November 6th, 2016

Asian Film Festival: From Laughs To Tears

Pacific Arts Movement’s Annual Cinema Fete Runs Through November 12


Kikstar Young

The San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF), now in its 17th year, continues to set standards and push boundaries. Presented by the Pacific Arts Movement, the festival will screen 140 films representing 15 countries and cover an eclectic mix of topics, from zombies and mermaids to immigration issues. Featured genres include comedies, animation, documentaries and experimental films.

“We want to inflame passion, get people riled up and thinking about what their role is in society, especially for Asian Americans,” Brian Hu, the festival’s artistic director, told the San Diego Union-Tribune earlier this week.

“We don’t want to give audiences comfortable rides. There are a lot of avenues for that. We touch on such hot-button issues as refugees, criminal justice, gender and LGBT. We are not trying to brainwash people, but want to stoke the fires a little.”

For a schedule of remaining film screenings and festival-related activities visit

The 10-day fete, which runs through November 12, included a gala and awards ceremony Saturday night welcoming the cast and crew of several of the festival’s celebrated films. For a photographic retrospective of Saturday’s red carpet walk and awards ceremony click here.

Quote Of The Week

The quote of the week goes to Tony Manolatos, spokesman for the No on C campaign:

“The best form of communication with voters is walking door to door — there’s no doubt about it — but we don’t have the resources to do that.”

Well, not exactly.

Manolatos’ quote appears in a story earlier this week by David Garrick of the San Diego Union-Tribune — “Strong Ground Game Supporting Stadium Measure.” The article chronicles Yes on C campaign tactics, including a door to door canvassing effort by several hundred volunteers to educate voters on what Measure C proponents believe to be the benefits of the initiative.

Tony Manolatos

Tony Manolatos

Measure C opponents, writes Garrick, “have not been able to visit people door to door.” This is true, though the “resources” to do so do exist. They simply haven’t been engaged. This is likely due, in great part, to a sense of complacency among Measure C opponents that prospects for the measure’s passage are poor, so why make the effort.

In addition, civic engagement has not been a high priority for the region’s visitor industry in recent years, though the tourism sector has the greatest to lose in the event Measure C, or D for the matter, passes. Educating the broader community on the benefits of tourism should be given a higher level of importance by the industry.

Assuming both measures fail to even break the 50 percent mark on Tuesday, there will likely be a Measure C 2.0 somewhere down the road. The hope is that such a measure would meet with support from all stakeholders. But in the event the visitor industry finds itself on the outside, it will have plenty of resources to call on — assuming it sees the obvious value in doing so.

The tourism sector likes to tout its more than 160,000 employees in San Diego. And numerous industry organizations exist who can help harness these resources. These include a number of local hospitality related associations representing hotels, restaurants and industry service providers, as well as local chapters of national organizations like NACE (National Association of Catering Executives), MPI (Meeting Professionals International) and ISES (International Special Events Society, which recently changed its name to the International Live Events Association — ILEA).

The San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA), for example, employs more than 80 full-time associates and counts among its membership base nearly 1,000 member companies. Engaging just a fraction of these individuals would provide an army of volunteers to go door to door and help educate San Diegans on the significant contributions made by tourism to the local economy and our quality of life.

As the local destination management organization (DMO), SDTA should play a greater role on the civic/community engagement front.

To hear industry consultant Roger Rickard tell it:

“It is vital for DMOs to organize and proactively lead these community conversations that speak to the importance of the visitor.”

(More on this topic in a future post.)


Mohsen Khaleghi

On a related hospitality industry note, congratulations to Mohsen Khaleghi, who will join the San Diego Convention Center on November 7 as the facility’s new senior vice president and chief development officer.

An industry veteran, Khaleghi previously worked for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts for more than 30 years, holding general manager positions at properties in La Jolla and Mission Bay, according to the San Diego Business Journal. He was also the hotel manager at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.

In addition, Khaleghi has previously served on the boards of the San Diego Tourism Marketing District and SDTA.

In his new role, Khaleghi “will seek to develop new ways to drive economic impact from the waterfront convention center.”

ICYMI: The Week In Headlines

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