End of Year Wrap up

2017 turned out to be a big year. My wife and I moved to her hometown of LA, Gordon the dog figured out how to catch food in the air, and I bought my first car at the ripe age of 35. We traveled to Japan with my entire family where we visited my father's hometown of Kaita, just outside of Hiroshima, and visited his childhood home. I spent a lot of time in Seattle catching up with old friends, snowshoeing in the Cascade Mountains and celebrating best friends' weddings.

2017 also closed out the festival run for Im/Perfection. Family joined us for the screening at the Los Angeles Asian American Film Festival, and we closed out the year in Vancouver, BC at the Canadian premiere of Im/Perfection at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival. Vancouver has changed since my college years, but still maintains the great Pacific Northwest warmth, even in the middle of winter. A week later the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival honored Im/Perfection for Best Documentary Short. 

In celebration of a wonderful year, I've finally released Im/Perfection online for your viewing pleasure. Take a moment to watch this short film that honors my father's work that continues to inspire me everyday of my life. Here's to an even brighter and happier 2018! 

Link to Im/Perfectionhttps://vimeo.com/171484392

 

 

'What's In Your Cup' Exhibition at the Wing Luke

The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience has debuted, What’s in your cup? Community-Brewed Culture, a new exhibit that honors the beverages that have given life to communities – from farmers and families who nurture the raw materials to friends and kin who bond over shared drinks. It acknowledges their place in our community’s most treasured rituals and spaces: the tea house, the after-school hangout, the work break, and the raucous karaoke night. Explore the stories of the growers, scientists, and innovators who created and continue to adapt Asian beverages so our cultures can thrive.

Included in the exhibit is photography and video from We Knew We Were Home, a story from my 2010 interactive documentary, 16 Square Blocksthat honored the diverse and vibrant karaoke community at Bush Garden in Seattle's Chinatown. Of special significance is Uncle Bob Santos, legendary civil rights activist and community leader who passed away in 2016, singing Frank Sinatra throughout the video. 

Stop by the Wing Luke through September 16, 2018 to view this exhibit and learn about the community that continues to thrive in Seattle's International District. If you can't make it, catch up with this story from the International Examiner

 

World Premiere: Im/Perfection

 

As any creative can attest to, there is a fine balance between growing your business, maintaining your personal vision and producing meaningful work. Every creative will eventually find a period where a chasm begins to grow between these values. As the relationship becomes increasingly complex, they find themselves sinking into inner turmoil, struggling and questioning their passion and purpose. This is what I call, "burn-out." I hit that wall earlier this year. Maybe it was the culmination of simultaneously moving across the country, planning a wedding, and working tirelessly. Regardless, I hit that point. 

Reflecting back on the meandering path that lead me to filmmaking I remember an obsession to produce overly-ambitious personal projects at any cost. I created interactive digital projects coupled with exhibitions and community engagement. I usually bit off way more than I could chew, relying on friends and family to bail me out at the last minute. However, no matter how ambitious of a vision, it was still my vision and on my terms. 

Come 2016, I felt like I was having a mid-life crisis. I was struggling to catch my breath and inhale the life-saving passion that used to define my work. It had been over four years since I had dedicated time to work on a personal project–Follow My Steps, my Master's project. Looking close to home, I was inspired by my father's familiar (but incomplete) story and the timing of his retirement late last year. What began as oral history, quickly evolved into an overly-ambitious project that resulted in the short film Im/Perfection

Typically working in the digital world of video and short films, Im/Perfection represents my first plunge into the deep-end of film making. Instead of working on the ground alone, I collaborated with a crew. I directed a post-production team. And I hired a composer and musicians to create and record an original score. The experience was challenging, magical and rewarding all at the same time. The result was a unique film far different from anything I had previously produced whose origin spawned out of personal struggle and burn-out. The result was rejuvenating. 

Next month the film will be premiering at the Hawaii International Film Festival as part of their shorts programming on Sunday, November 6 and Saturday, November 12. My wife, Jenny, and I will be attending the first screening to share this special moment with my family and celebrate the tireless work that so many people have contributed to the making of this film. 

I need to thank my wife and Associate Producer, Jennifer Moncayo for her consultation, endless support and awesome interview skills. Jessey Dearing for cinematography and photography, and for filming all day in paradise in a construction site (I literally wouldn't show him the beach until we finished filming). Duncan Blickenstaff for his incredible talent to create the original score for this film. Drew Jordan for bringing my father's illustrations to life. The musicians, Mark Robertson on violin, Josefina Vergara on violin, Luke Maurer on viola, and Cameron Stone on cello. Satoshi Noguchi for recording the music and his Jedi sound mixing skills. Sarah Brady Voll for designing the sound of the film. Michael Curry for his meticulous eye in the color grade. And my father, Hitoshi Hida, for sharing his story with me and the world. 

I hope to see you next month in Honolulu for the world premiere of Im/Perfection.

Thanks Y'all!

Had a great turnout last week for the penultimate day of the DOC NYC film festival at the IFC Center where I had the honor of screening Follow My Steps as part of the shorts programming night, "The Kids Are All Right". Tony Reuter, one of the film's subjects, made it down to NYC from Syracuse for the evening. I'm very thankful to DOC NYC for the opportunity to have shared the film with a theater full of people, and all my friends and colleagues who came out in support. 

In a world where we share and view videos on computers, and iPhones it was an amazing opportunity to see the project on the big screen. With the prevalence of internet and digital platforms I increasingly find the viewing experience to be solitary. Sitting in  a room full of people was a unique experience to hear the audience laughing at the same parts where I laugh, and crying at the same parts where I cry. It truly emphasized this idea that I've been chasing and that I've been taught: the greatest stories are universal. These are the stories that every human being can empathize and relate to. The stories that transcend race, language, and borders. The stories that help us understand our own human experience. 

As part of the programming, Follow My Steps was filmed alongside four other short films. One of the films I would highly suggest you take the time to watch is Eagle Boy, by director Gry Elisabeth Mortensen if it should pass through your city. 

Thank you again to everyone. This has been a tremendous journey.