Profession: Movie Producer
Birthplace: Long Island, New York
Position: Independent Producer; President of Ixtlan Films, Los Angeles
Having grown up on Long Island, Janet Yang didn’t have to go far to get her MBA from Columbia University. She began her professional career in Beijing as a translator and editor for the Foreign Languages Press Office, the official publishing arm of the Chinese government.
Returning to the U.S., she ran World Entertainment in San Francisco, a firm involved in importing and distributing films from Hong Kong and China. World Entertainment led her to a position with Steven Speilberg on his film, Empire of the Sun. She moved from there to become a production executive position at Universal Studios, then to her position heading up the business end of Ixtlan, where she developed and produced movies like Joy Luck Club and laid the ground work for Dragon: Bruce Lee Story.
Most recently Yang has partnered with Lisa Henson to work independently on film projects. A recent fruit of their efforts is Zero Effect (Jan 1998), an offbeat detective movie written and directed by heavyweight Jake Kasdan and starring Bill Pullman and Ben Stiller.
Yang’s biggest problem is the same one that plagues every busy professional in more mundane professions — never having enough hours in the day. “Follow your heart,” is her advice to young professionals.
Yang lives in Los Angeles, and is single with no children. Hiking, yoga, meditating, music, dance and reading are her favorite escapes from the intensive grind of putting together major movies.