Join us for a conversation with Dr. Steve Arounsack, visual anthropologist and lead cultural advisor for Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Raya and the Last Dragon. Dr. Arounsack will be discussing his role in the film and the importance of Southeast Asian representation in the media.
About Dr. Steve ArounsackDr. Steve Arounsack is an award-winning professor and filmmaker with a strong background in community storytelling and digital media production. In particular, he is interested in the proliferation of Southeast Asian media and the representation of those regional cultures. His ethnographic research in Southeast Asia spans roughly 30 years.Dr. Arounsack served as the visual anthropologist and lead cultural advisor for Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Raya and the Last Dragon, the studio’s first feature film inspired by Southeast Asian cultures. With over 20 years of media experience across the production spectrum, his films have showcased on PBS and at prominent Asian American film festivals, and his interactive kiosks have appeared at national exhibitions. He directed Getting Lao’d, the seminal documentary about the modern music and film revolution in Laos; he also served as the co-director of the Between 2 Worlds project: Untold Stories of Refugees from Laos. The recipient of a coveted Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) documentary grant, he produced Next Gen Asian American Art, a documentary that won multiple awards and aired across the nation on PBS affiliates.Dr. Arounsack was part of the inaugural class of national Gates Millennium Scholars and won a prestigious Sony Electronics award for innovative teaching. Dr. Arounsack is a professor of cultural anthropology at California State University, Stanislaus and currently serves as the director of the Keck Visual Anthropology Lab (KVAL), one of the most advanced of its kind in the country.