Undergraduate Alumna Mason Speta '17 Part of Team that Brought ‘Parasite’ to the US

BY Felix van Kann, March 3, 2020

Columbia University undergraduate film alumna Mason Speta ‘17 works on acquisitions at the film distribution company Neon and was thus part of the team that brought Parasite to the United States. The South Korean Oscar-winner has been a great investment for its distributor, earning a total of $227 million worldwide and $51 in US gross.


According to Indiewire’s Zach Sharf, “Neon picked up U.S. distribution rights to Parasite based on the strength of Bong’s script.”


The film debuted at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and took home the Palme d’Or as the first South Korean film to ever do so. It went on to win four Academy Awards including Best Film, Best Directing, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film. It was the first non-English speaking film to secure the Best Film Academy Award. 


Parasite introduces the viewer to the Park Family: the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim Family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide “indispensable” luxury services while the Parks obliviously bankroll their entire household. When a parasitic interloper threatens the Kims’ newfound comfort, a savage, underhanded battle for dominance breaks out, threatening to destroy the fragile ecosystem between the Kims and the Parks.


According to the distributor’s website, “NEON is an award winning independent film distribution studio founded in 2016. Its debut film was Nacho Vigalondo’s Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis. NEON was an active player at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, acquiring Reinaldo Marcus Green’s Monsters & Men, winner of the Sundance Dramatic Special Jury Award for Outstanding First Feature; Sam Levinson’s Assassination Nation; and Tim Wardle’s Three Identical Strangers, winner of the Sundance Special Jury Award for Storytelling.” Neon has received a total of 12 Academy Award nominations: Three nominations for I, Tonya (winning Best Supporting Actress for Allison Janney in 2018), one for Border (Best Makeup and Hairstyling, 2019) as well as two for Honeyland (2020) and six for Parasite (2020).