HBO on Wednesday announced the three finalists of the fourth annual Asian Pacific American Visionaries, a short film competition that showcases cinematic storytellers of Asian and Pacific Islander descent.
The finalists were selected from hundreds of submissions and were judged by a distinguished panel of HBO executives, industry leaders and fellow APA filmmakers. The three winning films exemplified this year’s competition theme: “Breaking Barriers.” Filmmakers Johnson Cheng (“Lonely Blue Night”), Thomas Percy Kim (“Si”), and Tiffany So (“Fine China”), will premiere their films during the virtual 2020 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, on September 25th at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET via HBOVisionaries.com.
Below is a description of the finalists and their films:
- Johnson Cheng (“Lonely Blue Night”) is a Chinese American filmmaker whose films have screened at over 100 international film festivals, including Tribeca, TIFF Kids, Atlanta, and Palm Springs (Best Student Film Award). He is a recipient of the Princess Grace Award, AT&T InspirASIAN Student Film Award, and HBO Visionaries. Johnson is an alumnus of Film Independent’s Project Involve, NYFF Artist Academy, Telluride Student Symposium, Reykjavík Talent Lab, Armed With a Camera Fellowship, and Columbia University’s M.F.A. Film Directing/Screenwriting program. “Lonely Blue Night is” a portrait of a Chinese family in which a mother and daughter reunite on one lonely blue night. Starring Diana Lin (“The Farewell”)
- Thomas Percy Kim (“Si”) started working on his first stop-motion animated short film, “Trejur” at the age of 14. By 17, it went on to receive over $11k in cash rewards from festivals and arts organizations. Currently, at 19, Thomas finished his live-action short film, “Si”, starring Ki Hong Lee, and is in development for a feature while attending USC for Film Production. “Si” is a story of an Asian-American boy who navigates micro-aggression with his friends through seemingly innocent jokes and games after baseball practice.
- Tiffany So (“Fine China”) is a Chinese-Canadian writer and director who is passionate about sharing personal stories in unexpected ways. She studied filmmaking at the University of Southern California. Her musical pilot, Limited Space, was featured in the New York Television Festival where it was granted the Development Deal Award from Bento Box Entertainment. “Fine China” follows a determined daughter as she uses music and dance to express all that goes unsaid in her Chinese household.
The APA Visionaries competition was established by HBO in 2016 to provide a platform for Asian Pacific American stories to further the dialogue about representation in Hollywood and the importance of diversity in entertainment.
“At HBO, we are proud to see how much theAPA Visionaries competition has grown and the impact it has created in the industry,” said Jackie Gagne, SVP Multicultural Marketing, WarnerMedia. “Heading into a year where we saw a vast increase in submissions, we are excited to continue elevating unique experiences and highlighting the unsung talent and diversity of storytellers that exists within the Asian Pacific American community.”
“Visual Communications is grateful to HBO for their commitment to amplifying our stories through HBO APA Visionaries,” Francis Cullado, Executive Director of Visual Communications, said. “From navigating microaggressions to intergenerational family dynamics, each film is a nuanced portrait of our experiences in America. We are excited to present the works of Johnson Cheng, Thomas Percy Kim, and Tiffany So with our creative communities.”
“I am so excited and giddy at the range and depth of talent for this year’s finalists. I hope this is only the first step for them toward successful careers in media!” Shannon Lee, CEO, The Bruce Lee Family Foundation and HBO APAV ‘s 4.0 Ambassador said.
In addition to the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, HBO will debut the films on HBO and available to stream on HBO Max.
Watch a trailer for the films above.