Vilcek Foundation and HIFF Co-Star to Present New Perspectives

By HIFF News | April 3, 2020

For over 10 years, the Vilcek Foundation has partnered with the Hawai’i International Film Festival to bring innovative programs to audiences on Oahu. The Hawai’i International Film Festival’s commitment to being a platform to elevate diversity in art, film, and culture resonates deeply with the Vilcek Foundation’s mission and vision: to celebrate and share the contributions that immigrants make to arts, culture, and society in the United States.

HIFF and the Vilcek Foundation recognize our responsibility as leaders in the arts to elevate those voices that most need to be heard. The arts need diversity to thrive, and the creativity and tenacity of immigrant artists and innovators are constantly enriching and expanding the horizons of film and the other media arts.

In 2007, the Hawai’i International Film Festival and the Vilcek Foundation partnered to develop the New American Filmmakers Program. Supported with a grant from the Vilcek Foundation, the New American Filmmakers Program provided the resources to screen films and host post-screening Q&A sessions with five immigrant filmmakers at that year’s festival. In the intervening years, the program activities expanded to include visits by immigrant filmmakers to local schools as part of HIFF’s Guest Filmmaker Program, discussion panels, and master classes led by foreign-born industry experts.

Between 2015 and 2018, the program took a brief hiatus. In 2019, HIFF and the Vilcek Foundation re-launched programming together, re-inaugurating the program as “New American Perspectives.” The  new name reflects the expansion of the program to include virtual reality programming in alignment with HIFF’s growth in this area.

The Vilcek Foundation supported 20 unique events as part of the 2019 program, including eight film screenings, six moderated Q&A discussions with filmmakers, a presentation of Jenny Dorsey’s multimedia and virtual-reality dining experience Asian in America, a master class with director and filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour, and a panel discussion, “HIFF Talks: New American Perspectives,” featuring Jenny and Haifaa, along with filmmakers Isabel Sandoval, HIKARI, and Emily Ting. The foundation also supported presentations by HIKARI, Isabel, and Jenny at Kapolei High School, ‘Iolani School, and James Campbell High School as part of HIFF’s Guest Filmmaker Program.

Following on the success of the 2019 program, the Vilcek Foundation and HIFF have committed to supporting the New American Perspectives Program for 2020, awarding a grant of $50,000 in March to support the program at HIFF’s 40th Festival in November 2020 on Oahu. “Film is a powerful medium, and the platforms available to access film now enable people to engage with the art wherever they are,” said Vilcek Foundation President Rick Kinsel. “Particularly at this time when we are practicing social distancing, we see the power of art, film, and digital media to connect us all across time and space.”

The Vilcek Foundation was established in 2000, with the purpose of recognizing and celebrating the many ways that immigrants contribute to arts, culture, and society in the United States. The foundation accomplishes this through the Vilcek Foundation Prize Program, wherein the foundation awards prizes to recognize outstanding immigrants.

The foundation has recently announced that the 2021 Vilcek Prizes in the Arts will be awarded in filmmaking, and have issued an open call for applications for the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise. Three prizes of $50,000 each will be awarded to early-career immigrant filmmakers living and working in the United States; directors, writers, cinematographers, editors, and animators working across a variety of genres are invited to apply. We are excited to share the open call for applications with the HIFF community, due to the clear mission and vision alignment between the Vilcek Foundation and HIFF’s respective constituencies.

“The Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Filmmaking support artists whose work represents a diversity of perspectives,” says Rick Kinsel. “Their innovative and powerful approaches to the art of filmmaking make a distinct and lasting impression on the medium, and on audiences in the United States and around the world.”

The deadline for applications is June 10, 2020. Prospective applicants may learn more about the open call at  https://vilcek.co/2021-cpp-film-about.

The application may be found online at https://vilcek.co/2021-film-app.

For further information, contact the Vilcek Foundation Prizes team at creativepromise@vilcek.org.