Film Festivals
May 10, 2005, 14:29


On May 7, 2005 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C., GRACE Heritage honors three independent filmmakers and two photographers as the awardees of the 2005 US ASEAN Film, Video & Photography Festival.

The Awards Presentation and Musical Gala closed the 5-day long film screenings and photography exhibit that took place from April 30 to May 4, 2005, at the National Geographic Headquarters in the heart of Washington, D.C. The festival that was attended by more than 2000 people has become the landmark venue to showcase Southeast Asian films and photographs in Washington.

Five hundred guests attended the spectacular Awards Presentation and Musical Gala including 7 ASEAN Ambassadors in DC and their staffs, US government officials such as Dr. Rajeev Venkayya, Senior Director for Biodefense, White House Homeland Security Council, Howard (Ike) Reed, Director for Southeast Asia, National Security Council, White House, Eddy Badrina, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Vellie Dietrich-Hall, Commissioner, President's Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Prakash Khatri and Ombudsman, Department of Homeland Security and other distinguished guests as well as sponsors representatives.

Hosted by Mil Arcega, former NBC Weekend News Anchor, the Ambassadors from Brunei Darussalam (HE Pengiran Anak Dato Puteh), Malaysia (HE Dato Ghazzali SA Khalid), Indonesia (HE Soemadi D.M. Brotodiningrat), Thailand (HE Kasit Piromya), and Singapore (HE Chan Heng Chee) presented the following GRACE Heritage awards.

In film,

O Documentary: The Last Bissu (Rhoda Grauer, about Indonesia)

O Experimental: Homebound/Balikbayan (Larilyn Sanchez and Riza Manalo, the Philippines)

O Narrative: Running in Tall Grasses (Howard Vu, Vietnam)

In photography,

O Single Image : Solitude by Inke Lake, Myanmar (Sandra Leavitt, Ashburn, Virginia)

O Portfolio Image : Southeast Asia ( Pepper Etters, Vail, Colorado)

The objective of this festival is to showcase and provide exposure for the projects by artists from Southeast Asia. The hope is that other nationalities will explore the region by directing films or producing photographs. The theme for this year’s Festival is “Rediscovering Heritage” and focuses on the treasures and heritage of Southeast Asians but also encourages non-Southeast Asians to look at a beautiful culture and explore one beyond their own.

The Musical Gala presented the premier of the original one-act musical play “Passionate Heart.” It is a story about a talented dancer/choreographer from Southeast Asia studying in America, raising the cultural conflicts between traditional Southeast Asian values and western modernity. It is written and directed by Robert Neal Marshall, and choreographed by Eleanor Madrona. The music is composed by Jason Brown.

The film showing and photography exhibition was successfully held in partnership with the National Geographic Society in DC. This year’s festival is endorsed and supported by ASEAN Embassies in Washington, D.C., the American University School of Communication and the US ASEAN Business Council. The Executive Producer is Artha Graha Group, a diversified conglomerate from Indonesia who also provided significant support to the tsunami relief effort in Banda Aceh. Other sponsors include the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia, Future View, the Singapore Tourism Board, Tourism Malaysia, Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold, Kite Museum-Jakarta, ASEAN Secretariat, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways International, Bogasari Flour Mills, Raja Garuda Mas International, Golden Manyaran, Amtrak, Mr. Theodore P. Rachmat, Express, and The Washington Post. Media support is provided by Asian Fortune, Asiance, Washington Asia Press, and the MRA Group. The Asia Society, SEARAC and USINDO assisted GRACE Heritage to promote this event to their members.

GRACE Heritage is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that raises awareness on ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region through cultural and entertainment diplomacy. GRACE Heritage was founded by two Indonesians, Jasmine Wibisono and Karina Lee Sudyatmiko in November 2002. To learn more about the organization, visit

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