The CJC Stronger Together: Diversity Committees United

June 22, 2021 A DGA Asian American Committee Virtual Event

On June 22, the Asian American Committee’s (AAC) meeting featured the panel discussion, The CJC Stronger Together: Diversity Committees United, a conversation with members from the Committee of Joint Co-Chairs (CJC), a group that brings together the co-chairs of the African American Steering Committee (AASC), Asian American Committee (AAC), Eastern Diversity Steering Committee (EDSC), Focus on Women Committee (FOWC), Latino Committee (LC), and the Women’s Steering Committee (WSC).

In a conversation moderated by moderated by AAC Co-Chair Kai Kim, LC Co-Chair Regina Ainsworth, WSC Co-Chairs Maria Burton and Liz Ryan, AASC Co-Chair Jeff Byrd, FOWC Co-Chair Annetta Marion and AAC Co-Chair Lily Mariye discussed their groups’ continued commitment to building communities within the Guild consisting of members of ethnic or gender groups that are underrepresented in the entertainment industry. They spoke about the importance of these committees working together to increase diversity and inclusion in the industry through meetings, seminars, networking, training and events. The panelists also gave updates on what each diversity committee is currently working on and encouraged everyone to do their part to help grow these communities in leadership positions in the Guild.

After the moderated portion of the event, the panelists took questions from the online audience. EDSC/FOWC Co-Chair Joyce Thomas was unable to attend.

Video from this discussion coming soon to the gallery below.

Regina AinsworthDirector Regina Ainsworth (Latino Committee Co-Chair)
A DGA member since 2015, Ainsworth was a driving force behind 2020’s Diversity and Inclusion Summit at the DGA and serves on the Committee of Joint Co-Chairs. She has also served two terms as a co-chair of the Latino Committee (LC), and prior to being elected co-chair, served as a co-coordinator for events for the LC, and as a co-coordinator for Proposals for the WSC for two terms. Ainsworth’s credits include two independent pilots The Project and Law & Order: The Musical, two dramatic shorts Better Together and Breaking Glass, a supernatural horror short Perchance to Dream, a feature length documentary Red Dog & Bates.


Maria BurtonDirector Maria Burton (Women’s Steering Committee Co-Chair)
Named by Variety as a “talent to watch,” Burton has directed six feature films including Just Friends, Temps, Manna from Heaven, A Sort of Homecoming and For the Love of George. Other directing projects include the documentary Sign My Snarling Movie about the popular a cappella singing group, The Bobs; the short film Stephen Kanner: A Retrospective, about the visionary architect; and the web series Old Guy. Through her production company, Five Sisters Productions, which she formed with her real-life siblings, Burton has also worked on social and political campaigns including commercials for the #MarchingForward viral video, the Mamas for Obama campaign and the campaign for the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking. She has been a DGA member since 2014.


Jeff ByrdDirector Jeff Byrd (African American Steering Committee Co-Chair)
Byrd made his debut with the short film Breakdown in 1997. He would go on to direct the features King’s Ransom and A Beautiful Soul; the movies for television Seventeen Again and Jasper, Texas; and episodes of the series Dynasty, The Flash, Charmed, Black Lightning, Soul Food and Single Ladies. A DGA member since 1999, he has served on the Western Directors Council and previously served two terms as the AASC as Co-Chair from 2014 to 2018 and as the AASC Director category rep from 2018-2020.


Annetta MarionDirector Annetta Marion (Focus on Women Committee Co-Chair)
Marion is an award-winning director and Primetime Emmy-nominated showrunner who for the last decade has dedicated her life to the craft of making premium television and cultivating a taste for stories that both entertain and inspire. Annetta has created roughly 70 hours of premium television over the past decade. Her work spans high-end branded content, scripted comedy and drama, true crime series for Investigation Discovery and VH1, multi-cam episodes for NBC, and docs-series / specials for OWN, MTV, Netflix, Quibi, NASA and FaceBook; working with talent like Oprah, Nicki Minaj and Dwayne Johnson to aspiring actors to “real people.” A DGA member since 2009, Marion is a member of the Eastern Diversity Steering Committee, has served on the Eastern Directors Council and previously served as a chair of the Focus on Women Committee in its earlier format.


Lily MariyeDirector Lily Mariye (Asian American Committee Co-Chair)
Mariye’s directing credits include the feature film Model Minority; and episodes of Walking Dead: World Beyond, The Terror: Infamy, How to Get Away with Murder, Stumptown, Council of Dads, Chicago PD, MacGyver, NCIS: Los Angeles and Prodigal Son. She also earned a DGA Award-nomination in the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Programs category for her 2017 “Just Add Meddling” episode of the series Just Add Magic. A DGA member since 2015, Mariye has served as a co-chair of the Asian American Committee since 2018.


Liz RyanUPM Liz Ryan (Women’s Steering Committee Co-Chair)
Ryan honed her skills working alongside some of the most notable Directors in Hollywood. Starting as a DGA Trainee in New York City, she has since worked on over 70 movie and television productions throughout the world as a Director, Producer, Production Manager or Assistant Director. Her credits include features such as Frank Darabont’s The Green Mile, David Fincher’s Alien 3, and Christopher Guest’s Waiting for Guffmanand episodes of Station 19, Crazy Ex Girlfriend, The Office and Freak and Geeks. She is an elected member of the DGA National Board and the Western AD/UPM Council and is a member of the DGA Diversity Task Force. Prior to her work in Hollywood, Ryan worked as a reporter and photographer for Time Magazine and the New York Times. A DGA member since 1985, Ryan previously served as a Co-Chair of the WSC and in 2008 she was the recipient of the Frank Capra Achievement Award, which is given to an Assistant Director or Unit Production Manager in recognition of career achievement in the industry and service to the Guild.


Kai KimDirector Kai Kim (Moderator/Asian American Committee Co-Chair)
After launching his career in the entertainment industry in creature effects, custom props and as a camera operator with multiple Daytime Emmys for his camerawork on the daytime drama, The Young and The Restless, Kim began his directing career by helming multiple episodes for that series. A DGA member since 2014, he previously served as an alternate co-chair of the Asian American Committee from 2018-2020 and on the DGA Committee of Joint Co-Chairs participating in the 2020 DGA Diversity Summit.


About the Asian American Committee:

The Asian American Committee (AAC) was created as a networking group to provide a forum for interests and issues that concern Asian-American Guild members. Through outreach efforts in the entertainment industry that emphasize career development and skills enhancement, the committee provides a variety of networking opportunities as well as screenings, seminars and discussions with industry professionals. The current AAC Co-Chairs are Directors Kabir Akhtar, Kai Kim and Lily Mariye.


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