Hazel Ito
Nomination: Best Micro-Short
3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival Online
22-28 Feb 2021 | Tickets £5 / £10 Full 7-Day Pass: bit.ly/PRFF-Tickets
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A poetic short video & sound work by Hawaii-based artist Hazel Ito in response to the 2020 pandemic. 

Hi Hazel thank you for talking to TNC, how are you holding up during these very strange times? 

Very well, thank you! I have been incredibly fortunate in these times. It has been hard, for sure, but I am very conscious of how lucky I am. 

Has this me offered you any creative inspiration? 

Definitely. The hiatus and stuff in my career, two furloughs and two lockdowns have given me plenty to ponder, and it is hard not to be inspired by the times we live in. I very consciously choose to focus on the more positive aspects, which hopefully comes across in Gaze. 

Congratulations on having your film selected for the 3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be part of such an amazing lineup of short films?

I am absolutely honoured and privileged to be included - thank you so much! I only wish I could be there in person, and that all the filmmakers’ works could show on a big screen, but such is life. I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of this. 

Can you tell me a little bit about Gaze, how did this film come about? 

I shot much of it on an iPhone 6, and a little on a DSLR. My budget was zero. I used everyday tools I already had, and it was a solo project.

My process began with writing, then I recorded the soundtrack and the footage was added last. 

What were the biggest challenges you faced bringing your film to life? 

This was a very intuitive work. The only real challenge was making up my mind to make it, and going out and doing it. Sometimes we censor ourselves or make excuses to not try something, but ulimately you have to just get out and do it. 

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently on this film? 

Honestly...no. I have no regrets or things I wish to change. It is what it is. 

Describe your film in three words? 

Poetic, experimental, lyrical 

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from? 

During orientation week at university we made a camera obscura and did animation, and something ignited in me at that point. I consider myself an interdisciplinary artist rather than a filmmaker. 

What has been some of the best advice you’ve been given? 

No excuses. 

Should filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell? 

Absolutely! We are all unique with views and ideas and stories that can and must be shared. Keep pushing those boundaries, dare to be different. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t, especially that little voice in your own head! 

"Be very strict with yourself when it comes to ending."

Do you have any ps or advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker? 

Keep it short and sweet! Be very strict with yourself when it comes to ending. 

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Gaze? 

I hope it makes them feel positive and look for some beauty in all of this. I hope it inspires them to go out and make a low-tech, zero-budget ultrashort solo film too! 

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