HBO Max continually makes milestones in promoting greater diversity in the entertainment industry, both in front of and behind the camera. One such effort in this initiative is the Asian Pacific American (APA) Visionaries Short Film Competition, which seeks to identify, highlight, and support emerging APA filmmakers in sharing their diverse perspectives of the Asian and Pacific Islander community.
Entering the sixth year of HBO Max’s celebrated Asian Pacific American Visionaries Short Film Competition, we unveiled the program’s refreshed look-and-feel through two experiential activations in the key markets of Los Angeles and New York City. The multi-city, multi-tactic event series aimed to:
continue developing the platform’s audience of Asian Pacific American storytellers
drive awareness and engagement of the annual Visionaries Short Film Competition
encourage Asian Pacific American filmmakers to share their stories and submit to the competition
fortify the alumni/community network of previous winning Visionaries and provide them industry visibility and opportunities
Oftentimes, Asian Pacific American subgroups such as Southeast Asians, South Asians, Pacific Islanders, millennials, and Gen Z are underrepresented in films whether in front of or behind the camera and targeting efforts. Through the experiential activations, our goals were to:
create touchpoints for those subgroups
enhance the perception of the APA Visionaries Short Film Competition as a premier program for all Asian Pacific American filmmakers.
The 2022 HBO Max Asian Pacific American Visionaries campaign continued to build upon the platform created to build an audience and provide a voice for filmmakers in the APA community. The campaign put the spotlight on past, present and future APA filmmakers, thus building support around furthering representation and submitting their films about the APA experience to the competition.
By leveraging previous winners, network talent and influencers in the space, and incorporating several cultural themes and elements extending beyond the film industry, the event series celebrated the 2022 winning filmmakers through food, music, relationships and entertainment and created authentic and meaningful connections within the Asian Pacific American film community - positively impacting the next generation of filmmakers and supporting more representation throughout the industry.
We kicked off the HBO Max Asian Pacific American Visionaries event series in LA with a premiere of the three winning short films at DGA Theater and produced a one-of-a-kind reception at NeueHouse. Their rooftop space was designed to transport guests into a night market experience inspired by different countries in Asia.
As Amrit (DJ) provided music throughout the night, creatives and filmmakers enjoyed bites served by local AAPI-owned restaurants curated in partnership with Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate, an organization that brings together the culinary world to support AAPI social justice causes. Guests also interacted with night market-inspired games where giveaway prizes stashed inside custom APAV-branded tote bags included AAPI-owned brands. Singer Audrey Mika took to the stage to close out the night with an engaging performance.
We continued the night market theme and celebration of APA Visionaries in NYC through a screening of the winning short films and reception at Chelsea Factory. Local AAPI-owned restaurant partners were curated in partnership with Heart of Dinner, which combats food insecurity and isolation within NYC’s elderly AAPI community by delivering hot lunches paired with a handwritten note in their native language to bring warmth and comfort.
Hip-hop artist Bohan Phoenix took to the stage with an energetic set while the headliner Joyce Wrice closed out the experience.
The celebratory event series was a huge success and drove conversations amongst those within the AAPI community and awareness and engagement of the annual Visionaries Short Film Competition.
Over 428 guests attended the LA HBO Max APA Visionaries premiere screenings of the 3 winning short films at DGA Theater and reception at NeueHouse (including Nicole Kang, Leenda Dong and Sukki Menon). The event garnered 253+ social posts totaling over 4.88MM social media impressions and 15.8K engagements.
In NYC, over 185 guests attended the screening and reception at Chelsea Factory. Attendees included Jennifer Mika, Kang Hee Kim, Jainil Mehta, Ashni Mehta, Eugenie Grey, Mimi Zhu, and Leo Chan. The event garnered a total of 253+ social posts, generating 2.09MM impressions and 99K engagements.
We continued the goal of establishing and fostering the APA filmmaking community by providing opportunities for growth, storytelling, and increased representation throughout the larger industry.
By hosting activations through the event series in the major markets of NYC and LA, and incorporating engaging, authentic Asian Pacific American experiential elements, HBO Max was able to further extend its reach, subsequently garnering more attention to the initiative - which will lead to more applicants, community building and diversity throughout the industry.