Stanley Wong Insurance Agency needs your vote by August 31 to win $10,000 for Pacific Arts Movement (Pac Arts). Read about their history of supporting and growing the nonprofit’s film programming, such as the San Diego Asian Film Festival, as well as other forms of artistic expression aiming to enrich the San Diego community culturally while promoting positive social change.
Pac Arts organized the first San Diego Asian American Film Festival at the University of San Diego in 2000 with the goal of exposing the broader San Diego community to Asian American film. The festival has run every year since and, by last count, shows a lineup of 140 films from 20 countries to an audience of more than 20,000 people.
Over the last two decades, the nonprofit has expanded its programming to additional screening events, fellowships for working filmmakers and educational programs for youth. Another of its flagship programs, Reel Voices, gives high school students on summer break the opportunity to learn documentary filmmaking, and many of those have gone on to pursue rewarding careers in film.
A feast for the senses
Pac Arts understands that cultural expression takes many forms, and that pans aren’t just a film technique, which is why it started pairing its media offerings with food events. Chew the Scene, the festival’s launch party, showcases local Asian American and Pacific Islander chefs and restaurants to celebrate cultural diversity through food.
“Sponsoring Jump Cuts gave us the chance to support our commercial restaurant clients by helping introduce people to their unique cuisines.”
– Alan Wong, managing partner of Stanley Wong Insurance Agency
In 2019, to kick off its third decade, Pac Arts organized Jump Cuts: Family Style, a food crawl through the heart of the city’s Convoy District. Home to many of San Diego’s Asian businesses, the Convoy has a wealth of international delicacies on offer. The event shuttled festival-goers between restaurants, bars and desert shops, where they sampled tasting items prepared especially for the event. Stanley Wong Insurance was a lead sponsor.
“Our offices are in the heart of Convoy District,” says Alan Wong, the agency’s managing partner. “Sponsoring Jump Cuts gave us the chance to support our commercial restaurant clients by helping introduce people to their unique cuisines.”
Navigating the pandemic’s challenges
The COVID-19 pandemic created unique challenges for Pac Arts – from limits on in-person events to growing xenophobia and racism among those who blame Asian countries and cultures for our globally shared misfortune.
Given that context, Pac Arts’ goal of fostering cross-cultural dialogue and understanding is even more relevant today than it was at the pandemic’s outset. “If you look at some of the reactions, many stem from a lack of knowledge of other people and an understanding of differences,” says Kent Lee, the current executive director of Pac Arts.
“If you look at some of the reactions, many stem from a lack of knowledge of other people and an understanding of differences.”
– Kent Lee, executive director of Pac Arts
As the public finds its way out of the pandemic and addresses some of the social ramifications, Pac Arts is itself undertaking change. As a Pac Arts board member, Alan Wong has stepped up to help lead the search for a new executive director, devoting hours every week to interviewing candidates and reporting back to other board members. Wong was also instrumental in helping the nonprofit find a new space for its offices during the pandemic.
“With the support of our agency and other organizations, Pac Arts has emerged from the pandemic stronger than ever,” says Wong. “We look forward to a time when we can gather again to watch films and celebrate our culture and heritage.”
Get more eyes on this good cause
If your agency volunteers with a 501(c)3 nonprofit, learn how you can win a Make More Happen Award here.