HBO Names Shannon Lee Ambassador For 2020 Visionaries Program, Sets Submission Dates For Short Film Competition

HBO’s 2020 Asian Pacific American Visionaries (APAV) short film competition has named Shannon Lee (Executive Producer on Cinemax’s Warrior) as this year’s ambassador, which will be accepting submissions starting September 15 at 9am PST.

Established in 2016, HBO Visionaries provides an unprecedented platform for emerging filmmakers to share their unique and diverse perspectives of the community. APAV serves to showcase cinematic storytellers of Asian and Pacific Islander descent awarding the top three winners the chance to have their work shown on HBO…and the cash prizes are the cherry on top. Their work will also be shown at the 2020 Los Angeles Asian Pacific FilmFestival.

Now in its fourth year, HBO is looking for works from storytellers that adhere to the theme of breaking barriers. “One of the most important ways that we lift each other up is by creating opportunity for one another – opportunity to share our intimate stories, opportunity to be seen and heard, opportunity to grow through one another,” said Lee. “HBO APA Visionaries is creating opportunities that didn’t exist for someone like my father back when he was making media in the 60s and 70s, and I am honored and grateful to be an ambassador for the program this year.”

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“At HBO, we are proud to be one of the industry players leading the conversation around diversity in the media,” added Jackie Gagne, VP Multicultural Marketing at HBO. “Heading into the fourth year of the Visionaries competition, we are excited to continue creating a platform for emerging APA filmmakers to showcase their talents and share their unique stories with a global audience.”

Lee, who is also the CEO of Bruce Lee Enterprises, joins the ranks of previous ambassadors including Insecure‘s Sujata Day, Westworld’s Leonardo Nam and Silicon Valley‘s Jimmy O. Yang.

This year’s finalists included Nirav Bhakta’s Halwa, So Young Shelly Yo’s Moon Walk With Me and Julie Zhan’s Zoetic with Bhakta taking the top prize for his short about an Indian woman who rekindles her relationship with a childhood sweetheart through Facebook messages, but her abusive husband takes notice. The film was co-directed by Gayatri Bajpai.

Below are the guidelines for submissions.

  • Film submissions must be live action narratives (no documentaries or animation)
  • Running time: 10-15 minutes, inclusive of credits
  • Films must have been directed by a person of Asian or Pacific Islander descent
  • Director must be a resident of one of the 50 United States or Washington, D.C.
  • Films must be in the English language or contain English subtitles (common phrases acceptable)
  • Films must not be publicly available online through 5/31/20
  • Films must have commenced principal photography on or after January 1, 2019
  • Films must not have had any previous exhibition on broadcast or cable
  • Employees of HBO and other WarnerMedia entity and their immediate family members are not eligible to participate

All submissions are due by December 1 at 11:59 p.m. PST.  Judges for the competition include HBO executives and representatives from leading Asian American media organizations including the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) and Visual Communications.

Watch the video announcement for the short film competition below.


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