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My interest in film began with my first movie—or my first love: Monsters Inc. Engrossed in the magic of animated movies, I became an elementary school animation aficionado. As I was immersed in Disney 24/7, in films that taught me that stories are not just for kids, but for people of all ages, and that there are no limits to what stories you can tell. Naturally, I became obsessed with creating my own.
I spent my days crafting my stories by drawing scenes: my life, cartoons, fictional universes, and everyday people. Soon after, I upgraded from pastels and paper to a camera. I fell in love with capturing my world. Everywhere I went, my Hello Kitty camera was there too, experiencing life along with me—and me always pressing record. My pictures have told daring tales of my childhood adventures and travels, and watched me grow up through the years. Even at home, I’d photograph anything and everything and declare, “Let’s make a story out of what we have here.” Inspired by my love for animated movies, I began experimenting in stop motion, and after time, I had animated Polly Pockets having a teenage crisis, my bed turning itself upside-down, my food coming to life, a birthday card putting itself together, Hello Kitty action figures arguing out family problems in their restaurant, handmade origami cranes going for a test flight—anything I could get my hands on. I got creative with multiple angles and shots and created lengthier animations. As a middle schooler, I avidly uploaded my animations to YouTube because I found it fun to share my work with people. This small hobby, my knack for telling stories, took me into the world of filmmaking in high school.
Film opened my eyes to the real world of storytelling. There was so much to explore: so many stories to be told in so many ways and so little time. I used my stop-motion experience to guide my filming and would go to the ends of the earth to tell the stories I wanted. From taping my camera to a ceiling to taking it into the ocean, I’ve risked my camera’s (and my) life to get that one incredible shot. Even though I’m older, I still always have my camera in hand: this time, it’s a big, bulky camera decorated (true to form) with Hello Kitty stickers.
Filmmaking has opened up my world: through my films, I hope to give others a glimpse into how I see and experience all that I know. I want to share stories of my life, my adventures, and some fictional ones about places and people I’ve never seen or met. The stories that I’m currently working on are fantastical and range from dealing with hunger as a teenage monster, to staring into the eyes of a personified death in a restaurant that happens to be the underworld, to a murder mystery in a mystical noodle shop. I want people to lose themselves in the magic of my stories and be transported to a different world, even for a minute. Storytelling takes me places: some real, some imaginary. I love having that freedom in creating, especially when I’m animating my projects digitally.
All in all, my love for film comes down to storytelling. I see myself as a part of this pursuit for a long time because I know that, once you love something, you don’t really stop. No matter the form, genre, or method: I just want to tell stories. And I’m ready to take on my next big adventure in life, with my camera in hand.
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