Current Projects


We are very sorry to announce the following news, but our annual underground Diversity in Place film festival won’t take place this year.


It was an hard decision to make and we really want to thank you for your submission.


Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 5.27.54 AMDecember 2012 | The Diversity in Place Film Initiative opens up its 5th annual international call for short films on URBAN UPRISINGS.

“In the wake of the 2008 explosion of the current economic crisis, more and more people are actively fighting to restore what they’ve lost. Not since the ‘60s have so many people across the globe taken to the streets to demand a more just and democratic society, access to housing, health care, education, food, jobs, a clean and safe environment and lives free from police violence. Most of these uprisings are rooted in the urban landscape. Many of their demands imply a major transformation in the way our cities work.”

Share with us your stories of urban uprisings, current and alternative visions of how to build new communities and a new city, and the current work being done toward this end.

The Diversity in Place Film Fest will take place in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, June 16, 2013.


April 20, 2013.


We accept any short film, narrative, experimental, animated or documentary under 30 minutes in length.

  • Please upload your film on and send us the link. If you don’t want to go public, vimeo gives you the option to keep your film private. Privacy options are available so you can have complete control over who sees your videos.  To share the password-protected video, you can send an email to with the password inside.
  • Fill the online submission form


Standard Fee: $15
Student Fee: $10

Please make check payable to Hawai`i Academy of Performing Arts (HAPA) and send to: Diversity in Place Film Festival, attn: Vera HWF c/o The ARTS at Marks Garage, 1159 Nu`uanu Avenue, Honolulu,  Hawai`i l 96817-5121 l Phone: 808.206.0848 l Fax: 808.521.2923l Email
Online payment available.  Standard &  StudentPlease note that there will be a $2 convenience fee included on all online payments.


Approximately May 1, 2013


The festival, which was firstly organized 4 years ago, stems from the attempt to create fruitful intersections between Urban Planning and Filmmaking, as a research methodology, way of knowing and disseminating knowledge about how people live in and experience place. It’s an hybrid event, thought originally in a conference format, and posted as such on more academic circles, especially in its very first reiterations, but then aimed at reaching filmmakers -out of academic circles- interested in the annual theme. We usually post a call -like for a conference, but instead of papers, we ask to submit films on the theme selected for that year.

At the festival, we host introductory notes/lectures by researchers who in the field this initiative was born, i.e. planning/urban studies, have used film in their work. Once again, it is an hybrid event, born in an academic environment to use filmmaking for social research -especially in light of how extensively film is used in the classroom, and increasingly as a research output (and not only in film-related fields) too. An outlet as well a venue where to gather and converse about the films and through the films about issues related to place, placemaking, multicultural cities, diversity, and right to the city to cite few, across disciplinary and professional boundaries.

For more information, please send us an email to


APRIL 28-29, 2011 Cosmopolitanism as a mode of practice and competence involves the ability of individuals to navigate different cultures and their respective systems of meanings. Yet rarely is the role that place plays explicitly considered as being crucial for the emergence of this mode of practice and competence to occur, develop and be nurtured.  Hence, though cosmopolitanism does not happen in a vacuum, it is usually abstracted from everyday life and usually associated with elite traveling across several borders.

Alternatively, this year call intends to solicit films that look at very localized forms of cosmopolitanism and tell stories of everyday experiences of cosmopolitanism as they occur in our everyday spaces and places. Cosmopolis at the Grassroots asks for films that raise awareness of the inevitably increasing diverse social and built environment we live in -a view from the grassroots- as to document and value the everyday creative efforts towards the making of Cosmopolis of familiar places where we, all of us, can be at home.

In an innovative way toward mutual learning, this event, an intersection between a film festival and a conference, explores the potential applications of film as one of the most ideal formats through which we can understand people’s relations with place. Different from an usual film festival, it is not only themed, but  also hosts a keynote speaker who will give an introductory lecture, and the filmmakers are invited to discuss extensively their work during the Q&A session. Yet, though following this conference format, instead of asking for papers, we call for films and videos as visual essays on this year theme.

This event reaches out to scholars, teachers, students and practitioners alike who are searching for alternative methods to conventional data analysis and academic writing to create, investigate, manage, and disseminate knowledge.

On how to submit, please click here

This initiative is led by Vera Zambonelli, Associate Director of the Filmmaking for Social Research Program at the Globalization Research Center, University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

Fur further info, please contact us:

From the Honolulu Weekly 3/31/2010

Cities have a way of developing reputations based on subsets or personalities. If you ask people around the world about Chicago, many still cite Al Capone while sliding their arms back and forth like a tommy gun. You’d be hard pressed to bring up Philadelphia without someone raving about that Cheez Whiz laden steak sandwich. And let’s not even mention Detroit. Despite urban stereotypes, cities are a blend of continuously evolving neighborhoods and places. Each area and institution uniquely contributes to the creation of a city’s culture.

The University of Hawaii’s Urban and Regional Planning department offers a chance to explore these unique parts with the Diversity of Places Film Festival. The festival showcases a series of films that demonstrate how places are defined, and challenges us to re-evaluate how we experience our own communities.

“These films ask … who has the right to make or remake places and why?” said organizer Vera Zambonelli, who will be leading the event. “We want to promote awareness and critical outlook on how we, all of us, experience place.”

The festival is split into three parts, starting with a number of short films on topics ranging from the works of a non-profit bike shop in Philadelphia to a coming of age documentary on South Asian women living in Queens. The award winning film A Village Called Versailles follows, telling the story of a Vietnamese American community in New Orleans struggling not only to recover post-Katrina, but fighting to block the government’s efforts to place a toxic landfill next to their neighborhood. The evening culminates with a moderated discussion featuring filmmakers Leo Chiang, Brittney Shepherd, Eva Moss and Misa Tupou.

The ARTS At Marks Garage, 1159 Nuuanu Ave., Sun 4/4, 3PM, FREE, [], 521-2903

A diversity of places compounds our current urban realities. These include nourishing places as well as unsettling, even frightening, places.  Some places are inclusive civic spaces open to all; others are private, exclusive and controlled places. Places for children and places for adults; sacred places where we go for spiritual uplifting; restaurants and other places where we go to eat; places for women, and places where women may not feel too welcomed or simply “out of place” are also sites inscribed by social diversity.

Observing all such places raises the question of what creates the appropriateness of the use and social inscriptions of a place. More specifically, who has the right to (re-)make and use such places and why?   When does a place create/transmit sense of safety, or its opposite? For example, consider the idea of home, which usually evoke a sense of care, familiarity, and safety. Yet, it may also become a place of terror, as the too many incidents of domestic violence may suggest. In other words, place is embedded with a multiplicity of experiences, meanings and emotions. These may be experienced individually or shared among a group of people, who may vindicate ownership and use it in spatializing their identity.

Hence, given this mushrooming diversity of places, the main objective of this project and related film festivals is to promote awareness and a critical outlook on how we, all of us, experience place so as to have a better understanding of how it works, affects people’s lives and people intervene in its making.