CAPE And Janet Yang Productions Announce Winners Of Julia S. Gouw Short Film Challenge

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

EXCLUSIVE: The Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment and Janet Yang Productions announced the four winners of the inaugural Julia S. Gouw Short Film Challenge, which awards a $15,000 production grant to four AAPI women or non-binary filmmakers.

Selected from a pool of over 400 applicants, four grantees will be offered networking opportunities with Emmy and Golden Globe-winning producer Janet Yang and the CAPE network, as well as the chance to submit films to potential buyers and platforms.

More from Deadline

Julia S. Gouw, a former member of the board of directors of East West Bancorp, Inc. and East West Bank, helped fund the Short Film Challenge to uplift AAPI and non-binary filmmakers.

“There was no better team than Janet [Yang] and the all-women-led team at CAPE to fulfill my vision to create more representation in the AAPI community,” Gouw said. “I hope this Film Challenge will provide more opportunities, particularly for AAPI women and non-binary filmmakers, to continue to tell stories that are about us and by us.”

Yang added that she also noticed a dearth of a certain voices in Hollywood and wanted to provide a platform for their creative visions.

“I had a theory that many incredibly worthy female and non-binary Asian filmmakers weren’t getting sufficiently noticed. When we received an overwhelming number of wonderful submissions, this theory was proven true,” Yang added. “It is thrilling and gratifying to amplify the voices of this talented group, but also heartbreakingly difficult to choose only four winners.”

The biographies of the 2022 Julia S. Gouw Short Film Challenge winners are as follows:

Banban Cheng (they/them): Banban Cheng is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker who spent their childhood performing Chinese stand-up comedy in Houston, Texas. Since then, they’ve traded the stage for writing, making movies, and podcasts. They co-wrote the feature film, Lucky Grandma, a dark comedy starring Tsai Chin about aging, luck, and a discount bodyguard, set in the cramped streets of Manhattan’s Chinatown. The film premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2019 and is currently distributed by Good Deed Entertainment.

Liz Sargent (she/her): Liz Sargent is a Korean American adoptee and NY Emmy-winning writer/director working in NYC & Cyprus. In her work, Sargent brings honesty and nuance to themes of adoption, disability and family. Her short, “Stranger’s Reunion,” was chosen by Ritz-Carlton and Hearst to be made with mentorship by Mike Figgis and production by RSA Hong Kong. The film won Best Director at Diversity in Cannes and Best Screenplay at Brand Film Festival London. Sargent incorporates her extensive background as a choreographer into her commercial and experimental work alike. She was a 2022 Top 3 finalist for the Shondaland Directing Mentorship.

Ragini Bhasin (she/her): Ragini Bhasin is a filmmaker of South Asian heritage currently residing in Los Angeles. A graduate of Chapman University, she has made award-winning films like ‘Ghazaal’ and ‘Las Escondidas’, which have played numerous Oscar-qualifying festivals. Her work was distributed by ARTE channel, ShortsTV, and Argo Channel. She is also the recipient of the Meredith Macrae Memorial Award by Women In Film, the Maya Deren Short Film Innovation Prize by Femme Filmmakers, the recipient of the BAFTA LA Newcomers Program 2021, and an Alliance For Women In Media Mentee 2021. Currently, she directs unscripted digital series for Jubilee Media’s YouTube channel.

Soma Helmi (she/her): Born to an Indonesian father and a Polish mother, the Bali native began her career as an art director for J. Walter Thompson in Jakarta and later worked as a creative consultant for Catherine Hardwicke. Helmi directed Season 3 of Snapchat’s original series The Dead Girls Detective Agency, and her work has screened at Sundance, Outfest and Amazon’s New Voices Film Festival, among many others. She is a 2021 ViacomCBS Paramount Directors Program fellow, 2021 CAPE List writer, and was named one of the “8 Directors to Watch” by Alliance of Women Directors.

This year’s jury included Trinh Tran (Executive Producer, Marvel Studios), Ianeta Le’i (Sundance Institute), Munika Lay (VP, Film, Miramax), Angela C. Lee (Film Independent), DanTram Nguyen (Searchlight Pictures), Mirsada Abdool Raman (Sri & Company), Producer Naomi Scott (Gettin’ Rad Productions), Karen Chau (The Walt Disney Company), Adele B. Lim (Writer, Crazy Rich Asians), Samie Kim Falvey (President, Picturestart), Kelly Marie Tran, and Niti Shah (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences).

Gemma Chan (Eternals), actor and Executive Producer Kelly Marie Tran (Raya and the Last Dragon), actor Richa Moorjani (Never Have I Ever), and Director Lulu Wang (The Farewell) served as ambassadors for the Short Film Challenge.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.