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Takaya Abdou Lloyd, a Japanese-American filmmaker and actor of both Okinawan and Egyptian descent, has launched a crowdfunding campaign for the production of his new series Hapa.
Hapa, which stars Lloyd, highlights Asian-American storytelling and focuses on themes of belonging, xenophobia, community, and young love. Lloyd wrote that the series started as “a response to Hollywood’s limited ideas of AAPI representation, but has grown to be much bigger than that.” The series features a 100% AAPI cast and has the pitch video gaining over 20,000 views. The team is well on its way to toward reaching its goal of $30,000. Watch the crowdfunding video and teaser below.
The digital series is a satire about a group of gangsters in Los Angeles operating out of a mattress store. Hapa, whose title is a slang word for a person who is of partial Asian or Pacific Islander descent, centers around twenty-something Graham Yamamoto, played by Lloyd, as he struggles to find a place in his community. Graham feels ostracized due to his mixed-race heritage and yearns to find a purpose greater than a life of petty crime.
When Graham finds himself out of work, he joins outcasts from different organizations who have banded together to form their own group and finds himself thrust into a clash of characters and beliefs. As Graham gains confidence and self-acceptance he eventually leads the group of misfits to protect their community instead of taking from it.
Lloyd, who has had roles in Netflix’s On the Verge and Marvel’s Legion, understands the importance of AAPI representation and recognizes a lack of authentic storytelling that does not rely on stereotypical tropes. Lloyd’s last film was awarded by the Russo brothers (of Marvel Avengers fame) and Hapa has already seen an outpouring of support from the AAPI community.
Randall Park, known for his roles in Fresh Off the Boat and WandaVision among others, inspired Lloyd to continue creating Hapa. The two met when Lloyd was working at a mattress shop and Park came in as a customer. After seeing a script on Lloyd’s desk, Park encouraged him to turn Hapa into a reality. The mattress store now serves as the actual location where the show takes place.
Peng-Peng Lee, Austin Kuniyoshi, Shota Kakibata, and K. Kevin Choi also star. The series is written by Lloyd who also directs episodes. Kelly Yu and Blythe Howard also direct episodes. Senna Hanner-Zhang serves as producer and Tom Bolles serves as director of photography.
The crowdfunding campaign ends on October 30. Contribute to it by clicking here.