HBO Names Finalists for Asian Pacific American Visionaries Short Film Competition
9th September 2020

Films by Johnson Cheng, Thomas Percy Kim and Tiffany So will premiere during the virtual 2020 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and on HBO

HBO on Wednesday announced the three finalists of the fourth annual Asian Pacific American Visionaries, a short film competition that showcases cinematic storytellers of Asian and Pacific Islander descent.

The finalists were selected from hundreds of submissions and were judged by a distinguished panel of HBO executives, industry leaders and fellow APA filmmakers. The three winning films exemplified this year’s competition theme: “Breaking Barriers.” Filmmakers Johnson Cheng (“Lonely Blue Night”), Thomas Percy Kim (“Si”), and Tiffany So (“Fine China”), will premiere their films during the virtual 2020 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, on September 25th at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET via

Below is a description of the finalists and their films:

  • Johnson Cheng (“Lonely Blue Night”) is a Chinese American filmmaker whose films have screened at over 100 international film festivals, including Tribeca, TIFF Kids, Atlanta, and Palm Springs (Best Student Film Award). He is a recipient of the Princess Grace Award, AT&T InspirASIAN Student Film Award, and HBO Visionaries. Johnson is an alumnus of Film Independent’s Project Involve, NYFF Artist Academy, Telluride Student Symposium, Reykjavík Talent Lab, Armed With a Camera Fellowship, and Columbia University’s M.F.A. Film Directing/Screenwriting program. “Lonely Blue Night is” a portrait of a Chinese family in which a mother and daughter reunite on one lonely blue night. Starring Diana Lin (“The Farewell”)
  • Thomas Percy Kim (“Si”) started working on his first stop-motion animated short film, “Trejur” at the age of 14. By 17, it went on to receive over $11k in cash rewards from festivals and arts organizations. Currently, at 19, Thomas finished his live-action short film, “Si”, starring Ki Hong Lee, and is in development for a feature while attending USC for Film Production. “Si” is a story of an Asian-American boy who navigates micro-aggression with his friends through seemingly innocent jokes and games after baseball practice.
  • Tiffany So (“Fine China”) is a Chinese-Canadian writer and director who is passionate about sharing personal stories in unexpected ways. She studied filmmaking at the University of Southern California. Her musical pilot, Limited Space, was featured in the New York Television Festival where it was granted the Development Deal Award from Bento Box Entertainment. “Fine China” follows a determined daughter as she uses music and dance to express all that goes unsaid in her Chinese household.

The APA Visionaries competition was established by HBO in 2016 to provide a platform for Asian Pacific American stories to further the dialogue about representation in Hollywood and the importance of diversity in entertainment.

“At HBO, we are proud to see how much theAPA Visionaries competition has grown and the impact it has created in the industry,” said Jackie Gagne, SVP Multicultural Marketing, WarnerMedia. “Heading into a year where we saw a vast increase in submissions, we are excited to continue elevating unique experiences and highlighting the unsung talent and diversity of storytellers that exists within the Asian Pacific American community.”

“Visual Communications is grateful to HBO for their commitment to amplifying our stories through HBO APA Visionaries,” Francis Cullado, Executive Director of Visual Communications, said. “From navigating microaggressions to intergenerational family dynamics, each film is a nuanced portrait of our experiences in America. We are excited to present the works of Johnson Cheng, Thomas Percy Kim, and Tiffany So with our creative communities.”

“I am so excited and giddy at the range and depth of talent for this year’s finalists. I hope this is only the first step for them toward successful careers in media!” Shannon Lee, CEO, The Bruce Lee Family Foundation and HBO APAV ‘s 4.0 Ambassador said.

In addition to the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, HBO will debut the films on HBO and available to stream on HBO Max.

Watch a trailer for the films above.

22 Family-Friendly Movies Available to Stream on HBO, From 'Shazam' to 'Lego Movie 2' (Photos)

  • Stuck at home and in need of something to watch that your whole family can enjoy together? Let TheWrap help by highlighting family friendly movies that are available to stream, right now, on HBO NOW and HBO GO. From animated films like “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” to superhero movies like “Shazam!,” and classics like “The Mighty Ducks,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” and “Big,” there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy and plenty to keep kids distracted while parents are working from home.

  • Big (1988)

    The fantasy comedy film directed by the late Penny Marshall stars Tom Hanks as a tween turned into an adult after he makes a wish “to be big.” Somehow hs faking his own kidnapping doesn’t become a national panic.

  • The Little Rascals (1994)

    Based on the short films about rebellious kids from the 1930s, this 1994 movie keeps the nostalgic feeling of the original as it follows the exploits of Spanky, Alfalfa, and whole lovable gang.

  • Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018)

    A big-screen adaptation of the popular Cartoon Network series in which the titular adolescents do everything they can to make it — where else? — onto the big screen.

  • Little (2019)

    This funny, surprisingly heartfelt film is amplified by the talented Marsai Martin, who reminds us that she and other youth like her aren’t just adorable — they’ve got boss mentalities that cannot and should not be ignored.

  • Alpha and Omega: The Great Wolf Games (2014)

    All the alphas in the packs set aside their differences for some friendly competition. When an unexpected accident puts many of the pack’s star alpha wolves out of commission, a new team is assembled that includes forest friends not in the pack.

  • Shazam! (2019)

    By far the best movie based on a DC Comics title that isn’t “Superman: The Movie,” “Shazam” follows foster child Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who is chosen as “Champion of Eternity” by an ancient wizard (Djimon Hounsou) and granted the ability to transform into the superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi). With the help of his foster brother and superhero fanatic Freddy (Grazer), Billy learns to master his powers and takes them out for a joyride but is forced to get serious when his powers attract the interest of the twisted industrialist Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).

  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)

    The third and final installment in the attempt to turn “Chronicles of Narnia” in a franchise, the film follows Prince Caspian for a voyage on the majestic royal vessel known as The Dawn Treader, Lucy, Edmund, and their cousin Eustace encounter merfolk, dragons, dwarves, and a wandering band of lost warriors.

  • The Last Unicorn (1982)

    This melancholic animated classic follows a brave unicorn and a magician fighting an evil king obsessed with capturing the world’s unicorns.

  • Rio (2011)

    Blu, a domesticated male Spix’s macaw who is taken to Rio de Janeiro to mate with a free-spirited female Spix’s macaw, Jewel. The two eventually fall in love, and together they have to escape from being smuggled by Nigel, a cockatoo.

  • The Mighty Ducks (1994)

    Emilio Estevez stars as a Minneapolis lawyer sentenced to community service for a drunk-driving conviction. He begins coaching a pee-wee league hockey team made up of misfits and delinquents. Haunted by past shortcomings while on the ice, he tries to coach teamwork on the way to the cup.

  • The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)

    The sequel expands on the original’s premise, adding new worlds and characters to the growing Lego universe, while also crafting a story that is timely, touching, hilarious and perfect for all ages. The soundtrack, is also incredible so stick around through the closing credits.

  • Happy Feet Two (2011)

    The latest chapter of the penguin tale returns to Antarctica, reuniting us with the world’s most famous tap-dancing penguin, Mumble the love of his life, Gloria, and their old friends Ramon and Lovelace. Mumble and Gloria now have a son of their own, Erik, who is struggling to find his own particular talents in the colony.

  • Madagascar (2005)

    The animation is stunning and the stylized renderings of zoo animals are friendly-looking, the manic story feels like a bunch of one-liners strung together, peppered with bathroom humor. The jokes come courtesy of comic voice talents Chris Rock, Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer and Sacha Baron Cohen. The highlight is a song and dance sequence done by lemurs, where Cohen is king.

  • Babe (1995)

    Ugly cry-smiling when James Cromwell says “that’ll do, pig” doesn’t boost antibodies, but if does make you feel damn good.

  • Anastasia (1997)

    The animated film stars Meg Ryan and centers around an eighteen-year-old amnesiac orphan named Anya who, in hopes of finding some trace of her family, sides with con men who wish to take advantage of her likeness to the Grand Duchess.

  • Mr. Popper’s Penguin’s (2011)

    Jim Carrey stars in the film, which follows a high-powered New York businessman who inherits six penguins. The lovable creatures proceed to disrupt his personal and professional life, and in the process, teach him the importance of family and friendship.

  • Mr. Magoo (1997)

    Based on the bumbling near-sighted animated character, this film stars the late Leslie Nielsen, Magoo as a millionaire who refuses to admit that he needs glasses. After accidentally becoming the target in an international manhunt, Magoo continually escapes mishaps by inches.

  • Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

    Starring the late Robin Williams as a down-on-his-luck actor still stinging from a divorce who pretends to be a Scottish nanny in order to spend more time with his kids.

  • Puss in Boots (2011)

    Long before he even met Shrek, the notorious fighter, lover and outlaw Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) becomes a hero when he sets off on an adventure with the tough and street smart Kitty Softpaws and the mastermind Humpty Dumpty to save his town.


  • The Land Before Time (1988)

    This animated classic from Steven Spielberg and George Lucas centers on a group of young dinosaurs – Littlefoot, Cera, Spike, Ducky and Petrie – who find themselves depending on each other to reach the Great Valley.

  • The Indian in the Cupboard (1995)

    On his birthday, Omri is given several simple gifts, including an old wooden cupboard and a small plastic figurine of a Native American man. When he locks the toy inside the cabinet it magically comes to life as a tiny, cagey warrior named Little Bear — played by Oklahoman rapper-actor Litefoot.


  • Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (2019)

    Modern, smart, and independent, Nancy Drew reluctantly befriends Helen, the local mean girl, and together they investigate the haunting of Twin Elms. Based on the popular Nancy Drew books.

Throw on your favorite sweatpants and snuggle up on the couch to stream these beloved movies together as a family

Stuck at home and in need of something to watch that your whole family can enjoy together? Let TheWrap help by highlighting family friendly movies that are available to stream, right now, on HBO NOW and HBO GO. From animated films like “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” to superhero movies like “Shazam!,” and classics like “The Mighty Ducks,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” and “Big,” there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy and plenty to keep kids distracted while parents are working from home.

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