This image features Mas Moriya, an Asian American and Japanese American filmmaker. He is pictured with a warm and engaging smile, standing in front of a vibrant yellow backdrop that complements his yellow hoodie, layered beneath a dark denim jacket. His casual yet thoughtful style, along with his personable demeanor, reflects the creative and approachable nature characteristic of his work and public persona.

Masami 'Mas' Moriya

Founder's
Story

From filmmaker & photographer to thought leader, Masami Moriya dedicates his life to changing Hollywood for Asian Americans

Raised in Ontario, California, Mas, a UC Riverside graduate, found his first creative outlet in New York as an assistant editor in a windowless office in Times Square. His street photography landed him a job as Alicia Key’s Photographer during 2016 European tour and regular family events.

A turning point came with the 2016 election. Mas transitioned into protest photography, creating Rogue Photo, a nonprofit photo agency connecting photographers with nonprofits. This pivot set him on a path of non-profit entrepreneurship fueled by his dedication to activism.

Exploring his Japanese-American heritage led him back to California and into TV and film production. When the pandemic hit, Mas, alongside Emi Kamemoto, ignited ‘Strong Asian Lead’ from his parents’ garage. The virtual movement turned film school, despite the challenges, became known for honoring Asian-American legacies and cultivating community.

Now, Mas carves compelling stories as a screenwriter, focusing on Asian American historical dramas. An entrepreneur, philanthropist, and speaker at heart, he actively collaborates with Asian-American non-profits and communities, aspiring to make an impact.

Living with his cats, Kitaro and Maki, in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, Mas has devised the innovative “Sensei Strategy” to empower others to steer their careers. As the driving force behind Strong Asian Lead, Mas is more than a storyteller. He’s an instigator of dialogue, defying norms, and an architect of Asian-American representation in Hollywood. 

What Can Masami do for you?

Born while the industry faced an 'existential crisis'

Breaking into Hollywood requires strong networks and industry recognition, a task daunting for those on the fringe. Rare on-set networking opportunities make industry progression a formidable task. Online screenwriting contests emerge as an option, but their narrow pathway presents limited success, particularly for Asian American hopefuls.

The chance of an Asian American writer winning these contests, including the few dedicated to this demographic, is under 1%. Mas knew relying solely on these contests wouldn’t get him noticed. He needed a strategy bypassing these traditional gatekeepers, allowing his impactful stories to reach and educate the audience.

Masami realized the scant resources available for Asian American creatives. This lack highlighted the need for a new strategy to empower not only him but also other Asian American creatives striving for industry recognition.

That’s when Strong Asian Lead was formed.

During the pandemic’s peak, Mas Moriya and Emi Lea Kamemoto ignited the Strong Asian Lead movement from a laptop in Mas’s parent’s garage. Their aim: to transform the entertainment industry and uplift creatives of Asian, Indian, Pacific Islander, and West Asian descent.

Mas and Emi tirelessly refined their business plan on Clubhouse, exchanging ideas and forming collaborations. Despite hurdles, including Emi’s departure due to burnout and the shocking Atlanta shootings, Mas persevered. His efforts culminated in signing with his first manager, breaking the traditional filmmaking path for Asian American screenwriters in Hollywood.

Today, Strong Asian Lead provides a platform where these creatives can access educational resources and build successful entertainment careers. It’s not just a platform but a movement to inspire, educate, and empower the next generation to challenge norms and enhance representation in the entertainment industry.

Today, Mas coaches emerging artists on how to plan their long-term careers in Hollywood and how to invest in themselves for a sustainable future.