What Happened at FilAm Creative Filmmakers’ Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2017 Meetup?

2nd Edwin Picture for InterviewsSummary by Edwin A. Santos

Sunday, January 15, 2017

twitter-logo-618 : @Edwin_A_Santos     |     imgres : Edwin A. Santos

Coming off from the success of our first Television Writers Panel, there was increasingly high interest about FilAm Creative — from our #FACwriterspanel volunteers to new members who watched the panel at the Pilipino Workers Center as well as on livestream to other organizations such as the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE).  On Thursday, January 12 of 2017, FilAm Creative (FAC) invited and assembled together both current members and new members at FAC’s first meetup at the Story Tavern in Burbank, California; a talent pool of Filipino American creatives interested in helping with upcoming programming for the 33rd Annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (April 27 – May 3).

But, let’s go back 490 days earlier.  In September 10, 2015, FAC Board of Director Walter Boholst met with Executive Director of Visual Communications Francis Cullado about doing something for LAAPFF.  Cullado was open to ideas.  Seven days earlier, Boholst asked for ideas from FAC Officers and Staff before his meeting with Cullado.  Vice President of Content Edwin Santos suggested “FAC can sponsor a FilAm themed event” with Boholst adding “we have enough content to hold two to four short film (or paired with a feature) screening events a year if we wanted.”  FAC Board of Director Edward J. Mallillin chimed in with “working with them [LAAPFF] to perhaps do an event that spotlights our filmmakers, and perhaps a good way to get advice on how we can showcase our own films ourselves, as that’s something we should be doing.”

One year.  Four months.  And, two days later, FILAM CREATIONS was born!

Welcome to FilAm Creations!
Walter Boholst and Edwin Santos are happy with the turnout.

FilAm Creative’s new Executive Director Meriden Villanueva spoke about her plans for 2017.  “For the new year, one of our goals is to get the community to be more engaged and provide a space for filmmakers and other creatives to network, collaborate and build new projects. FilAm Creative has been invited by the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival to create a film circuit to showcase short films that [are] directed by, produced by or starring a Filipino American.” says Villanueva.

Craig Wilson and Meriden Villanueva

“I’m the Festival Coordinator for FilAm Creations.”  states filmmaker Craig Wilson.

We first met Wilson in September 19, 2015 as one of many in the audience at our first FAC Actors Panel.  In an interview after the panel, Wilson said he “is on a personal goal to, at least, try to provide some great content for Asian Americans to sink their teeth into.”

FAC Networks’ Erica Fortes interviewed filmmaker Craig Wilson in 2015

And, he has done that. Along with producing partner John Flores on Bidyo’s first episodic web series Filipino American Hall of Fame (FAHOF) in 2016 [link].  Wilson has been directing film and theater for over 15 years. He directed many short films, music videos and stage plays. In 2014 he completed writing and directing his first feature length project.

Craig demonstrates Jack Hernandez’ swashbuckling position for the FAHOF crew

Taking up a leadership role with FAC, we asked him his goals for 2017.  He replied, “With FilAm Creations, I am beginning a FilAm film festival distribution circuit. With a collection of Filipino helmed films, we are providing a voice for our culture. We created a collective of FilAm filmmakers challenging them to make new short films that can premiere at Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. As our selections of screens grow, our films will find new audiences giving us a strong united front to take the film industry by storm.”

Craig Wilson

As everyone settled, Villanueva asked each person to individually introduce himself / herself.  And, if there are any questions.





Then, they were asked to choose leaders, form teams and determine and plan what they will create.





“We were optimistically hoping for a turn-out of about ten filmmakers… over twenty-five amazing, talented filmmakers showed up. We had actors, cinematographers, editors, producers, writers, directors… Leaders stepped up; everyone formed teams around the leaders, and discussed and planned their projects.” says FilAm Creative’s new Director of Event Programming Rachel Liu.  “The turnout for the meetup was truly inspiring to me. It was amazing to see so many talented people working together to accomplish a common goal, and I felt so happy to be a part of it.”

FilAm Creative’s new Director of Event Programming Rachel Liu

“The initial concept for the FilAm Creative filmmakers meetup drew inspiration from a couple other initiatives and goals on the horizon.” she adds.

Liu is a writer and producer who believes in FilAm Creative’s mission and vision. She was one of many in the audience who enjoyed the FAC Television Writers Panel event in December of last year and how everyone there uplifted each other.  She has extensive experience in event planning and managing teams & committees.  We asked her about her goals for 2017?

“Our goals [are] twofold: to inspire FilAm filmmakers to work together to create FilAm content to premiere at the upcoming LAAPFF FilAm Creative program block, and to create meaningful connections between FilAm filmmakers to strengthen the community as a whole” replied Liu.


She continues, “Leading up to the meetup, Meriden, Craig and I worked together to find a way to further both.”

Rachel Liu, Craig Wilson and Meriden Villanueva

We asked her why she joined FilAm Creative.  “It was this collaborative spirit that drew me to FilAm Creative in the first place. I’m passionate about diversity in art and entertainment and was blown away by the positive, unifying environment of the FilAm Creative community. I was excited and honored to be invited onto the Executive Board as Director of Event Production and hope to use my background as a leader in organization development and production to achieve our goals in 2017.” replied Liu.  Welcome aboard!





Villanueva concluded, “From our first meetup, I was delighted to see the room filled with motivated and talented creatives who were enthusiastic to produce new short films and build their reels.”


We will update you, our readers, about FilAm Creations going forward.


Photos by Meriden Villanueva and Walter Boholst (01/12/17)

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