Alibaba Pictures and Pasadena Community Foundation Announce Winners of the Big Heart Small Film Competition

Four winning films premiered at the Big Heart Small Film Awards Ceremony

$200,000 raised from event will support Pasadena- and Los Angeles-area non-profit organizations

PASADENA, Calif.--()--Alibaba Pictures Group Limited (“Alibaba Pictures”) and the Pasadena Community Foundation (“PCF”) announced the four winners of their Big Heart Small Film competition at a premiere event on Thursday, November 16 at the Huntington Library’s Rothenberg Hall. All nine finalists created films to raise awareness of local non-profit organizations in the Pasadena community and the Greater Los Angeles area. Each of the nine non-profits received a $2,500 grant from the Pasadena Community Foundation. The event raised $200,000, which will be used to support Pasadena Community Foundation’s grant-making programs for Pasadena- and Los Angeles-area non-profit organizations.

“We are excited to have been able to be a part of this event and celebrate these powerful stories of ‘doing good’ in Pasadena. Our films give the community a unique perspective on the missions of our incredible non-profits,” said Jennifer DeVoll, CEO of Pasadena Community Foundation. “We are proud of our collaboration with Alibaba Pictures and look forward to seeing these stories shared.”

“Giving back to the communities we serve is a shared priority of Alibaba Pictures and PCF,” said Wei Zhang, President of Alibaba Pictures Group Limited. “These filmmakers have shown a true dedication to telling the compelling stories of Pasadena-area non-profits. Our hope is that this project inspires others to find their philanthropic passion and make an impact in their communities. As a local resident of the Pasadena area, I’m proud of the stories being told due to this partnership and to positively contribute to all of the great organizations involved.”

“I applaud the filmmakers for their creative contributions to the goals of ‘Big Heart Small Film’,” said Steven Spielberg, one of the industry’s most successful and influential filmmakers and competition judge. “Their variety of stories expressed not only their talent, but also their desire to make a personal impact on viewers here and around the world. It is terrific to see a partnership between Alibaba Pictures and the Pasadena Community Foundation designed to turn a light – and a lens – on the good work all around us.”

These winning films exhibited a mastery of storytelling and creatively addressed their non-profits’ unique work in Pasadena:

Gold Prize

  • DEAR MAMA – follows a man on a journey to re-enter society after incarceration.
  • Filmmaker: Jiayuan Liu, USC School of Cinematic Arts
  • Non-profit: Flintridge Center creates opportunities for individuals to become contributing and self-sufficient community members.

Silver Prize

  • POINT & DREAM – explores the issue of homelessness from the eyes of a child.
  • Filmmaker: Rui Cui, USC School of Cinematic Arts
  • Non-profit: Union Station Homeless Services helps homeless individuals and families rebuild their lives, leading the way to end homelessness in our community.

Bronze Prizes

  • THEM – gives a glimpse into the life of a girl with autism and her mother’s determination to ensure her child has opportunities.
  • Filmmaker: Taro Wei, USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
  • Non-Profit: Professional Child Development Associates offers a range of specialized therapy services and programs for children, teens, and young adults who have autism or other developmental disabilities.


  • HEADSHOT – shares the story of an aspiring actress and a printing professional, who look beyond their disabilities and learn they can do anything.
  • Filmmaker: Eva Ye, USC School of Cinematic Arts
  • Non-profit: AbilityFirst provides a variety of programs designed to help people with disabilities achieve their personal best throughout their lives.

To view these winning films and the other finalists, follow this link:

The Awards Ceremony on Thursday, November 16 showed each of the four winning films. John Horn, Host of KPCC’s The Frame and emcee of the Awards Ceremony said the finalist videos highlighted “very poignant and powerful stories.” One judge gave “Dear Mama,” the Gold Prize film by Jiayuan Liu featuring Flintridge Center, a perfect score, commenting that the concept of the film was “imaginative and well-executed.”

The competition was judged by a group of prominent entertainment industry leaders including directors Steven Spielberg ("Jaws," "Jurassic Park"); John Lee Hancock (“Saving Mr. Banks,” “The Founder”); and D.J. Caruso (“Disturbia,” “Eagle Eye”); producer Don Hahn (“Beauty & the Beast”); actor and entrepreneur, Billy Zane (“Titanic”); President, Alibaba Pictures Group Limited, Wei Zhang; Head of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television’s Producers Program, Denise Mann; Chairman and CEO of East West Bank, Dominic Ng. John Horn (KPCC’s “The Frame”) emceed the event.

The participating Pasadena non-profits and filmmakers include:

  • Arroyo's & Foothills Conservancy – Angela Liu
  • Five Acres – Dmitry Kharchuk & Xueru Tang
  • Pasadena Playhouse – Xinxuan (Demi) Zhong
  • AbilityFirst – Eva Ye
  • Flintridge Center – Jiayuan Liu
  • Huntington Senior Care Network – Muqing Li
  • Pasadena Police Activities League (PAL) – Qingge Gao
  • Professional Child Development Associates – Siyu (Taro) Wei
  • Union Station Homeless Services – Rui Cui

For more information about the Big Hearts Small Film event and competition, please visit:

About Pasadena Community Foundation

The Pasadena Community Foundation (PCF) is a tax-exempt public charity created by and for the people of Pasadena. Managing over $70 million in charitable assets, PCF works with individuals, families and organizations to establish philanthropic funds, invests and builds endowment funds and provides grants to local non-profits. PCF focuses on six areas of local interest: arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and youth. Dedicated to growth and posterity, PCF is Pasadena’s permanent endowment for public good.

About Alibaba Pictures Group Limited

Alibaba Pictures, headquartered in Pasadena, is an Internet-driven movie and television entertainment powerhouse. The company’s operations integrate the full entertainment value chain, including investment and financing, content sourcing and production, promotion and distribution, as well as cinema services. Alibaba Pictures has invested in the production of movies such as Ferry Man, Three Lives Three Worlds Ten Miles of Peach Blossom and Ao Jiao Yu Pian Jian. It has also invested in international film projects such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Star Trek Beyond, Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation, and REAL starring popular Korean actor Kim Soo Hyun. Alibaba Pictures has also partnered with Skydance Media to finance and produce the WWII-themed feature film Flying Tigers, for which renowned Hollywood screenwriter Randall Wallace is on board write the script. Meanwhile, it has an upcoming TV series and movie Swords of Legends 2.

Alibaba Pictures is listed on both The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (stock code: 1060) and the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited (stock code: S91). Alibaba Group is the largest shareholder.

About Big Heart Small Film

In January 2017, Alibaba Pictures and PCF announced a partnership to support nine local non-profit organizations with the launch of the ‘Big Heart Small Film’ short film competition. Nine aspiring filmmakers were selected and matched with the non-profits to create short films featuring the critical work of these organizations and to raise awareness of the vibrant philanthropic efforts in the Pasadena community.


Pasadena Community Foundation
Kathryn Mgrublian
Alibaba Pictures
Hannah Dunning / Monique Sidhom
415-618-8750 / 310-201-2040 /


Pasadena Community Foundation
Kathryn Mgrublian
Alibaba Pictures
Hannah Dunning / Monique Sidhom
415-618-8750 / 310-201-2040 /