Staff Blog

Designer Spotlight: Amber Manuguid & Simson Chantha

January 29, 2019

By Leilani Nishime

My wall at home is decorated with framed posters from past SAAFF film festivals. It’s not just nostalgia but a genuine love of the creativity and talent of our Asian American community on display. Here’s an introduction to two of our talented designers. We asked the same three questions to find out what motivates them to give so much back to their community.

Amber Manuguid has been designing for us since 2013 by creating the poster for our first Cocktails and Karaoke and has done so every year since. Her day job is working as a UX Designer for Nordstrom, and she is also the experience designer and front of house for Archipelago, as well as the Creative Director for ILAW: a coalition of PNW Filipino American food and beverage professionals.

What made you decide to work with SAAFF?

Some of my first loves in this creative world were film and animation.  I’ve gone down a path of story telling in a different format, but like to stay in touch with that medium.  Also, representation.  From a very early age I realized no one in my books, on tv, or in the movies looked like me.  As a kid, I had to make up characters for myself when my friend and I would pretend we were in the worlds of these stories. So when I started college, it was one of my missions to change this by using Filipinos in my work, to put them in “normal” situations that would otherwise be reserved for white people. Though as an art student, I probably didn’t even make the teeniest of dents in the wall, but I tried. Long story short, I help out because spotlighting and sharing Asian American stories is important to me and if I have certain gifts or talents that I can share to support that, then I should. That is why I’m here.

What connects you with the Asian American community?

Our stories.  We all got here some way–we may have just arrived or have been here for generations, but it is these stories that tie us together. This is our home, but somehow we are perpetually seen as foreigners. Together, by sharing these stories by way of film, art, and food, we are connected here as Americans.

What other exciting things are you working on outside of work and SAAFF?

ILAW and I volunteer a lot with the Filipino Community of Seattle. And of course, Archipelago.

Simson Chantha collaborates with Nicole Ramirez to design for SAAFF. They are the duo responsible for SAAFF rebrand last year to create a whole new look and feel for our organization. His current job is Senior Art Director in the marketing department of REI Co-op.

What made you decide to work with SAAFF?

I decided to work with SAAFF because I was looking for ways to be connected and give back to the community in Seattle.

What connects you with the Asian American community?

My family is of Laotian and Khmer descent. Working with SAAFF, I hope to become closer to the Asian American community in Seattle.

What other exciting things are you working on outside of work and SAAFF?

Outside of art direction and design, I am part of a competitive dragon boat team (Seattle Flying Fire Dragons), I am part of Lake Union Crew and row recreationally, and I train capoeira a Afro-Brazilian martial art with Fenix Capoeira located in Capitol Hill.

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