HBO APA Visionaries Set Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Ablaze

The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival began April 28 with incredible success with the help of HBO’s Asian Pacific American Visionaries short film competition.

 Emerging Asian Pacific American directors Dinh Thai, Tiffanie Hsu, and Jingyi Shao were met with thunderous applause following the world premiere of their films. Each film dealt with personal and daunting issues facing the world and the Asian Pacific American culture specifically.  Race, family turmoil and responsibility, crime, addiction, and the importance of personal hygiene.

Dinh Thai’s “Monday” follows a young drug dealer through an average day. Consisting of being the sole provider for his terminal mother, crossing race lines, and struggling morally with his career choices while pursuing a love interest with a nasty drug history. Thai’s film brings a new look to a widely visited scene.  To say that the short entranced the audience would be a severe understatement. The film that could easily pass for high-quality HBO content now.

The sole female director, Tiffanie Hsu, also entertained audiences with her short “Wonderland”. Introducing a 12-year old girl who is drug down the rabbit hole by her mother into the world of gambling addiction and seeks escape with the help of a Las Vegas magician.

Director Jingyi Shao started the evening out with the vivid and disgusting opening shot of “Toenail”.  The film centers on an ambitious yuppie obsessed with an upcoming promotion and his relationship with his father whose ailments have silently slipped to the background until it’s too late.

[Left to right: Jingyi Shao (Toenail), Dinh Thai (Monday), Tiffanie Hsu (Wonderland), Leonardo Nam (Westworld), Jackie Gagne (VP of HBO Multicultural Marketing, Axel Caballero (Director of HBO Corporate Social Responsibility)]

The caliber of filmmaking in all three is notable. There to share in the three directors’ triumph was MC for the evening Jimmy O. Yang from Silicon Valley and Leonardo Nam from Westworld. Nam will also be the ambassador of HBO’s second APA Visionaries short film competition, which debuts this summer.

APA Visionaries is a great example of HBO’s industry leadership in not only furthering the dialogue about race and representation in Hollywood, but also taking action,” said Jackie Gagne, Vice President of HBO Multicultural Marketing.

Don’t worry! If you missed out on the film festival you can still catch up on the fun. To celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage month, all of the films are available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and HBO Zone throughout May!

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