Mission & History
Visual Communications (VC) is the first non-profit organization in the nation dedicated to the honest and accurate portrayals of the Asian Pacific American peoples, communities and heritage through the media arts.
Our mission is to promote intercultural understanding through the creation, presentation, preservation and support of media works by and about Asian Pacific Americans. VC was created with the understanding that media and the arts are important vehicles to organize and empower communities, build connections between generations, challenge perspectives, and create an environment for critical thinking necessary to build a more just and humane society.
Founded in 1970, VC has been a pioneer in the development of Asian Pacific American film, video, and media. VC was founded by Duane Kubo, Robert Nakamura, Alan Ohashi, and Eddie Wong. Along with a core group of artists, filmmakers, photographers, and educators, VC's founders began searching for visual resources to build a greater consciousness of Asian Pacific history in America. Fueled by the burgeoning Civil Rights and Anti-War movements, they set out creating learning kits, photographing community events, audiotaping stories, and collecting historical images of Asian American life.
In the 1970s and 80s, VC took on several ambitious projects in the independent film production arena. That first period of production saw the creation of over fifty films and videos, as well as the production of several educational filmstrips and major photographic exhibits - visual statements on the history and contemporary issues of Asians in the US.
VC premiered the first ever full length Asian American film in 1980: Hito Hata: Raise the Banner. This landmark film was a building of a community-in-progress, involving artists, professional media personnel, scholars, community organizations, and countless number of individuals and community businesses in the making of the film.
In the 1990s and 2000s, VC transitioned from a film production collective to a full-service media arts center. While VC still produced films in this period, the organization also provided support services for Asian American artists and filmmakers, workshops and trainings for the community, and more presentation opportunities for independent media in Los Angeles.
Throughout our history, VC programs have evolved to meet the changing needs of a diverse Asian Pacific Community of over 20 different languages, cultures, and nationalities. The organization has created award winning productions, nurtured and given voice to our youth, promoted new artistic talent, presented new cinema, and preserved our visual history. Today, VC continues to be a conduit for the Asian Pacific global communities to the American public through its numerous arts programs.
Today, annual programming at VC includes: the annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and quarterly community film screenings; the Armed with A Camera Fellowship for emerging media artists; and media education programs for youth, non-profit organizations, and senior citizens and adult learners. VC provides production services for non-profit organizations and serves as fiscal sponsor for independent productions. VC is also home to one of the largest photographic and moving image archives on the Asian Pacific experience in America.