Welcome to the 15th Annual Houston Asian American Pacific Islander Film Festival! On behalf of our Board of Directors, organization members, and volunteers, I thank you for joining us this year. This event would not have been possible without the many hours of volunteer work by the HAAPIFEST Committee and Volunteers Crew, as well as the support of our sponsors and community partners.
OCA-Greater Houston started the Houston Asian American Pacific Islander Film Festival 15 years ago because we felt film personified ‘edu-tainment’, entertainment that also educated our community on important social issues and highlighted the richness of the AAPI experience. The emotional and visual impact of film as an expression of the creativity of individuals is the perfect medium which allows us to appreciate the diversity of the AAPI community and the commonalities we share. As we work to develop leaders of tomorrow, we want to continue cultivating individuals in all science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) fields emphasizing the arts and media. We hope you will join us to enjoy this year’s selections of films, and come support Asian American Pacific Islander artists and filmmakers at our Community Arts Night.
We also hope you extend your visit as OCA-Greater Houston hosts the 46th annual OCA National Convention from June 27th-June 29th. Free Leadership training workshops, inspiring keynote speakers, and national networking opportunities are just some of the things to look forward to.
If it is your first time in Houston, “Welcome!”, and if you are a returning visitor, “Welcome back!”. We hope to see you again!
Welcome to HAAPIFEST 2019!
My name is Jessica Kong and it is an honor to reprise my role as Co-Director of HAAPIFEST for the second year in a row. Though I was not a part of HAAPIFEST’s first twelve years, I am truly grateful for the groundwork that has been laid before me, and am excited to share with the world what we have in store for HAAPIFEST and how far we have come as we celebrate our 15th year!
Let’s start off with some of this year’s record-breaking milestones: 1) we are inducting over 65 films into the HAAPIFEST community! Last year was our highest number yet at over 35, but the caliber of films submitted this year was so great, we just couldn’t turn them away.
2) we are showcasing a new competitive category this year: music videos! Premiering at Arts Night, we felt it was the perfect addition to our festival, as it combines both film and music.
3) and most importantly, we get to share in our festivities with our national OCA chapters as we host the 46th annual OCA National Convention. The last time we hosted was in 2010 and we are so excited to invite them back for an entirely new experience.
In a time when communities are under attack, it becomes increasingly important to understand and learn from others, especially those that do not share our perspectives or life experience, and use this collective understanding to build coalitions and strength.
We believe film is one way to do just that, allowing us to delve into the experiences of others, fictional or otherwise, and our programming this year is a reflection of this. We hope that not only do you find this year’s programming entertaining, but come away from it feeling energized and understanding of our collective strength as a community.
The passion and commitment these filmmakers, producers, actors, crew members, and guest performance artists sacrifice for their craft is what drives us to continue sharing their stories in the platform that we choose.
We thank the filmmakers for granting us permission to share their stories; our donors and sponsors for their continued support; our dedicated committee, interns, and volunteers that have tirelessly put in energy and vision to bring all of this to life, and our community partners for their collaboration with OCA. Most importantly, we thank you, our festival audience, for taking the time to enjoy our festival. We value each and every one of you and with you a “HAAPI” experience.
Debbie Chen and Jessica Kong