As Visual Communications celebrates its 49th year, I just have to say: WHAAAT? It just seems like yesterday when a scruffy group of film students, community photographers, a few graphic artists, and students banded together to form VC.
Things have certainly changed – our communities have grown, new technologies enable us to tell our stories daily, and the level of proficiency and sophistication among Asian Pacific American media makers is quite high. And yet things haven’t changed in many ways. Despite the visibility of our communities, our stories are still not widely acknowledged or understood. Yes, some of our cultural holidays are noted but not our histories or our dreams and aspirations. We still have much work to do.
Visual Communications has been tilling the soil and planting seeds for 49 years. Whether VC was producing books, films, videos or exhibits about APA life or presenting the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival over the last 35 years, VC has sought to create a space where our lives are respected and recognized as vital participants in our society. It hasn’t been easy, and we couldn’t have done it without you our donors, supporters, and community of artists, writers, historians, and educators.
Let’s celebrate our accomplishments and build upon them for the future. This year VC is proud to recognize two individuals who have contributed greatly to the field of Asian Pacific American media: Walt Louie, film/video editor, teacher, mentor, and VC Board Member, and Jessica Yu, filmmaker and writer. This year’s Cornerstone Award goes to Gidra, the community newspaper, which was just down the hall from the first VC office. I’m proud to have been part of both Gidra and VC blazing new trails albeit without any particular sense of direction.
Looking ahead to 2020 when VC actually becomes 50 years old, I’m excited by the new challenges and new opportunities that lay ahead. In VC’s next 50 years, there will be new platforms to tell our stories – 3D, VR, immerso-vision perhaps, but no matter what comes down the road, the indelible power of images combined with emotive storytelling will shape how we see ourselves and how others see us.
Eddie WongCo-Founder of Visual Communications