We had the good fortune of connecting with Hugo Arvizu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hugo, why did you pursue a creative career?
Since I was a child, I have been interested in visuals, music, and creating. I remember playing with whatever would be in front of me, fidgeting and creating new worlds in my head. I would always make stories off anything, really. Growing up, at an early age I was already interested in music and the arts, then I started reading a lot, started writing a lot, and when I planned on making and writing music, I got interested in movies and filmmaking. Since then, I think I started combining everything I like and focused on. creating new stories. I think choosing an artistic career was really the right decision for me, I don’t know what I would be doing instead, because even though I do have an interest in science, math, and history, the arts will always be my passion.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think there was a lot of change in my views towards art -and everything really-, when I was younger compared to when left Mexico after I turned 18. There was of course more change once I moved from a small city to Los Angeles. Not only was it the transition between a small place and a huge place, but also the language, culture, and lifestyle overall. I had to work on my English a lot, and I also got the opportunity to be surrounded by many other immigrants and international students who were also adapting to this new lifestyle. This helped me a lot because all my friends were going through the same as I was at the time. Once here I started questioning again what I really like and what I want to do. I started asking myself if I had chosen the wrong career and should study photography or music instead. I realized I want to focus more on visuals rather than directing, I think my way of storytelling fits more holding the camera. At the same time, I still want to direct and be with actors and keep writing. To be honest, I think this will forever be changing, and discovering myself is a never-ending process, which I like. I don’t like being in the same place for too long. For now, I think the biggest challenge I’m facing is my thesis project. This is the shortfilm I will be graduating to and it means a lot to me. This is one of the few projects I have that I am so passionate about and want to direct because it’s so close to me and where I grew up. This is the story of Güicho, a 17 year old kid that gets involved in drug trafficking in Mexico and gets trapped in the middle of a war he cannot scape from. Although this is a story about dealers and the police and violence, the real focus is how cold hearted we become when violence becomes part of our daily routine, and how in the end the ones that end up broken and suffer are the families, the people. I want to show that people like Güicho are victims of a system that forgets about them. This project is important because I am making it a 100% Latinx crew. The reason of this is that this kind of violence is part of everyone’s life regardless of your social status. If you live in Latin America you will encounter violence related to trafficking. Something I’m also proud of is that I’m making this a production where all department heads are women. The reason for doing this is that Mexico is a county where women suffer a lot of violence, and incredible amount of it that should not be. I want to use my production as a way of also showing Latin American women behind the camera, showing their capabilities and talent. I think that’s the least I can do after having met so many amazing creators.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I grew up at the beach. Back home we have a very warm and cozy beach, the Miramar beach. I grew up 15 minutes away from it, and coming here has made me appreciate it more. Yes, Los Angeles has a beach too but it’s not as warm and I am about an hour away from it, so it is very different to me. I would start at the beach, let’s see the sunset and the pink sky. Let’s just not go to Santa Monica though. I want somewhere closer to the mountains like Malibu, where there are fewer people and we can appreciate the landscapes more. Then, I will go on a hike. I love the views of the Hollywood sign, the Wisdom tree, and all that area. Early morning to see that amazing sunrise and have time to eat at Hollywood, maybe visit Melrose. Now, we cannot miss Downtown LA. I love looking at the buildings, trying the food, and go to all the museums. This would probably be two days. I will take the next two days at Disneyland or Universal, whichever they prefer. If they don’t, then I would choose an activity they like. Los Angeles is a place where you need to choose where to go. Want to go to Catalina Island? Sure. Joshua Tree? For sure, I love it. But you need to choose. I like to leave a day for relaxing. Let’s repeat an activity or just rest a bit before going back. Sure, there’s more to see, but in a week you can’t know LA. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I think success is a result of many things and people. You cannot give credit to a single person for anyone’s success. There are many things that will determine this, such as timing, friendships, coincidences, support, and making the right decisions. I must say my family is the main reason I am where I am. They always pushed me to do better and encouraged me to do what I love. My dad taught me how to play guitar, and showed me amazing songs to play, taught me the lyrics and how to create music, while my mom showed me how to dance to it, and encouraged me to perform in plays. My older sister was always someone I would look up to, she would always be the leader wherever she would go. I saw her going from a place to another, always growing, always achieving all her goals. Now she has her own dance academy and keeps winning. I look up to how she never quits and gives it all to her art. I don’t think there’s anyone who deserves more credit than them, they were the first ones to encouraged me to go out of the country to accomplish all I want in life, and even from another country, they keep teaching me every day and they keep pushing me to do my best.
BTS photos (red &blue) by Claudia Chávez BTS exterior by Marcos Pugliese All creative photos by me