A RENEWAL OF THE LOS ANGELES ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL
“Whether we are producing media, or whether we are in an advocacy role…Our work is not over.”
– Linda Mabalot, Visual Communications Executive Director (1985-2003)
As we celebrate the 52+ years of Visual Communications and approach the 39th edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF), we are humbled to continue the work guided by these words from our former Executive Director, Linda Mabalot. We begin a new Festival season by rededicating our upcoming work to Linda’s regenerative impact and cultural abundance to VC and our communities. We are called to be in closer community with Artists and Allies in order to build a Festival that fosters wellness and joy.
Recent social, political, and cultural movements gave us the opportunity to pause and reflect. These challenging moments necessitated us to think about who and what is essential, and amplified the changes that needed to happen to renew our collective work towards equity and justice.
In 2020, Visual Communications reached its 50 year milestone because of community support and collective work. However, this anniversary is also a product of decades of sacrifices from staff, volunteers, and artists, surviving through periods of scarcity.
We ruminate how/if our programs and presentations create impact by asking difficult questions such as:
Are we an organization that is an agent of change, or an impediment?
Are we doing anti-racist work? Or are we just a cog in a system of media and entertainment?
Are we creating community, or are we inflating individual egos?
Through these reflections come renewed intentions and desired impact. In our continued challenge to improve and create brave spaces, we have to mitigate extractive practices to make our work more impactful.
For VC and the Festival to create and sustain cultural abundance, we need to (re)commit to restorative values and practices that create systemic change outlined in RESTORING THE FUTURE, the product of intellectual, emotional, and physical labor led by Karim Ahmad and the ALLIED coalition of organizations.
Uphold BIPOC artists, creative workers, and arts organizations as essential and as drivers of cultural power and change
Mitigate and abstain from extractive practices that does not fully value our artistic and cultural contributions
Build regenerative and accessible economic systems that allow artists, creative workers, and arts organizations to be equitably remunerated for their artistic and cultural labor
Create a network of alliances to shift institutions, corporations, and philanthropy that do not uphold our values, and transform them to become our investors in new systems and structures
Producing and presenting a film festival for almost four decades has brought meaningful convergences with artists and communities, and countless celebrations.
However, the Festival has also brought moments of trauma and harm. Compounded by a pandemic, the ailments we amplified.
Because of this, we now look at wellness and joy as guiding principles for the Festival. Sometimes we see filmmakers as primarily as artists, often forgetting that we have individual and collective needs to be acknowledged and supported as people first. People who want to belong and be affirmed, before they are tasked to create communities.
It’s not about perfection, but progress. We needed to do better. We owed it to ourselves, artists, and communities. In reflection of our intentions and values, we desire to build a Festival community with YOU.
TO OUR STAFF & PROGRAMMERS
VC will continue to work towards creating abundance to remunerate staff for your labor. We will also be intentional in creating spaces for wellness and joy as part of our practice. In return, we ask you to be responsible to our communities by maintaining our curatorial justice values related to equity, ethics, and accountability. Additionally, we ask you to be brave in creating programs and events that invite collisions conducive for community dialogue.
TO OUR ARTISTS & FILMMAKERS
VC will continue to provide spaces and moments to create community with each other. In return, we ask you to support your fellow filmmakers and artists by showing up for them and to be brave by being accountable to our communities.
Understand that we program and curate the festival with an intent to connect artists with communities, which requires you to check your ego and to reflect on your spaces of affirmation.
And because we are not perfect, we also ask for grace through every up and down of the festival.
TO OUR FUNDERS & PARTNERS
VC will continue to partner with organizations who share our values in creating regenerative models that fully value our communities. In return, we ask you to be an active participant mitigating extractive actions that harm our artists and communities.
TO OUR COMMUNITIES
VC will provide transparency. As part of our growing practice, we will be sharing our dynamic programming and operational processes as we approach the Festival. Please keep a lookout for updates to this living document.
If you are an artist/filmmaker and the above intentions and values resonate with you, we invite you to share your work with us. If you are a funder and partner, we invite you to support our practice and not just the product. We look forward to building a community with you.