Entering the sixth year of HBO Max’s celebrated APA 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 main goal of HBO Max’s Asian Pacific American Visionaries campaign was to continue developing the platform’s audience of Asian Pacific American storytellers and driving awareness and engagement of the annual Visionaries Short Film Competition. We wanted to enhance the perception of the Visionaries Short Film Competition as a premier program for filmmakers, and create touchpoints with subgroups that may be underrepresented in previous targeting such as Southeast Asians, South Asians, Pacific Islanders, millennials, and Gen Z. We also wanted to fortify an alumni/community network of previous winning Visionaries and provide them industry visibility and opportunities.
At the LA premiere of the three winning short films, HBO Max produced a one-of-a-kind reception/screening experience at the rooftop of NeueHouse Hollywood & DGA Theater. The rooftop space was designed to transport guests into the look and feel of a night market in Asia.
As Amrit (DJ) provided music throughout the night, guests enjoyed bites served by local AAPI-owned restaurants curated in partnership with Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate, an organization founded by chefs Tim Ma and Kevin Tien that brings together the culinary world to support AAPI social justice causes. Through this partnership, HBO Max contributed funds to CSAH to help aid AAPI-owned restaurants and small businesses affected by anti-AAPI hate crimes.
Continuing further into the event space, guests interacted with the night market-inspired games where giveaway prizes stashed inside custom APAV-branded tote bags included AAPI-owned brands. As the evening began to wind down, singer and songwriter Audrey Mika took to the stage to close out the night with an engaging performance set.
Building off the success and excitement of the LA premiere event, HBO Max brought the night market theme and celebration of APA Visionaries to NYC through a screening and reception event at Chelsea Factory.
Similar to the LA event, the local AAPI-owned restaurant partners – Bessou, Desi Galli, Eat Gai, and Saigon Social – were curated in partnership with local organization, Heart of Dinner, which combats food insecurity and isolation within NYC’s elderly AAPI community by delivering care packages of hot lunches paired with a handwritten note in their native language to bring warmth and comfort.
Towards the end of the night, hip-hop artist Bohan Phoenix took to the stage to open with an energetic set while the headliner Joyce Wrice closed out the performances with the crowd singing and dancing along to the music.
At the Los Angeles HBO Max APA Visionaries experience, over 428 guests attended the screening at DGA Theater and reception at NeueHouse Hollywood.
The event was a hit on social media with 253+social posts that garnered over 4.88MM social media impressions and 15.8K engagements to date.
Notable attendees in the room included Nicole Kang, Leenda Dong, Sukki Menon, David Nguyen, Seema Hari, Meeka Hossain, Kevin Lee
In New York City, over 185 guests attended the screening and reception event at Chelsea Factory, social media posts from the event numbered over 253+ social posts, generating 2.09MM impressions and 99K engagements to date.
Notable attendees in the room included Jennifer Mika, Kang Hee Kim, Jainil Mehta, Trisha Tsakhuja-Walla, Ashni Mehta, Eugenie Grey, Mimi Zhu, and Leo Chan.
The event series 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, 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.