21 Feb February 21: Pacific Arts Movement Welcomes Executive Director Alex Villafuerte Villafuerte brings years of community advocacy work to the San Diego Asian Film Festival
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Carmela Prudencio, Carmela@sdaff.org, 951-265-1544
SAN DIEGO, February 21, 2023
February 21: Pacific Arts Movement Welcomes Executive Director Alex Villafuerte
Villafuerte brings years of community advocacy work to the San Diego Asian Film Festival
Pacific Arts Movement (Pac Arts), presenters of the San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF), announces Alex Villafuerte as the organization’s new Executive Director. As a local community leader, and longtime supporter of the organization, Villafuerte comes to Pac Arts with almost a decade of experience as an advocate for LGBTQ and Asian American and Pacific Islander voices and stories.
“I’m honored to join the Pacific Arts Movement family as their Executive Director,” said Pacific Arts Movement Executive Director Alex Villafuerte. “I hope the San Diego community will join us in April as we kick off the Spring Showcase and continue amplifying the stories of our Asian and Pacific Islander community.”
Villafuerte brings years of experience in event and community organizing for San Diego’s largest civic event, the San Diego Pride parade where he formerly served as San Diego Pride’s Director of Marketing and Communications. He led the charge to found the San Diego Queer APIMEDA Coalition in 2018 while generating over $3 million in ticket sales. Through his efforts, he expanded San Diego Pride’s year-round programming while elevating LGBTQ arts and culture.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime to work alongside Alex Villafuerte over the last 7 years. The depth of his expertise, passion for intersectional justice, and unstoppable drive to serve the community were instrumental in the historic growth of San Diego Pride and the founding of multiple programs and organizations including the San Diego API Coalition,” says Fernando Z. Lopez, Executive Director of San Diego Pride. “Unquestionably our organization and our region have been made better by his care. I am thrilled to see how he leads PacArts into the future.”
Building upon that work in 2020, Villafuerte organized a joint statement with over 70+ API-serving organizations denouncing xenophobia, racism, and the increasing acts of violence targeting Asian and Pacific Islander communities. From that response and collaboration, Pac Arts and other organizations worked together during the pandemic to found the San Diego API Coalition where Villafuerte currently serves as the co-chair of the coalition.
“Our city has been a beneficiary of Alex’s leadership in key community organizations including San Diego Pride, Asian Business Association San Diego, and the San Diego API Coalition. I’m looking forward to seeing Alex elevate arts and culture in our region as the new Executive Director of the Pacific Arts Movement,” shares Todd Gloria, Mayor of San Diego.
Villafuerte is excited to continue his work uplifting underrepresented voices through Pac Art’s mission to present unique, culturally-enriching programs that would otherwise be inaccessible to the public through the annual San Diego Asian Film Festival and the upcoming SDAFF Spring Showcase slated for April 20-27, 2023.
“As the founder of Pac Arts, I am genuinely excited for Alex to lead the organization into its next chapter. His creativity, work ethic, knowledge of San Diego, and ability to organize large scale events are invaluable,” says Pac Arts Founder and former Executive Director, Lee Ann Kim. “ Most of all, his deep understanding and passion for the power of storytelling are the exact reason why I started the film festival to begin with. I admire Alex’s courage and determination to take on this leadership role, and I support him 100%”.
California State Assemblymember Evan Low:
“Congratulations to the Pacific Arts Movement’s Executive Director Alex Villafuerte. Alex has been a champion for AAPI and LGBTQ rights including serving on the San Diego County Human Relations Commission, as a co-founder of the San Diego Asian Pacific Islander Coalition, and amplifying our community’s voices through San Diego Pride and the Asian Business Association San Diego.”
San Diego City Councilmember Kent Lee:
“After years of working together through co-founding the San Diego API Coalition and in advocating for our communities, I couldn’t be more excited for Pac Arts’ future with Alex as its new Executive Director. Alex’s community and coalition building experience has been instrumental in uplifting Asian American and Pacific Islander voices — especially at a time where community advocacy has never been more critical. I look forward to working with Alex and the entire Pac Arts team through the Council District 6 office in the years to come.”
ABOUT THE SAN DIEGO ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL:
The San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) is the most comprehensive portrait of Asian and Asian American cinema in North America. The 12th SDAFF Spring Showcase is scheduled for April 20-27, 2023 at the Ultrastar Cinemas in Mission Valley. For more information, visit sdaff.org.
ABOUT PACIFIC ARTS MOVEMENT:
Pacific Arts Movement (Pac Arts) launched in 2000 when it debuted the San Diego Asian Film Festival, a showcase of Asian American and Asian international cinema. Rooted in the love of film and the arts, global citizenship, and Asian culture and communities, Pac Arts became an official nonprofit media arts organization in 2002, and is now one of the most significant exhibitions of Asian cinema in North America. Pac Arts presents two major annual events: The Spring Showcase (April) and the San Diego Asian Film Festival (November), which bring awareness to, and educate the public about, Pan Asian cinema and media issues throughout the year.