HBO’s Fifth Annual Asian Pacific American Visionaries Short Film Competition Selects its Winners

It’s that time of year again!

HBO has announced the three finalists of the fifth annual Asian Pacific American Visionaries, a short film competition showcasing stories told by directors of Asian and Pacific Islander (APA) descent. Out of hundreds of submissions, the judges, made up of HBO executives, industry leaders, and fellow APA filmmakers.

The theme this year was “Taking the Lead” and all three winning films really exemplified what it means to ‘take the lead’. Filmmakers Jess X. Snow (Little Sky), Jesse Gi (Neh), and Urvashi Pathania (Unmothered), will premiere their films during the 2021 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, presented by Visual Communications, on Saturday, September 25. In addition to the festival premiere, HBO Max will debut the films on September 27.

NEH by Jesse Gi

Established in 2016 by HBO, APA Visionaries provides a platform for Asian Pacific American stories to be told and help push the dialogue on representation in Hollywood.

“I’m very proud of this year’s contestants. The filmmakers were able to showcase authentic stories with such intimacy, and oftentimes humor, exploring complex family dynamics, and overcoming personal and generational trauma,” said Jamie Chung, APA Visionaries 2021 Ambassador, in a press statement. “Through these shorts we are left feeling inspired and hopeful. Congratulations to this year’s contestants and winners!”

Little Sky by Jess X. Snow

The finalists consists of Jess X. Snow, a non-binary filmmaker, artist, poet, and community arts educator who creates queer Asian immigrant stories that transcend borders, binaries, and time. In Little Sky, a non-binary Chinese-American drag sensation returns to their home town to confront their estranged father about the childhood memories that continue to haunt them.

Jesse Gi is a second generation Korean American writer and director who focuses on extraordinary endurance, sacrifice, and unflinching ambition influenced by his immigrant family and community. He is no stranger to short films. He has written, produced, and directed festival-selected short films – BEAM, a grounded sci-fi drama about a teleporting thief and NEH, a comedy-drama about a Korean-American with no fluent Korean language skills and attempts to hide it while on a date.

Unmothered by Urvashi Pathania

Urvashi Pathania is a writer /director who explores emotions as a pathway to knowledge. Currently in Lena Waithe’s Writers’ Lab, Pathania wrote and directed Unmothered, a story of an Indian American woman who is forced to go back to “the old country” to scatter her mother’s ashes and learns so much about the family she took for granted.

Little Sky, NEH, and Unmothered will premiere on HBO Max on September 27.