Over the course of the next year, five artists and their partner nonprofit organizations will bring engaging arts projects to communities throughout San Diego as part of the Creative Catalyst Program. In anticipation of their work, we are featuring each of the artists so you can get to know them, the art experiences they will provide, and their impact in the region.
Evan Apodaca is a San Diego-based filmaker and media artist whose work has been streamed nationally through PBS, as well as at film festivals and museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Chicano International Film Festival and the San Diego Latino Film Festival. Evan also helps the next generation of creators as a teacher of special effects in filmmaking at Platt College.
As part of his Creative Catalyst project, Evan is working with nonprofit organization So Say We All to develop a video series exploring military culture in San Diego and its role in regional development.
Apodaca will utilize So Say We All storytelling outreach channels, including its Veterans’ Writers Division, to create an historically-accurate work through a collection of oral histories that bring local stories to a wider, regional audience and strengthen the connection between the community and San Diego history.
We spent some time with Evan, who shared his passion for filmmaking and storytelling and what he hopes to achieve through his Creative Catalyst project.
Interview with Evan Apodaca
The San Diego Foundation: Evan, what inspires you to be an artist?
Evan Apodaca: I create films to ask critical questions about society and try to put images behind those inquiries. I try to inject creativity into the idea of investigating history and the supposed “truths” present in the genre of documentary. In past film projects, I’ve tried to speak to and for my ancestors.
In the case of the Creative Catalyst project, I am investigating how the military affects the culture and people of San Diego because it is where I live and I feel everyone here deserves to know what’s behind the curtain.
TSDF: What role do you believe art plays in civil society?
EA: The answer to that question is probably dependent on the cultural context. -I try to be honest about what I am accomplishing with my art because as artists it can be easy to be delusional about how our art functions or what it is actually tangibly doing. I think at the very least, that creative expression itself can serve as the doorway for society to pre-meditate on seeking justice.
TSDF: How do you engage with the community through your art?
EA: I try to ask my community and the people I engage with direct questions about the topics I’m investigating. I hold conversations about topics like assimilation, class and race, then incorporate what I hear and learn directly into the project.
Even after editing, engagement with the community never really ends.
Once complete, the work goes online, into festivals and galleries where audiences have additional input and opinions. Oftentimes, I will go back and re-edit the project because of crucial questions that were asked.
TSDF: What memorable responses have you had to your work?
EA: After finishing my last film, “Que Lejos Estoy,” it was streamed through PBS where it received more than 327,000 views. There it received hundreds of comments from all kinds of people – individuals who related to the story and some who did not. It was pretty amazing to have that many people relating to something that was so personal to me.
Engaging with the Artists
The San Diego Foundation Creative Catalyst Program works to grow the creative economy, advance artist careers and strengthen community engagement by increasing opportunities for San Diegans to experience arts and culture.
Evan is one of five artists who will be sharing their unique works with the community over the next year. Learn more about our other Creative Catalyst artists, including:
To learn how to engage with Evan and other artsts as they develop their 2018-2019 Creative Catalyst project, subscribe to our newsletter – SDF News.