Filmmaker Linda Mabalot, who founded the Asian Pacific Film and Video Festival and helped the careers of Asian-American directors as head of nonprofit media production and advocacy firm Visual Communications in L.A., died May 19 of lung cancer in suburban West Hills, Calif. She was 49.
She joined Visual Communications in 1977 and was named executive director in 1985.
She produced and directed such projects as “Manong” (1977), a docu on the history of Filipinos in California; was executive producer for “Moving the Image” television series for the Intl. Channel Network during the 1990s; was producer-director of “Hiroshima 20 Years Later” (1996) and “Imaging: A Century of Asian Women in Film”; and oversaw the statewide touring photographic exhibit “Heading East: California’s Asian Pacific Experience” (1998) for the California Sesquicentennial Commission and California State Library.
For more than 30 years, her life was dedicated to the preservation and nurturing of Asian-American media arts and artists. One of her main goals was to encourage Asian-American filmmakers to tell their stories. She created the film festival, which began in collaboration with the UCLA film department, in 1984. One of the largest showcases of Asian and Asian-American filmmaking in the country, the festival, held at several sites around Los Angeles, drew 10,000 people over seven days in early May.
The group also sponsored filmmakers such as Justin Lin, who directed this year’s look at Asian-American teens, “Better Luck Tomorrow.”
She is survived by her mother, two sisters and others.
A memorial tribute will be held 4 p.m. Sunday June 22 at the Aratani/Japan America Theater, 244 South San Pedro St. in downtown L.A.’s Little Tokyo.
Donations can be made to Visual Communications’ Linda Mabalot Legacy Fund, 120 Judge John Aiso St.. Los Angeles, CA 90012, to continue her work in supporting Asian-Pacific American artists and building opportunities for them.