and won the prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Prize. In 2009, Yang was sought out by Disney Studios to produce High School Musical for Chinese audiences. Her last narrative feature was Shanghai Calling, a romantic comedy set in contemporary Shanghai. Yang's most recent work is as an Executive Producer on the film, Documented,[1] written and directed by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Jose Antonio Vargas.

Janet Yang recently left Tang Media Partners as Managing Director to pursue other opportunities. While there, she was a Managing Director in charge of creative content and production. TMP is founded by Donald Tang, who has long been an essential player in the Hollywood-China space. TMP's shareholders include Tencent, Huayi, Li Ruigang's China Media Capital and Neil Shen's Sequoia Capital.

Membership and community participation[edit]

Yang is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences;[3] a member of the Committee of 100, an organization of prominent Chinese-Americans; an advisory board member of Asia Society Southern California; the National Committee on US-China Relations and an advisory board member of CAPE, the Coalition of Asian-Pacific Americans in Entertainment. She has taught producing at the Sundance Institute and the Independent Feature Project. She is involved with a number of arts, community and political organizations. She is also now on the Executive Committee of the Producers Branch of the Academy. Janet is also a Co-Founder of Gold House, the most exclusive collective of influential Asians across entertainment, technology, lifestyle, and business.


Year Film Role
1984 East to West: America Through the Eyes of Chinese Producer
1987 Empire of the Sun Production Advisor
1991 Iron Maze Associate Producer
1992 Zebrahead Executive Producer
1992 South Central Producer
1993 The Joy Luck Club Executive Producer
1994 The New Age Co-Producer
1995 Indictment: The McMartin Trial Executive Producer
1995 Killer: A Journal of Murder Producer
1996 The People vs. Larry Flynt Producer
1998 Zero Effect Producer
1998 Savior Producer
2002 The Weight of Water Producer
2002 High Crimes Producer
2004 Kingdom Hospital Producer
2007 Dark Matter Producer
2008 Year of the Fish Executive Producer
2009 Qi Chuan Xu Xu[4] Executive Producer
2010 Chinese High School Musical Producer
2012 Shanghai Calling Producer
2013 One Night Surprise Producer
2014 Documented[1] Executive Producer


Yeah Award Work Organization
1993 The Golden Ring Award for Honoring Artistic Excellence The Asian American Arts Foundation
1994 Media Achievement Award MANAA
1994 Outstanding Corporate Executive Asian Business League
1994 Enzian Award for Creative Achievement Florida Film Festival
1995 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Made for Television Movie Indictment: The McMartin Trial The Television Academy
1995 Golden Globe Award for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television Indictment: The McMartin Trial The Hollywood Foreign Press Association
1996 30th Anniversary Visionary Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement for the Asian Pacific American Community EWP (East West Players)
2005 Asian American Achievement Award for Distinguished Movie Producer OCA (Organization of Chinese Americans, Inc.)
2013 Golden Angel Award for Best US-China Co-Production Film Shanghai Calling Chinese American Film Festival[5]
2013 Audrey Women of Influence Award[6] KoreAm Journal and Audrey Magazine


  1. ^ a b c "Documented".
  2. ^ Hirahara, Naomi. Distinguished Asian American Business Leaders. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 219–221.
  3. ^ "Asians in Hollywood Mobilizing With Launch of Facebook Page, Renewed Fight to Diversify Industry". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  4. ^ "Qi Chuan Xu Xu". https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1343717/?ref_=nm_flmg_prd_6. External link in |website= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help)
  5. ^ "Chinese American Film Festival".
  6. ^ "Audrey".

External links[edit]