Exclusive Interview with Director Aozaru Hsiao

Aozaru Hsiao

By Michelle Xia

Aozaru Hsiao 蕭力修, a Taiwanese director, had his film “Forever Love 阿嬤的夢中情人” screened at Lincoln Center for the New York Asian Film Festival. In 2003, Aozaru Hsiao was awarded Best Experimental Film for “Copy:Copy” and for Best Effect and for Best Short Film at the Video Communication Prize. AsianInNY had the privilege of interviewing him privately.

Aozaru Hsiao

What inspired you to pursue film as a career?

Aoshiro Hsiao: I grew up in the generation where Japanese manga and American comics were very popular. I also watched a lot of cartoons on television and that sparked my interest. I wanted to turn the stories that I love into motion pictures.

What inspired you for your piece “Forever Love” in particular?

Aoshiro Hsiao: I always was obsessed with the 1960s time period. To recreate that generation, it doesn’t require a lot of money for production props, plus I didn’t have a big budget. My co-director, Kitamura Toyoharu, and I wanted to share a story about a grandmother who lost her memory too. Therefore, we decided to put these two ideas together by having the grandma’s memories portrayed in the 60s for this film.

The film industry is constantly discouraged because it’s a risky job. How did your parents deal with your decision?

Aoshiro Hsiao: In my generation, it was stricter than it is for the generation now. Families nowadays are more accepting for their children to follow their dreams. My family didn’t really care so much about what I was doing. I went to school to study advertisement to work commercials. Then, one day I decided to try film. For 5-6 years, I worked on projects without my parents knowing. My parents eventually found out these projects because they read about my accomplishments in the film section in the newspaper.

What are you future ideas for films?

Aoshiro Hsiao: Right now, I’m really interested in the news about how pirates hijacked Taiwanese ships. This story is well understood locally in Taiwan because it is currently happening and globally too, because it’s interesting and an important topic.

What would you say your biggest regret is?

Aoshiro Hsiao: I believe that life is made up of chains of regrets, but that’s just life.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

Aoshiro Hsiao: Before I become 50 years old, I hope to produce a movie that is completely awesome and finished. In 5 years, I wish the film industry would be more impacted and connected.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring filmmakers?

Aoshiro Hsiao: I don’t think I have enough experience in the field to be giving advice already, but I will say to be passionate, care for your workers, and the world’s news.

How do you feel about the integration of Asian films into American market?

Aoshiro Hsiao: For film, it is understandable. I’m not concerned about the language barriers because film is a transnational language.

What was your most memorable moment in your film career?

Aoshiro Hsiao: For “Forever Love”, I co-direct it with my friend of 10 years, Kitamura Toyoharu. We have clashing personalities and you can even say we sometimes act like we’re boyfriend and girlfriend. When one of us can’t explain a certain rule or request, we often blame it on the other director. Also, sometimes I would have these magical moments when I’m editing the film and the whole clip doesn’t feel right, strangely it’s like someone or some power directs me to the perfect order.

Aozaru Hsiao

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