Join us at the 14th Annual Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience at Sundance 2018!

Asian and Asian Pacific filmmakers are making history once again in Park City with a vast array of remarkable films and creative projects at the 2018 Sundance and Slamdance Film Festivals. Our artists, creators and industry insiders are coming together celebrating a day of discussions and sharing of resources and experience, as we recognize our amazing talent who are out there telling our stories and making media projects that are shifting the landscape. The recent hashtag #AsAmCreatorRollCall initiated by filmmaker/writer

Greg Pak is our overarching theme this year, as the day will feature our Asian Pacific American content creators who are bringing it.

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This year’s edition is lovingly dedicated to the remarkable IRENE CHO, who guided the Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience Committee from 2013 through 2017. Her spirit, fierceness, and absolute dedication to insuring the success of our Asian Pacific cinematic creative community will never be forgotten.

Join Visual Communications, David Magdael & Associates, Kollaboration, Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE), Asian American Artists Foundation, Pacific Arts Movement, and Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) at ClaimJumper and the Kickstarter House for a full day of activities in celebration and a call to action with vital creatives of our Asian Pacific American communities.


• For programs at the Kickstarter House, REGISTER AT THE OFFICIAL EVENT PAGE HERE 

APAHM 2017 Project: #DearFutureAAPI

Dear Future AAPI,

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we present to you this #DearFutureAAPI series which features some amazing Asian American Pacific Islanders who have changed Asian representation for the better. Through this campaign, we want you to recognize a growing community of individuals making strides in the AAPI movement. Let’s continue to celebrate their accomplishments! Stay inspired and passionate as you pursue your own dreams that will inspire generations after you.

Empowerment Through Entertainment



For the full series, click HERE.

On Graduation – A Poem by Kavi Vu

As we approach Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Kollaboration is proud to share a visualization of Kavi Vu’s (Kollaboration ATL ’12) award winning poem, “On Graduation”

Have you ever felt the same?

Narrator – Kavi Vu
Daughter – Kelli Chu
Mother – Rose Kai Lee
Directors – Minji Chang & Brianna Kim
Producers – Dennis Chang & Marvin Yueh
Director of Photography – John Enriquez
Production Assistants – Shannon Wong & Isabell Liao
Editor – Aaliyah Chae & Andrew Kim


Artist Kamea Hadar Celebrates Identity and President Obama with His New Mural “Hapa”

Earlier this summer, Honolulu became a little bit more presidential when a new mural of President Barack Obama came into existence. Found on a street corner in the city the 44th President of the United States was born and raised, the piece of art is the latest handiwork of local artist, Kamea Hadar.

“So the mural is a portrait of President Barack Obama,” Hadar explained via phone interview. “In the background is [an excerpt from] a speech he made in 2008 in Philadelphia.”

To Hadar, the mural is more than just a way to honor our current president as he reaches the end of his second term.

“It has to do with racial equality and that’s what the piece is about. The piece is called ‘Hapa,’ which comes from the Hawaiian word for ‘part’ or ‘partial,’ and basically it is used to refer to people of mixed race,” Hadar said. “President Obama is Hapa, I’m Hapa, a lot of people are, and it’s very much representative of the melting pot of race and culture in Hawaii and also the rest of the world.

“So anyone is part anything, not all, is referred to as Hapa. But it’s mainly like a symbol. The meaning of it is more about mixed race and not the literal translation of the word.”

Artist Kamea Hadar

Hadar, who also serves as co-director of arts network POW! WOW!, was originally approached to do the mural by the building owner, who was already a fan of his work. He wanted him to paint a mural on the side of the building, with the subject having to reflect off of the theme of being Hapa.

“So when he approached me, he said, ‘What would be a good subject?’ President Obama came up in the conversation and it kind of came together naturally,” he recalled. “It’s like a perfect fit. The building owner wanted to do a portrait that had to do with being Hapa, but he’s also a big supporter of President Obama. President Obama is an inspiration.”

The process of putting together what the overall mural would look like was a quick process for Hadar as the imagery came to him more naturally than usual.

“Usually there’s a lot of back and forth between myself and the building owner, what they wanted and what they were happy with. It was amazing,” he explained. “The mock-up of the piece and the sketch for the piece came out really, really easily and naturally, and when I showed it to the building owner, he had no comments. He was just like, ‘I love it! Let’s do it!'”

The process of getting “Hapa” painted onto the building wall came with its challenges; many of which were weather and time-related. For instance, how quickly the paint dried depended on the time of day Hadar was out painting and how high the sun was. The wind however, was the greatest nuisance, though it also helped the mural along.

“The wind was a big factor. It was a really windy area,” Hadar recalled. “So when I was trying to spray some of the background, I wanted the perfect gradient, but the wind kept catching the paint and swirling it around. And actually, it ended up adding to the piece, because when you look in the background, it has kind of this smoky, wispy feel to it and because it was so windy every day I was working, it would just spray the paint on. So it actually wounded up working to my advantage.”

Artist Kamea Hadar and his mural, “Hapa.” Photo by Andrew Tran/Instagram

Since its completion, “Hapa” has garnered a positive reception from the public, which was a relief for Hadar, as he was worried about a possible political backlash.

“Honestly, even people who aren’t supporters of Obama, they were telling me, ‘I’m not a big fan of some of his policies but I still love the mural because I think it’s a beautiful piece of art,'” said Hadar. “So it’s surprisingly positive. You know, there’s obviously going to be some criticism. In art, it’s always good to have some reaction versus none, whether good or bad.”

While he hasn’t heard anything from President Obama himself about the mural yet, he hopes that maybe one day when in town, he’ll have the chance to see it. Otherwise, Hadar is happy with the response and inspiration his mural is bringing to others.

“The point of the piece is just to inspire other people and hopefully I’ve already done that,” he stated. “I’m just happy to spread aloha is all.”

To learn more about Hadar and his other works, be sure to check out his official website and keep up to date on his latest endeavors on Facebook, as well as on Twitter and Instagram @kameahadar.


Photo Credits Jonas Maon & Andrew Tran, and via

Asian Americans Share Their Experiences With #BeingAsian

In this year alone, I’ve seen Asian Twitter blowing up my feed with different hashtag conversations including: #OscarsSoWhite, #PraisinTheAsian, #StarringJohnCho and #WhitewashedOUT. To continue the conversation, we saw another hashtag spark more tweets about the Asian American experience.

On Tuesday, 17-year-old Michael Tarui sent out the following tweet: “I’m in a group chat and we’ve decided we should start a conversation of what it’s like #BeingAsian and the racism that comes with it.”

The hashtag spread like wildfire in the Twitter-sphere as many people used it to share their experience of what it’s like to be Asian American. Many tweeted about the struggles of being profiled and/or not fitting the profile of what is perceived as “Asian,” as well as the the perpetuation of insensitive stereotypes like the Model Minority.

While the hashtag was meant to point out racism towards Asians, some also used it to hash out grievances within the Asian American community, specifically racism within the community towards other people of color.

Even with its serious purpose, the hashtag has also been used to spread humor and positivity.

While #BeginAsian has added more key points to the conversation within the Twitter-verse, I hope that we can keep the it going. In the meantime, we should all just follow the words of immigration activist and journalist Jose Antonio Vargas:


A Not-Quite Homecoming Trip to China

Editor’s Note: About a month ago, our Associate Editor Lily Rugo left for a trip to visit China, the country of her birth. We asked her to write down a few of her thoughts as an adoptee making this trip for the first time.

I have the average “adoptee visiting the Motherland” story. I’m not meeting my birth family or filming a documentary about finding my long-lost twin on YouTube. Instead it’s more of a pilgrimage, the most daunting and personal pilgrimage for me yet: China.

I’ve always loved personal journeys because, for me, physically being at a place that holds special connections makes it more meaningful. Connecting with my heritage and identity as a Chinese adoptee has become more and more important to me in the past few years. Growing up I only had this vague idea about China. Between dim sum and human rights issues, I never knew if China (or coming from there) was a good or bad thing. It was after the 2008 Beijing Olympic opening ceremony when I started to care about “the Motherland” more. As I see more of a negative take on China in the West, I decided I don’t believe it. China’s not perfect, but I wasn’t going to take other people’s word for it anymore. I fortunately have the chance to go there through a summer program that includes intensive language classes coupled with an internship. In a few days I’m headed back to the Motherland after nearly twenty years.

However, the more I think about spending twelve weeks in China, more or less on my own, the more I realize how crazy this whole venture sounds. I get lost in Boston, how am I supposed to navigate a city with over twenty million people? And truthfully I’ve been very pragmatic in how I go about connecting to my Chinese roots. I’m learning Mandarin because it’s more widely spoken than Cantonese. I want to go to Shanghai because it’s one of the most exciting cities in the world, and slightly less polluted than Beijing. I want an internship because as the Wonders Of The Orient become more interesting for Westerners, I want a Chinese edge on my resume. China is a part of my identity, I want to visit it and learn about its history, people, and future. But this doesn’t feel like a heritage trip.

What makes a visit to the Motherland a “heritage trip”? Actually, this isn’t even my true Chinese heritage. I was born somewhere in the Cantonese-speaking southern Guangdong province. I’m about to spend twelves weeks learning Mandarin and most of my time in Shanghai. Before my program, I’ll see the great Wall of China, the terra cotta warriors, adorable pandas, take a cruise along the Yangtze River, and explore Shanghai. Then I’m spending a week in Tokyo. No visit to the orphanage where I was adopted from, or even Guangzhou, the city where I met my [adoptive] parents. I wouldn’t know who to contact to line up a personal tour on that scale. Like most other Chinese adoptees, I’m not even sure if I have the paper trail to set up something like that either. Sure I’m going to the Motherland, but does it count as “connecting with my roots” if I’m going to connect with all the wrong parts of China?

Even if it’s the wrong part of China, I can at least say I’ve been to the Motherland, been to the place where it all began. Will I ever visit Guangzhou or learn Cantonese? Maybe.But I’m not going to China to find answers- I gave up on that a long time ago. I’m going to China because I feel like I have to. I want to see this country that I’ve only heard about, yet claims so much of my identity. Hopefully, this is only one of many trips to the Motherland to explore my heritage.