The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival is held annually in late April and May. It showcases works from Asian Pacific American filmmakers as well as international Asian cinema. Awards are presented for narrative and documentary features and short films. The festival also includes interactive events involving the public and filmmakers.
The festival began in 1983, when Visual Communications, a Los Angeles-based Asian Pacific American media arts center, launched the first festival. Since then, the annual festival has grown, increasing the number of creative works and artists it spotlights as well as attracting a wider audience. It functions as a showcase for both established and neophyte Asian Pacific American filmmakers and video artists as well as Asian films from such countries as India, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan and Indonesia.
The festival has evolved and adapted throughout its history, including changing its location. The original location for the week-long event was in the former Japan America Theater. Over time, the festival switched from different venues around Los Angeles but the city's Directors Guild of America theater, Laemmle's Sunset 5 Theater and the Tateuchi Democracy Forum have become the event's enduring, premiere venues. Additional theaters throughout the city also serve as venues.
Over 3,400 films have been shown since 1983. At the 10-day 2011 festival, the offerings comprised 32 feature-length films and 148 shorts. Attendees may purchase tickets to the specific films of their choice. Parental guidance is suggested as all of the films are unrated. The general admission price at the time of this writing is $12, with $10 for students and senior citizens.
Other events round out the festival's slate of activities. Small gatherings, receptions and parties give participants opportunities to both network and enjoy themselves. The festival also offers special events, such as tributes to successful or pioneering artists. Seminars and panels allow for discussion about particular films or serve as a base to explore broader issues. For example, the 2011 festival sponsored the C3 Conference, which examined the efforts of Asian Pacific Americans working in new media.