We had the good fortune of connecting with Jay Dizon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jay, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I’m in the process of trying to fund my first feature film with the working title “Two’s Koa Warriors” the film is an authentic portrayal of Asian-American and Pacific Islander stories. Taking place in Hawai’i with Native Hawaiian and Asian leads it seeks to help further stories of AAPI people and bring more representation in film and media. There were major strides with successes like “Crazy Rich Asians”, “The Farewell” and “Minari” and my film hopefully adds to that collection. The topic of representation has always been very important to me, as a Filipino man, growing up in the 90’s I always loved movies and looked up to the Indiana Jones/ James bond hero type characters as everyone did but I never thought I could be them because I looked like the short round and supporting characters that helped the hero get the girl and save the day. Being an impressionable kid that looked up to movie characters as role models, I did what ever I could to help myself grow to be more white passing (staying out of the sun, never squinting my eyes when smiling, etc). Now that I’m an adult the things I hated about being Asian, as a kid, are my favorite things about me. Normalizing Asian-American and Pacific Islander stories helps bring them to the mainstream and is a step in the right direction so that hopefully some Asian kid out there doesn’t deny who he is to be the hero of their story.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Being a Filipino artist I’ve curated all my projects to be about something I really care about and that says something important about the AAPI stories. I’ve been able to be an illustrator since I was young and living and breathing film making has given me the tools to be a unique story teller. I have a couple of projects in different mediums that I’m very proud of, a short film titled “Zo no Mori”, a blue-spirit mask sculpted and designed with traditional Hawaiian markings, and I constantly keep busy with collections of illustrations to keep my creativity alive and well. It’s been difficult finding my voice and progressing my art coming from a family of scientists and electricians, I’m the only one in a creative field so I’ve haven’t had inherit resources to help find a creative career. I’ve had as much support as they can offer but my family and support system can only offer so many resources. I’m constantly finding that voice and a new way to express my view but at the end of the day I’m pretty happy with where I’ve gotten so far and how I’ve been able to visualize my voice in creative and unique ways. I think that I’m able to express myself in multiple mediums fairly adequate has made my creative voice very unique. With my short film and feature I’m able to utilize my drawing ability and incorporate that into the film format quite well.
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?
My favorite spots are Griffith observatory if someone is visiting. I’m also a huge fan of Grand central and the neighboring parts of downtown that are there Angel’s Knoll and the Bradbury is my favorite building. Moana’s Hawaiian BBQ in Burbank is my go-to spot to eat that never fails if you’re into that sort of thing.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My film community has been the support for my success so far. Being able to work with such gifted and talented individuals has allowed me to further and progress my career. Individuals like Garrett Tripp, Kyle Krupinski, Mitchell Jones, Oz Ozmen, Terry Watson, Sara Silkwood, Dan Fox, Patricia Gonzales, and Brandon Allen have been insurmountable in contributing to where I am in my career today.