Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) has set the dates for the 37th edition of the hybrid fest which will take place virtually and in the L.A. area September 23 to October 2.

Hosted by Visual Communications, the fest will open on September 23 at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center’s Aratani Theatre in with the L.A. premiere of Ann Kaneko’s Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust, a poetic look at the unexpected alliance formed by Native Americans, Japanese American WWII incarcerees, and environmentalists to defend their land and water from Los Angeles.

“Visual Communications looks forward to sharing the stories that intersect and converge movements such as Manzanar, Diverted ,” said Francis Cullado, Executive Director of Visual Communications. “From emerging to established filmmakers, the Festival continues to celebrate artists who are making an impact in our communities.”

Following Opening Night, LAAPFF will showcase new works as part of Centerpiece Weekend at the Aratani Theatre and Regal L.A. LIVE. Highlights include the Los Angeles premieres of: Iman Zawahry’s Americanish, the first American Muslim rom-com directed by an American Muslim female filmmaker; Sujata Day’s comedy-drama Definition Please, which she also stars in; Christopher Makoto Yogi’s Sundance hit I Was A Simple Man; Dante Basco’s feature directorial debut The Fabulous Filipino Brothers; and Suzanne Kai’s Like a Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres which spotlights the legendary Rolling Stone editor and writer Ben Fong-Torres.

LAAPFF is a proud Academy Award-qualifying film festival for the Short Film Awards. Recipient(s) of the Film Festival’s Golden Reel Award for Narrative Short Film will be eligible for consideration in the Animated Short Film/Live-Action Short Film category of the Academy Awards.

Some highlights from the shorts lineup include the World Premiere presentations of: Candace Ho’s Chasing Clouds, a narrative short about a Taiwanese American woman forced to confront the harsh reality of her mother’s dementia; Paolo Bitanga’s Night & Day, a documentary short from the Philippines about a mother′s home that comes alive once a year when her many children return for the holidays; and Dakota Camacho’s Fana’guyan, a short dance film that explores ending violence and generating healing through embodiment, intimacy, and ancestral creativity.

Fana’guyan will screen as part of Pacific Cinewaves, programming which represents LAAPFF’s commitment to amplify Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities from Hawai’i, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Guåhan (Guam), Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Samoa, and throughout the Pacific region.

“It is an honor to work in this landscape and witness the rise of storytellers from Asian & Pacific Islander communities,” said Eseel Borlasa, Programmer & Festival Operations Director of Visual Communications. “Each year, the Festival is proud to share these diverse perspectives, and we hope to continuously bridge understanding and build empathy and solidarity amongst our audiences. That collective work of storytelling to audience impact helps put values into action. LAAPFF believes in that work, and we are proud to be part of the process.”

Visual Communications is proud to continue their partnership with HBO for the fifth annual HBO Asian Pacific American Visionaries, a short film competition which 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: “Taking the Lead”. Jess X. Snow’s Little Sky, Jesse Gi’s Neh, and Urvashi Pathania’s Unmothered will premiere at LAAPFF on September 25, and debut on HBO Max on September 27.

This year, the Festival will also continue to host C3, a space for creators to converge and celebrate creative communities. These consist of both virtual and in-person panels and conversations.

LAAPFF will announce its full lineup on Wednesday, September 1. Tickets will be on sale starting September 13 at 12pm PT. For more deets visit festival.vcmedia.org.