We had the good fortune of connecting with Aamuro Kanda and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aamuro, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I believe the most important factor behind my success is perseverance. When people ask me how I got to where I am today, I remind them that I have been invested in filmmaking for almost half of my life- and I’m only 20 years old. My career is still young, however I feel that I have gained some insight on how to navigate these early stages. Perseverance is critical. A few years back, I set out to create a short film every month in order to build my filmmaking toolset. I came to realize every project has aspects that succeed and fail, and each project creates data that I can use for the next. That’s where perseverance comes in. I analyze my failures and instead of giving up, I try again. This mindset also extends into the idea of what I call “social perseverance” which builds out my brand. My brand revolves around teamwork because I love collaboration and interacting with others. After all, filmmaking is inherently a collaborative medium. I am persistent when it comes to networking and building lifelong professional relationships. Regularly communicating and meeting with others is one of my favorite aspects of the industry. Even a simple follow-up text or happy birthday message can go a long way, and I owe it to those who helped me get to where I am today. For those who read this, remember that when things get tough it’s just more data for future collaborations and projects- success will come!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a filmmaker, photographer and creative consultant. I’ve also always had a fascination with history and the conflicts of the 20th century, leading me to specialize in telling intimate stories set against vast historical backdrops like WWII and the social unrest of the 1960s and 70s. As a Japanese-American, my work connects both Western and Japanese cultures and aesthetics to create unique perspectives in which I tell my stories. For example, my visuals tend to contain a refined sense of naturalism as seen in Japanese artwork. When I’m not out in the field, I run my own production company specializing in packaging short films, consulting up-and-coming filmmakers, and modifying vintage lenses to fit modern day cinematographers’ needs. Through my company, I’ve managed to gain recognition from film festivals across the country including the Breckenridge Film Festival, Boulder International Film Festival and Rocky Mountain PBS. I’ve also engaged with clients at film schools such as Emerson College, London Film School and Biola University. Right now, I attend the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts for film and television production. As for personal projects, I’m currently developing my first feature film!
Since filmmaking is inherently a collaborative experience, I strive to base my brand around team building and networking. As young filmmakers, we are all stepping into the industry together, so why not capitalize on this comradery? Kanda Films is a group effort, composed of many creative minds collaborating to make ideas come to the big screen. We think out of the box, but we do it together.
Getting to where I am today wasn’t easy. I’ve spent about ten years building out my career and learning how to put films together. I have sat countless hours in front of a computer learning how to edit and understand the rhythm and feel of a good cut. It took time. Of course there are always failures and rejections- those are never fun. However, they are important for understanding what you did correctly and they help chart a path to success. I feel that the most important aspect of these challenges is having a strong network or circle you can rely on. People who give good notes and people who stick with you through tough times are critical. So, go buy that friend a coffee and build that relationship. You never know who you’ll need to ask for help.
My brand and story are just getting started and I am so excited to be a part of a new generation of filmmakers. Growing up in a world with easy access to technology and cameras has allowed many of us to gain exposure to filmmaking and photography from a young age. Now, Kanda Films can assemble all of these artists to create fresh content and build out a network we can rely on throughout our careers. I hope to meet all of you one day, so keep being creative until then!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Whenever people visit me I pull from my list of go-to’s, some of the most interesting places I’ve visited. During the day I love to stay on my feet and take people rock climbing at Cliffs of Id. Other times, hiking near Griffith Park is a great way to escape the dense city bustle and find some really scenic views. Once night falls there are some good Japanese restaurants out in Torrance, my personal favorite being Izakaya Hachi with delicious small plates. Another must-visit spot is the Baked Potato Jazz Club, which I recommend to everyone. What’s better than a huge baked potato and some of the best Jazz in Los Angeles? The stage is only a few feet away from where you eat, allowing for a great connection between performers and guests. It’s the place to be!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
When I think of the start of my career, there are a lot of people who come to mind and I am sure they know who they are. We all have those faces that immediately pop up when we think of how we got to where we are today. Family, friends and colleagues have inspired me for years. However, one person that I feel doesn’t get the recognition he deserves is my good friend Graham Skinner. I was starting my first year of college and was nervous about stepping into a new phase of my education and career. Graham was a Sophomore at a neighboring college and reached out to me over social media, saying that he really enjoyed my work. We ended up meeting for lunch and found we had a lot of mutual interests. It even turns out we were both fans of the same niche video game during our middle school years and realized we must have played together without even knowing it. Years later, we watch each other’s careers grow and blossom and continually root for each other when things get tough. Graham is one of the best cinematographers I have met and he inspires me to be a better person and to nurture a stronger creative mind. If anyone ever has the pleasure of meeting Graham, I’m sure they could say the same thing about his selfless and caring personality. He’s a beacon of positivity, no matter the challenge.
Personal Photo Taken By Tim Benko