With nearly two decades of experience in the motion picture industry, Nina Yang Bongiovi has gained a positive reputation for having an in-depth knowledge of film financing, creative and physical producing, and a knack for discovering talent, like that of Ryan Coogler (Marvel’s “Black Panther”), whose first film, “Fruitvale Station” (2013) was produced by Nina and her producing partner, Forest Whitaker. Together under their banner, Significant Productions, Nina and Forest have produced a number of critically-acclaimed films by auteur filmmakers of color, including “Dope” (2015) by Rick Famuyiwa, “Songs My Brothers Taught Me” (2015) by Chloe Zhao, “Roxanne Roxanne” (2018) by Michael Larnell and “Sorry To Bother You” (2018) by Boots Riley.
Nina’s mission is to create opportunities and inclusivity for underserved and underrepresented storytellers by producing culturally significant films and television shows. She is currently executive producing the premium series, “Godfather of Harlem,” which will premiere on EPIX this fall. She’s also in active development of the Angela Davis feature biopic with Lionsgate alongside a slate of projects that she loves.
Nina is a board member of Film Independent, The Oscar Grant Foundation, Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE), The Producers Guild of America (PGA), as well as a member of The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences’ (AMPAS) Producers Branch. She is fluent in Mandarin, Chinese, and received her graduate degree in Entertainment Management from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California.
In the last year, what has been your proudest accomplishment?
Launching Boots Riley’s revolutionary movie, “Sorry to Bother You.” To see Boots thriving as a filmmaker today makes me super proud.
How has your ethnic identity impacted you personally or your career?
My ethnic identity has impacted my career because I have a very different perspective pursuing a career in film entertainment. We’re the underdogs that fly under the radar, and when excellent films are launched [since “Fruitvale Station”], people are often surprised that an Asian American woman is the lead producer behind these movies that shifted culture.
Who are some of your biggest supporters and trusted advocates throughout your journey?
Biggest supporters (aside from my loved ones) are Forest Whitaker and couple of my close friends who’s seen me struggle but persevere through it all.