DMG President Chris Fenton Joins US-Asia Institute Board

DMG President Chris Fenton Congressman Billy Long H
US-Asia Institute

The Chinese studio's top U.S.-based exec will advise lawmakers on the role the entertainment industry can play in diplomacy with China.

Chris Fenton, president of Chinese film studio DMG Entertainment's North American operations, has joined the US-Asia Institute's board of trustees. The Washington D.C.-based organization says it is bringing in Fenton -- its first member from the film business -- to increase understanding of the role the entertainment industry can play in diplomacy with China.

"When it comes to movie-making, every U.S.-China collaboration is as much an act of diplomacy as it is a form of artistic expression and an extremely smart piece of business," Fenton said in a statement. "The US-Asia Institute creates an amazing conduit for spreading that message."

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The US-Asia Institute, based on Capitol Hill, was established 35 years ago as a nongovernmental organization to serve as an independent voice on the relationship among the U.S., China, and the countries of East and Southeast Asia. The institute has relationships with Congress, the White House, various think tanks and the broader business community.

Fenton runs DMG's North American business via Los Angeles. DMG was co-founded by its American CEO Dan Mintz and Chinese partners Wu Bing and Peter Xiao in Beijing in 1993. After several successful domestic Chinese film projects, including The Founding of a Republic (2009) and Go Lala Go (2010), the company has become a leading player in cross-market collaboration with Hollywood, co-producing Iron Man 3 with Marvel Disney and the upcoming Johnny Depp sci-fi vehicle, Transcendence, with Alcon.

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Marlon Young, the US-Asia Institute's chairman added: "We recognized the significance of the media and entertainment industry's growth in the Pacific Rim area of the world, particularly China, and the fact that the industry at large is responsible for some of the United States' top exports. Aiding awareness inside the Beltway and beyond of this growing trade opportunity not only supports the U.S. economy, but it also fosters stronger diplomacy [among] the U.S., China, and other East Asia countries by promoting collaborative efforts in the arts."

The Institute says that Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), a longtime friend of Fenton's, first connected DMG to the organization, to share insights from the company's experience in China with U.S. lawmakers. DMG has previously hosted U.S. delegations at its Beijing headquarters and acted as a liaison with local government and industry figures.

"We look forward to Chris strengthening our ties to Hollywood as well as continuing his efforts with us on the ground in mainland China and beyond," Young added.

On the Institute's board, Fenton joins senior banking executives such as Young, HSBC's private bank CEO, and Citi private bank managing director Kent Lucken, as well as Beltway figures, including former senior Bush Administration member Benjamin Wu and six other standing trustees.