Now in its 5th year, the 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.

No purchase necessary. See Official Rules for complete details at Open to residents of the 50 U.S./DC 18+ (19+ in AL & NE, 21+ in MS) of Asian Pacific descent. Ends 11:59 p.m. PST on 4/1/21.

Established in 1983 by VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival is the largest film festival in Southern California dedicated to showcasing films by and about Asians & Pacific Islanders around the world.

As we continue following guidelines and directives from our local, state, and federal health agencies, our 37th edition of LAAPFF is scheduled for September 2021 (exact dates TBD). It will be a hybrid Festival; a combination of online and in-person programming.

Please note that submitting to the HBO APA Visionaries Short Film Competition does NOT mean that you are also submitting your film to the 2021 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. If you are interested in submitting your film to also be considered for LAAPFF2021, please visit

All three winnings films will have their theatrical premiere at the 2021 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, and will have the opportunity to screen on HBO platforms and stream on HBO via HBO Max. Additionally, the filmmakers will be awarded the following cash prizes:

• 1st place - $5,000
• 2nd place - $2,000
• 3rd place - $1,000

Winners will be announced in July 2021. Please see Official Rules document ( for more information on the awards & prizes.

FREE TO SUBMIT. There is no entry fee to submit your film to this Competition.

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 see Official Rules document ( for more information on the Rules & Terms.