CIM Group executive A.J. Canada is getting to use some knowledge she’s learned working for the real estate investment giant to help launch a film series in Los Angeles aimed at building a bridge between those inside and outside of the Korean American community.
Canada, who served as a fellow last year in the Network of Korean American Leaders, worked with fellow NetKAL class members Jen Kim and Sooj Park for nearly a year to create Korean Movie Night, an outdoor film series they expect to launch at downtown Los Angeles’ Gloria Molina Grand Park. NetKAL is a five-month educational forum for second-generation Koreans and those who emigrated to the United States from Korea while they were young children or teenagers, designed to enhance their leadership capabilities and appetite for civic engagement.
The increasing popularity of Korean cinema and television dramas is part of the reason Canada, Kim and Park came up with the idea. The other part centered on the lack of an outdoor movie festival dedicated to Korean films in Los Angeles, a metropolitan area with the largest Korean American population at more than 326,000 residents, according to the Pew Research Center.
“Representation matters. We thought an event that celebrates Korean cinema and culture with the greater community should exist so we made it happen,” Kim, the group’s head of partnerships, said in a statement. “We are very thankful to our sponsors and supporters for believing in us and helping bring our vision to life.”
When it came to selecting a site to host the film series, Canada said she, Park and Kim explored potential venues across Los Angeles. They ultimately picked the downtown park because they felt the location would provide the opportunity for Korean Americans and the greater community to experience Korean culture and community through the film series. “When we toured the site and saw the signage with `the park for everyone’ in so many languages, we knew it was the perfect spot for us,” Canada said in an email.
CIM is a sponsor of the Korean Movie Night series that kicks off June 17 with a screening of “Parasite,” a film directed by Bong Joon-Ho. Bong and his movie won four awards at the 2020 Oscars, including best picture and best director. The trio’s plan for the series calls for it expanding to other markets in coming years, Canada said.