MEET AN AWC ALUM: DANIEL HSIA

The Armed With a Camera Fellowship for Emerging Media Artists has recently opened its call for Fellows for its 2016-2017 cycle. Applications are due October 7, 2016. For submission guidelines and more info, click here.

What’s been keeping you busy? How has life been after AWC? What projects are you currently working on right now?
I did AWC in what, the second year? A lot has happened since then! I wrote for TV for 5 years, sold a few pilot scripts, spent 2 years in China writing and then directing my feature film SHANGHAI CALLING, got married and had kids, spent a couple more years in China developing movies I was supposed to direct but never got to, made a web series called ANNIE UNDOCUMENTED that is now on Fullscreen, and most recently was invited to the FOX Global Directors Program for TV comedy directing. And just yesterday found out that my TV comedy pilot MED SCHOOL HIGH is a finalist in the New York Television Festival Scripts Contest. 

LAAPFF 2012 Opening Night with (from left) Daniel Henney, Janet Yang, Eliza Coupe, and Daniel Hsia.

LAAPFF 2012 Opening Night with (from left) Daniel Henney, Janet Yang, Eliza Coupe, and Daniel Hsia.

How did you first hear about AWC? What made you decide to apply?
I first heard about AWC through the late great Linda Mabalot, who welcomed me warmly into the VC family after my first publicly exhibited short HOW TO DO THE ASIAN SQUAT premiered at VC FilmFest. I applied because I wanted to spend more time at VC, and because AWC offered a chance to make a film that I didn't have to pay for out of my own pocket -- a major milestone for a young filmmaker. 

Tell us, how has the program experience challenged your filmmaking process?
The year after I did AWC, VC invited me back to mentor the next class of AWC fellows. That was my first time helping other filmmakers shape their projects, and it was immensely rewarding. Even though the fellows worked in genres I don't normally play in (documentary, suspense, experimental) I found myself learning from their approach and becoming a fan of their unique visions. 

How did it feel to be a part of the AWC Fellowship - working amongst AAPI filmmakers?
Affirming and rewarding. Most of the jobs I've had in the entertainment business, I've been the only Asian guy in the room. AWC was a refreshing change of pace from that! 

Who do you think would benefit most of the AWC Fellowship?
Young filmmakers who are looking for creative feedback from peers and mentors, and who are open to having the time and freedom to expand their comfort zone as storytellers.  

What did it mean to you to have your film premiered at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival?
I loved it. Who doesn't love wearing an Artist badge at VC FilmFest? 

The Armed With a Camera Fellowship for Emerging Media Artists has recently opened its call for Fellows for its 2016-2017 cycle. Applications are due October 7, 2016. For submission guidelines and more info, click here.