• For Internal Use Only

    APA Emergence Fellowship

    Empowering Asian Pacific American Filmmakers through Real-World Commercial Directing Experience.

    Application Deadline: TBA

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To apply, you must be a member of Strong Asian Lead.
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Power to the Lens

The APA Emergence Fellowship is a directorial opportunity that aims to bring the captivating stories of APA-owned brands to life. We are searching for three outstanding directors to be selected and funded for production.

In Partnership With

Boosting Brands & Budding Directors

Our selected filmmakers receive a $3000 budget to create commercials, gaining practical experience and expanding their portfolios. The brands benefit from innovative marketing content.

Why We Developed this Program

We aim to address the underrepresentation of Asians in the media industry,
both behind and in front of the camera.

This fellowship offers a unique opportunity for talented filmmakers to showcase their creative vision while spotlighting the compelling narratives woven into APA-owned brands.

The development of this program was a collaborative effort between Strong Asian Lead and Asians in Advertising. The APA Emergence Fellowship is dedicated to shaping the future we desire by providing support to aspiring filmmakers.

Our primary focus is to allow directors to create a commercial for their portfolio, support APA businesses, and represent the APA community.

The fellowship entails a process where directors will initially write treatments and scripts. Subsequently, they will collaborate with advertising professionals to bring their ideas to life.

Through this program, we aim to empower filmmakers, amplify APA voices, and foster greater diversity in the media landscape.

What You Need to Know

Eligibility Check

Guidelines to Apply


Mentorship and Learning Opportunities

Mentor Pairings

As a fellow, you’ll be matched with an experienced mentor. They will guide you during critical stages of your project, with at least one meeting in pre-production and another in post-production. This personalized advice is key to successfully navigating the commercial filmmaking landscape.


In addition to mentorship, you will also have the opportunity to participate in a Strong Asian Lead webinar. Here, you will explore and learn how to leverage new technologies in your filmmaking process, enhancing your skills and expanding your creative toolkit for future projects.

Meet our Mentors

Mentor TBA

Mentor Bio

Mentor TBA

Mentor Bio

Mentor TBA

Mentor Bio

  • How To Apply

    Applications Are Now Open

    For Strong Asian Lead Members only


To apply, you must be a member of Strong Asian Lead.
Not a member?

Are You the Perfect Fit?

We’re seeking innovative Asian Pacific American (APA) filmmakers eager to create compelling commercials and ready to take their careers to the next level. This includes (but not limited to) East Asian, South Asian, West Asian, Central Asian, North Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders



Submit your application!


Check our website for the announcement of selected fellows.


The chosen filmmakers start pre-production.


The filming begins.


Final edits and tweaks are made.


The completed commercials are showcased at our premiere party.

Frequently Asked Questions

The APA Commercial Directing Fellowship is a program that matches selected Asian Pacific American filmmakers with Asian American brands to create a commercial. The selected filmmakers receive a $3000 production budget and mentorship to aid in their commercial creation journey.

To apply, submit a 1-minute video pitch, a spec sample or a short film (3 minutes or less), and a brief deck pitching a brand you would like to work with. Fill out the application form on our website.

Applications for the 2023 program are open until August 31, 2023.

While you do not need to live in LA to participate, if you want to attend the launch and premiere parties, you will need to be in LA for those events. We do not provide a travel stipend or hotel accommodations.

Even if you are not selected, you become a member of Strong Asian Lead and get access to our creative resources, events, job postings, and educational materials. You’re also welcome at our meetups and screenings.

The program timeline is as follows:

  • Applications Close: August 31
  • Selection Announcement: September 15
  • Mentor Meeting: September 25
  • Pre-production Phase: October 1 – October 10
  • Production Phase: October 11 – October 20
  • Post-production Phase: October 21 – October 31
  • Premiere Party: November 13

You must be at least 18 years old and be a resident of the United States or Canada to apply.

Applications will be evaluated by a panel of industry professionals based on the quality of work presented, clarity of the brand pitch, and a demonstrated understanding of commercial filmmaking.

Yes, you can submit a short film under 3 minutes or create a spec specifically for this application, but it’s not a requirement. Applicants who submit a 30-sec commercial spec will be be given more consideration. 

Selected filmmakers will receive a $3000 production budget for their commercial. Filmmakers will be able to sue these funds to pay their crew, feed the crew, locations, props, supplies, and to pay themselves for their time. Filmmakers are required to submit a full budget report of what they spend and check in with their mentors about what they are spending the budget on. 

Any costs that exceed the allotted budget must come from the filmmaker themselves and will not be reimbursed by the program. 

No. You may submit a sample spec that is slightly above or under 30-seconds, but must not exceed 60 seconds. above 60 seconds is considered a short film. 

Short films under 3 minutes will be considered with a grace duration of up to 4 minutes. 

While we wish we could select everyone for our Filmmaking Program, that’s not possible. But remember, a ‘no’ for the program isn’t a ‘no’ to your potential.

By applying, you automatically join Strong Asian Lead and get access to our creative resources, events, job postings, and educational materials. You’re always welcome at our meetups and screenings too, giving you plenty of chances to network and grow within our community.

At Strong Asian Lead, we view rejection as a redirection towards new opportunities. So, even if you weren’t chosen this time, we’re still here to support you as you continue to redefine the narrative and represent powerful Asian-American voices in the film industry. Let’s continue this journey together.

I cannot directly connect you with financiers. However, I can assist with developing a strong logline to share with potential financiers. We do have partners who are looking for loglines and we often share the loglines of projects with them. Ultimately financiers will decide if they want to move forward based on the logline.

No, I cannot directly get you a manager. However, I can provide tips on how to improve your skills and reputation as a writer so that managers take notice of you and seek you out.

Your Pitch Deck should include but not limited to:

  1. A Title Slide: Your name, the name of your project, and your contact information.
  2. Project Overview: Briefly describe your project idea, mentioning the Asian-American community you are focusing on.
  3. Creative Approach: Detail how you plan to create the commercial, and how you will utilize the budget and resources provided.
  4. Applicant Background: Share your background, experience, and any qualifications that make you a strong fit for this program.
  5. Proposed Team: If applicable, describe any crew or actors you plan to bring onto the project.
  6. Storyboard or Visuals: While not mandatory, a visual representation of your commercial idea could strengthen your pitch.

In a 1-minute video, please:

  1. Introduce yourself.
  2. Summarize your filmmaking experience, highlighting any commercial or short films you’ve produced.
  3. Pitch your commercial idea, showcasing your creativity, passion, and understanding of the specific Asian-American community you are focusing on.
  4. Explain your planned use of the resources provided.

Your video should be engaging. You’re welcome to make it as well produced as you’d like or a simple selfie. We just want to see your enthusiasm for the program and show us you’re cool to work with. 

Your Journey Starts Here: Application Process

The application process is your first step in this exciting journey. From filling the application form to preparing your pitch deck, every step is a chance for you to stand out!


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