2021 Short Film Competition

Check back for the submissions dates for the 2022 competition!

The 2021 APA Visionaries films are now streaming on HBO Max.
#HBOVisionaries #HBOMax


Winners of the 2021 HBO APA Visionaries Competition

Urvashi Pathania, Unmothered

Jesse Gi, Neh




HBO Asian Pacific American Visionaries is a short film competition sponsored by HBO that provides emerging directors of Asian and/or Pacific Islander descent the opportunity to showcase their work.

Judged by a panel of HBO executives, industry leaders, and fellow APA filmmakers, the competition seeks to identify cinematic storytellers who offer unique perspectives of the Asian Pacific American experience. The theme for the 2021 APA Visionaries Short Film Competition is “Taking the Lead.” Films should portray Asian Pacific Americans as being at the forefront of a given narrative, embracing the spirits of trailblazers, heroes, and luminaries through a unique lens.

In addition to receiving cash prizes, the three films will be selected to make their premiere at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in September 2021 and offered the opportunity to license their film to premiere exclusively on HBO and stream on HBO via HBO Max.

Film premieres will be at HBO's sole discretion.


1. Director and Co-director(s) must be a resident of one of the 50 United States or Washington, D.C.

2. Films must have been directed by a person of Asian or Pacific Islander descent [i.e., descendants of the people of the Far East, Southeast Asia, Indian subcontinent or Pacific Islands (China, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands and Samoa)].

3. Director and Co-director(s) must be at least 18 years of age and of the age of majority in their state of residence (i.e., 19 years of age in Alabama and Nebraska; 21 years of age in Mississippi) as of 4/1/21.

4. Films must be an original live action narrative (no documentaries or animation).

5. Running time (inclusive of credits): 10-15 minutes. Film must be a minimum of 10 minutes in length; submissions shorter than 10 minutes in length will be disqualified. Films must be a maximum of 15 minutes in length (inclusive of title sequence and closing credits); if a submission is longer than 15 minutes in length, only the first 15 minutes of the Film will be judged. Videos longer than 17 minutes will be disqualified.

6. Films must be in the English language or contain accurate English subtitles (common foreign words/phrases are acceptable without subtitles).

7. Film must not be publicly available online through September 30, 2021.

8. Film must have commenced principal photography on or after January 1, 2020.

9. Film must not have had any previous exhibition on broadcast or cable (by means of any method or medium) or online.

10. Employees of Home Box Office, Inc. (“Sponsor”), Warner Media, LLC., Don Jagoda Associates, Inc. (“Administrator”), The Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (“CAPE”), Visual Communications, FilmFreeway, Vimeo, Inc., YouTube, and their respective affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies (collectively, the “Promotion Entities”) and the immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of each are not eligible.

11. Once completed, submit your film to the HBO APA Visionaries Short Film Competition via FilmFreeway. Follow the on-screen directions to create an account on FilmFreeway and complete your entry. An acknowledgment of the Official Short Film Rules and Official Short Film Competition Release is required to be entered into the Competition.

Submissions for the Competition officially open on January 1, 2021 at 9:00 AM PST and will be accepted until April 1, 2021 at 11:59 PM PST.

12. Limit one entry per person.

Please review the complete Official Rules.

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