Four up-and-coming filmmakers shine a spotlight on the grit and resiliency of small businesses since the start of the pandemic, with a series of short films to raise awareness of the resources available to entrepreneurs who still need support
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Wells Fargo is collaborating with award-winning actor and singer Leslie Odom, Jr. to present the “We Made a Way” Summer Short Film Series, featuring four films that shine a spotlight on the resiliency of racially and ethnically diverse small business owners during the pandemic. The four featured businesses — Le Printemps, a floral shop in Washington, D.C.; Tay Ho, a Vietnamese restaurant in Oakland, California; Gibson School of Music and Arts, an artistic learning center in Philadelphia; and Dulan’s, a Los Angeles-based soul food eatery — represent the millions of small businesses that had to pivot in order to survive one of the largest economic downturns in history. The series of short films premieres today, now streaming at www.wellsfargo.com/together.
“I’ve seen firsthand the impact that small businesses have made on helping local communities this past year. I’m thrilled to collaborate with Wells Fargo to share the stories, made by four diverse filmmakers, of some exceptional small business owners who made their way through the pandemic with passion, resiliency, and dedication — and to help other business owners connect with resources and information to help them not only survive, but thrive,” said Leslie Odom, Jr.
The “We Made a Way” Summer Short Film Series is part of Wells Fargo’s continued commitment to offer small business owners access to resources — including financial grants and loans available from nonprofits and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) via the Open for Business Fund. The fund is a roughly $420 million small business recovery effort including racially and ethnically diverse entrepreneurs hardest hit by the pandemic.
Diverse voices in film meet diverse small business stories
The pandemic forced Tay Ho owner Denise Huynh to pivot her business model quickly, yet she still gave back to her local community during these tough times. Filmmaker Rafael Gomez, of Diptongo Media Group, captured the story. “I was inspired by the unique anecdotes and magical moments that propelled Tay Ho through challenging times,” said Gomez. “Denise did it all and had an unwavering commitment to frontline workers.”
After a Pennsylvania statewide shutdown in March 2020, Gibson School of Music and Arts owners Randy and Wilhemina Gibson were forced to close their doors for the first time in over two decades. The Gibsons worked tirelessly to implement safety protocols and recently welcomed back students for the first time in months. Filmmaker Vanessa Briceño-Scherzer of Bowstring Studios shared, “Businesses in music and the arts were hard hit during the pandemic, so we were very excited to help tell the story of a music school that has been an institution in Philadelphia for more than 25 years, and how the owners rallied to continue to serve their community.”
When the pandemic hit, Dulan’s, a soul food eatery owned by Greg Dulan, quickly added food trucks and a commitment to feed those in need to its menu, serving up to 1,500 meals in just one evening. Already a fan of the restaurant, independent filmmaker Marcus J. Thomas shared, “I was honored to capture Dulan’s story. Before I even signed onto this project, I had eaten multiple times at Dulan’s and I knew firsthand how important the restaurant is to the LA Crenshaw community.”
Le Printemps business owner Suha Kaidbey went from working for hotels, politicians, and celebrities to a dramatic decline in business due to the pandemic. Filmmaker Andres Paredes Arroyo Martinez of POGI Studio shared, “I’m excited to share an amazing comeback story from a flower shop in D.C. that survived through resilience and commitment, but most importantly, through a truly inspiring mother and daughter relationship.”
The “We Made a Way” Summer Short Film Series presented by Wells Fargo is part of the company’s “We Made a Way. Together.” campaign, focused on helping entrepreneurs connect to resources and learn from peers about new ways to evolve their businesses. Each short film was produced by a small business for the small business community, aiming to inspire other owners to stay open and support each other.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets and proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of all middle market companies and small businesses in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2020 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health and a low-carbon economy. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.
News Release Category: WF-SB