Theme of the 2020 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition Announced in Virtual Party

The Film Lab’s 16th annual 72 Hour Shootout filmmaking competition launched in a virtual party on June 4, 2020, celebrating and empowering voices and stories too often marginalized by mainstream media.

JUNE 5, 2020 — The Film Lab launched the 16th annual 72 Hour Shootout filmmaking competition at a virtual party with the announcement of this year’s theme: GOING VIRAL!

“Going Viral” addresses not just the concerns of COVID-19, which have turned this year’s competition into the first ever “Isolation Edition,” in which filmmakers have been asked to make their movies at home and in accordance with CDC guidelines, but also the societal shifts towards a digital society and resulting shifts in cultural norms.

The Film Lab will roll out the Top 50 films on its online channel — AAFL TV — for an online Audience Choice Awards and then the top 10 films will premiere as part of the Asian American International Film Festival in the fall. Filmmakers compete for mentorships from network TV executives from both ABC and NBC, screen tests, cash, film festival exposure, and more!

The Launch Party featured welcoming remarks by Film Lab President, actor Jennifer Betit Yen, and Film Lab’s Shootout Coordinator, himself a Shootout alum, Tyler Ham Pong. When asked about running the competition (virtually) during a pandemic, Betit Yen explained, “We at the Film Lab knew that now, particularly, the stories of traditionally underrepresented Americans need to be, not just told, but amplified and so, despite everything, the 72 Hour Shootout goes on — albeit as it never has before.”

Pong agreed, adding that the filmmakers this year have responded to filming in isolation positively. Pong noted, “[T]here has been an overwhelmingly positive response to the Isolation Edition of the 72 Hour Film Shootout. All the filmmakers are excited for the challenge. And although each team will interpret the theme differently, they’ll forever be tethered by this empowered community of filmmakers.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio honored the Film Lab with a letter of welcome to the 72 Hour Shootout filmmakers and wished the filmmakers “an inspiring weekend and continued success.” Mayor de Blasio honored Film Lab President Betit Yen last year at Gracie Mansion for her acting and activism work.

About the Asian American Film Lab — A non-profit 501(c)(3) headquartered in New York City that has been dedicated to the promotion and support of gender and ethnic parity in media since 1998. The Film Lab accomplishes that goal in three ways: (1) education; (2) outreach and support; and (3) film, television and online entertainment production. For more information, please visit the Film Lab’s website at Facebook/Twitter/Instagram @AsAmFilmLab #72HrSO #IsolationEdition

Related Links and Tags: #72HrSO #IsolationEdition #GoingViral @AsAmFilmLab Video of Welcoming Remarks:

Award Winning Assistant J-Professor, Hunter College/CUNY. Author, Writer. Blogs at

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