HomeBad Ass AsiansHBO Sponsors Asian Pacific American Visionaries Short Film Competition

HBO Sponsors Asian Pacific American Visionaries Short Film Competition

HBO Visionaries

By Ed Diokno
Do you think that someone has noticed the rising number of Asian American directors helming some of today’s commercially successful and critically acclaimed movies?


Maybe that’s why HBO is launching a talent search especially directed at AAPI filmmakers.


“At a time when the most personal of stories are also the most universal, the diversity of our storytellers is more important than ever,” stated Jackie Gagne, VP Multicultural Marketing at HBO. “Our competition is designed to celebrate the unique experiences and unsung talent that exist within the Asian Pacific American community.”


Sure, we have a ways to go to achieve any sort of parity, but we also have to admit, Hollywood has never seen this level of influence of Asian and AAPI directors and producers.


A lot of it has to do with America’s moviemakers trying to make their product more appealing to the Asian market, which if it reaches its potential, would dwarf the American market. Along the way, studios led by decision-makers unfamiliar with Asia, have made some embarrassing, and frankly, stupid, mistakes.



At any rate, studios can no longer say there isn’t any talent among AAPI filmmakers, Just to name a few:  Justin Lin (Star Trek Beyond and Fast & Furious), Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding), Ang Lee (Life of Pi and the forthcoming Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, John Chu (Crazy Rich Asians), James Wan (Aquaman), Taiki Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), Wayne Wang (Joy Luck Club, Because of Winn Dixie), Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham, Paris, Je T’aime), James Wan (The Conjuring) and Cary Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation & he’s in negotiations for HBO’s Napoleon).


HBO Asian Pacific American Visionaries is a short film competition sponsored by Home Box Office, Inc. (“HBO”) that provides emerging directors of Asian and/or Pacific Islander descent (one with origins in any of the peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, Indian subcontinent or Pacific Islands (e.g., China, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands and Samoa) the opportunity to showcase their work.
Judged by HBO executives and a panel of industry experts, the competition seeks to identify cinematic storytellers who offer unique perspectives of the Asian Pacific American experience.
Three films will be selected to make their premiere at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in April 2017 and the directors will be  offered the opportunity to license their film to premiere exclusively on HBO (and/or its on-demand, digital and/or social platforms) during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May 2017.
Winners will be announced in January 2017. Film premieres will be at HBO’s sole discretion.

To help publicize the contest, HBO has produced a promotional video, below, featuring Silicon Valley star Jimmy O. Yang encouraging AAPI directors to submit their films.

“It’s inspiring to see a global entertainment brand like HBO take a leadership role in creating opportunities for Asian Pacific American filmmakers,” said Francis Cullado, executive director of Visual Communications, the organization that produces the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. “The exposure provided for the winners of this competition is truly incredible and worthy of our community’s full support.”



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  1. RE: HBO sponsors Asian Pacific American Visionaries Short Film Competition: China has noticed. A billionaire from China is set to purchase 2 studios in Hollywood.


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