USC Asian Pacific Film Fest

USC Asian Pacific Film Fest graphic

Thank you to all who joined us at the 7th Annual APFF on March 3, 2024!

The USC Asian Pacific Film Fest (APFF) is a collaborative project between students and alumni to highlight Asian Pacific Islander (API) cinema and filmmakers from the University of Southern California. USC APFF seeks to showcase short films that are produced, written, directed and/or starring API Trojans, as well as films that address topics of interest to the API community. The festival also serves to highlight API Trojans in the entertainment industry. This year’s festival highlighted an exceptional selection of short films!

All proceeds from the event go toward the Jon M. Chu APAA Cinematic Arts Scholarship Fund. This scholarship is awarded to USC School of Cinematic Arts undergraduate students whose creative work demonstrates a commitment to telling stories about the API community. Learn more about how to sponsor the APFF!

Congratulations to the winners of the 7th annual APFF!

Links to the short films that are not in the festival circuit are below (highlighted in red).

The Nectar Instead film still

2024 Jury Award – The Nectar Instead
Yoo Lee, writer/director

A young fly gets trapped on the fly trap in the stop-motion studio only to have the existential realization that it spent its entire life chasing after the wrong thing.

Bitter Melon film still

Bitter Melon
Kayla Wong, director

A young Chinese-American woman must confront her identity issues when her white boyfriend dumps her the day he was supposed to meet her family at their lunar new year dinner for the first time.

Welcome to ESL film still

2024 Audience AwardWelcome to ESL
Faithe Nguyen, writer/director/sound designer

A Vietnamese American immigrant must learn to get along with a fellow classmate in his ‘English as a Second Language’ class.

Dos Bros Force film still

Dos Bros Force
Jyothi Kalyan Sura, writer/ director/ producer

A little girl and her brother teach their workaholic father that living in the present is as important as working for their future.

Fili film still

Peter Filimaua, writer/director

Recent graduate Fili Tanuvasa is torn between following his father’s footsteps in playing football and pursuing his hidden passion for acting.

I'm Not an Activist film still

I’m Not an Activist
Dan Chen, director/producer

In response to brutal anti-Asian attacks, a group of New Yorkers take matters into their own hands by founding Dragon Combat Club to defend their lives and protect their community.

Mother’s Love film still

Mother’s Love
Jackson Van Horn, director/writer

A mother grapples with her son’s addiction and her unconditional love for him.

Sound in Motion film still

Sound in Motion
Josey Cuthrell-Tuttleman, writer/director

When a deaf dancer is given a coveted solo for her company’s upcoming show, she must grapple with her antagonistic peers and self-doubts to give the performance of a lifetime.

Password to access video:  SoundInMotion310

Papaya film still

Kelsey Boncato, director/animator

An animated music video on colorism that empowers darkness while combining gritty sunbaked ink with soap textures- a reference to Filipino whitening soap which is used to bleach & lighten skin.

Strange film still

Ken Ochiai, director/producer

One evening in suburban Tokyo, shy high school student Odeko encounters a tearful Kuma in drag. Their friendship grows, and Kuma’s journey to self-confidence transforms Odeko’s timidity.

2024 APFF Host and Jury


Derek Mio

Derek Mio ’04 

Derek Mio ‘04 is an actor who began modeling and acting in commercials while studying film production at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Soon after graduating, he landed a recurring role on the ABC Family series Greek and guest starred on several television shows including The Good Wife, House, CSI, Togetherness, NCIS: Los Angeles, Bones, Supergirl, CSI: Cyber, Lethal Weapon, and more. His other credits include The Emoji Movie, G.B.F. (Gay Best Friend), Medal of Honor (executive produced by Robert Zemeckis ’73), and the lead role in the second season of AMC’s The Terror, produced by Ridley Scott. Derek has also performed stand-up comedy at The Comedy Store, Laugh Factory, Improv and many other venues. He created and hosts The BudoComedy Show held at the Terasaki Budokan in Little Tokyo that has raised over $10,000 for the facility.


Wenda Fong

Wenda Fong ’75

Wenda Fong ’75 began her career in television as the producer and host of her own live talk show series in Los Angeles. In 1991, she and two colleagues founded CAPE, the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, which remains the largest and most influential organization for Asian American Pacific Islanders in the entertainment industry. In 2001, Fong joined Fox as its first Executive Director of Creative Development of Diversity and VP of Diversity Development. In 2002, she oversaw American Idol, which became a cultural phenomenon. In 2003, Fong was promoted to VP of Alternative Entertainment where she supervised all reality series and specials including So You Think You Can DanceThe X Factor, and many others. She is currently serving as the chair of the CSU Board of Trustees, the first Asian American to do so.

Kevin Tsujihara

Kevin Tsujihara ’86 

Kevin Tsujihara ’86 became the first Asian-American CEO of a major Hollywood studio when, in 2013, he became CEO and chairman of Warner Bros Entertainment. Instrumental in steering the studio to unparalleled success, he helped turn around the flagging DCEU with Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman ($821.8M) and James Wan’s Aquaman ($1.1B), brought Harry Potter spinoff movies to the screen, and built upon The LEGO Movie success with The LEGO Batman Movie ($312M). Tsujihara championed initiatives to promote underrepresented voices in the industry, fostering a more inclusive environment. He greenlit the wildly successful rom-com Crazy Rich Asians ($238M), helmed by Jon M Chu ‘03, debunking the myth that movies featuring minority groups did not have mass appeal.

Past Winners

2017 Asian Pacific Film Festival Photo Gallery

The Unreachable Star

Sharon Park
2023 Jury Award – Director/Producer, The Unreachable Star

Inspired by the grand tales of Don Quixote, a brother and sister set off in search of adventure to escape their own wartime reality, but ultimately find that the greatest act of heroism is the imagination they lend to each other. 

Joss Lotuses to Grandma

Stefie Gan
2023 Audience Award – Director, Joss Lotuses to Grandma

A girl returns to Malaysia after her grandma’s death. The film explores their bond, the biculturalism of immigration, and the cultural rituals that can help heal grief and the loss of separation.

Thomas Percy Kim
2022 Jury Award – Director/Writer, BUSAN, 1999

An expecting Korean-American woman returns to her mother’s rustic home. They bathe and scrub each other, searching for reconnection and redemption.

Bruce Chiu
2022 Audience Award
– Director/Writer, Imperfectly complete

Lucy has been taking care of Owen, a blind guitarist she has admired for years. When Owen is about to get his vision back, Lucy faces the struggle of whether to reveal her true identity to Owen.

Tiffany Lin
2021 Jury Award – Director, Carrie Fisher is Dead

A young boy acquires a goldfish named Carrie Fisher. Then she dies.

Kevin Ung
2021 Audience Award
– Director, Refrigerate After Opening

A man who is down on his luck, find a second shot at a life when he buys himself a magical refrigerator.

The Five Minutes

Shange “Z” Zhang
2020 Jury Award –
Director/Producer, The Five Minutes

A businessman in mourning uses a special telephone booth to have a final conversation with his recently deceased wife in the afterlife.

Omar Al Dakheel
2020 Audience Award
– Writer/Director, Ablution

Waleed washes his disabled father Khaled five times a day for Muslim prayer. But when Waleed’s sexuality is revealed, both father and son are torn between religion, duty and self.

Bruce Chiu
2019 Jury Award – Director, Sunset Sunrise

Owing to the self-condemnation of not being a good mother, Lily, a traditional Chinese woman struggles to come to terms with her son’s sexuality as her attempt to “change” him ultimately backfires.

The Lie Game

Kalyan Sura
2019 Audience Award
– Writer/Director/VFX Supervisor, The Lie Game

A desperate computer scientist struggling to fund her anti-depression AI application faces her toughest challenge yet.

Joseon’s Bride

Eleanor Cho
2017 Audience Award – Director, Joseon’s Bride

Joseon’s Bride is a period piece following a young Korean bride who is trying to immigrate to America to escape from the dangers of Japanese colonialism.

Warm Sweets

Isaac Deol
2017 Jury Award
– Writer/Director, Warm Sweets

Long, the son of Chinese immigrant Linda must decide whether to fulfill his own dreams and move away for college or stay in South Los Angeles and take over his Mother’s bakery.


Thank you to our 2024 APFF sponsors.

Producing Sponsor

Reed Smith

Gold Sponsor

Bento Box