Immigrating from Japan to Honolulu, Hawaii in 1961, Hitoshi Hida struggled to learn English as he excelled in math and painting during high school. Abandoning his desire to be an artist, Hida pursued a career in architecture. Over the course of nearly 40 years, he has created thousands of hand-drawn architectural renderings, dedicating his life to the craft and pursuit of perfection.
Interview with Director Andrew Hida
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I have always wanted to create a film about my dad, who is an architect. My father keeps his life very compartmentalized, so even though I knew what my dad did for a living, I didn’t really know exactly what he did. Part of me wanted to create this film as a documentation of his career and extraordinary talent in a dying craft, and to learn more about my dad and his career. And part of me wanted to create this film as a testament to my father, my hero, who paved the path for me to be able to pursue my own artistic craft.
The catalyst to actually make the film happened because I felt like I was hitting a wall creatively. It had been nearly five years since I pursued a personal project and I was trying to figure out what to do next. At the same time my dad retired (at the end of 2015), and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to create the film. The experience was challenging, magical, and rejuvenating all at the same time. Dedicating energy and emotion to this project re-ignited a passion that I was struggling to regain. It was a breath of fresh air inspired by my father’s story.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film? How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Two major themes that this film touches on is the prevalence of technology in our world today, and the American immigrant experience.
Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I truly witnessed the ever-increasing pace of technology in shaping our modern lives. As technology becomes integrated into our lifestyles and our world becomes increasingly automated, I find a profound interest and appreciation for dying art forms and crafts that define our humanity. Architectural renderings have followed that same path as three-dimensional renderings replace hand-drawn renderings.
This film is a deeply personal exploration of my father’s career and life. My father’s sacrifices and choices early in his life altered the trajectory of his career and the future for him and his family. Over the course of the film’s development I discovered how common his immigrant story was, especially in the Asian American community, but yet each iteration was truly unique, inspired by circumstance.
I believe that everyone can see their own father in this story. Anyone can relate to the difficult choices you make in your 20s and 30s that determine your path forward and the future of your family. Anyone can understand the discipline and dedication you bring to the many aspects of your career. And anyone can understand the changing landscape of our digital world.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
From conception through execution, I maintained a very specific vision for this film: the creation of an architectural rendering from beginning to end. This provided a very natural story arc through which I was able to weave in and out of to explore additional themes. However, the most surprising evolution of the script is the poetic conclusion my father shares about the imperfect nature of his work and his career. That was truly something that I could never have planned for.
What type of feedback have you received so far? Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The film has only been screened in Hawaii at the Hawaii International Film Festival and the Waimea Ocean Film Festival. It has been received very positively, especially by Hitoshi’s colleagues in Hawaii’s architecture industry. What has been most surprising to witness is the profound respect and admiration that the younger generation of architectural designers have for Hitoshi. Sometimes separated by 40-plus years, these young designers, at times fresh out of graduate school, revere his artistic craft. The talent and skill that he brings to their medium will never be learned by this generation, and quite possibly lost to time.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com? Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
I hope that Im/Perfection will be received by a broad and diverse audience through www.wearemovingstories.com. I think it’s really important to celebrate our diversity to help understand our differences and similarities that define the human experience. There is commonality in all of our humanity, they just take on different tones and different hues. I hope that this visibility will help connect distributors and film festival directors who can bring eyes to this film who would otherwise not experience this wonderful story.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I would really like this film to highlight the role of Asian American directors and filmmakers, and the importance of the stories that they tell. Asian Americans have played a tremendous role in shaping the fabric of American history and culture. Their shared experience is important to understand and to share with a broader audience both domestically and internationally.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
How do you define perfection?
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I am working on my first feature-length documentary exploring the role of entrepreneurs in the informal working sector in North America.
Interview: December 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Director Andrew Hida
Length: 12 minutes