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Wāhine Directors @HIFF43: Angelique Pineda

Aleta talks with Angelique Pineda about her short film How to Grow Apart.

This episode is part of our weekly series of WĀHINE DIRECTORS @ HIFF 43 - a series of interviews that are a great opportunity to learn more about the directors' films that were screened at HIFF and their creative process. Also available on our podcast.

AP: My name is Angelique Pineda. I am the director, one of the producers, co-writer, as well as the main actors and the editor for How to Grow Apart. A lot of hats for sure. How to Grow Apart got into the Hawai'i International Film Festival for the University showcase.

AH: What is your film about?

AP: How To Grow Apart is about two Filipino-American best friends who are navigating life after college and figuring out how their friendship works after that. 

AH: What was your writing process like? Going from experiencing it yourself, to probably processing, and then being like, I have this creative idea.  Do you have a process?

AP: We [Angelique and her co-writer Jarica] were kind of just feeling things out. I definitely knew that I wanted to do certain things, like the montages we had in there, to tell a certain perspective, but also to be very neutral, like kind of like book characters.I definitely wrote one of the characters to be more like me. Jade is the name of the character, and I try to definitely come from a neutral standpoint about things. So our writing process, we initially wanted to submit to this contest and it was basically like our deadline. But unfortunately we didn't get through. But even though we didn’t get in, I'm so grateful for that, it got us to finish the scripts and then got us really amped to make it either way. We made it with the budget through crowdfunding and everything, even though we didn't win that competition.

AH: I'm glad you guys didn't give up. Especially when you're working with a friend, It's not really like work. It's more like you're doing this thing together. What do you want people to feel or be thinking about after they watch your film?

AP: I feel like when I was going through my friendship break up, I felt very much alone with that feeling of having that loss for someone, but like, they're not really, you know, like really being gone. They were just out of my, life but it's okay that you know and you don't get to stay with like these people that you like imagine in your head to be with you for the rest of your life that's my message about the film is that like sometimes you grow out of people and it's okay. And that's just life. 

AH: I think that's really important, especially for a younger audience. Was there any advice that you received that really helped do this process or any advice you would give to other filmmakers?

AP: Yeah, of course. I guess throughout the process, people are willing to help you out if you have a passion and a good idea. And if you feed them lunch, which is very true, I mean, I don't know, it's a little bit surprising because I was very scared to go through this process. No matter what obstacles you have in the way, you can still make your short film that you want. It may not be perfect. We may not have all the fancy equipment, but as long as your story is strong, you can tell a story that resonates with people and that people will connect to. And you can be proud of that. It doesn't have to be like the next blockbuster. It could also just be like an experience for you to learn and grow from and just being a stepping stone to like what comes next in your career if you choose to do filmmaking.

Angelique Pineda is a student filmmaker at the California State University, Northridge. She won Won "Best Female Director" at the Central Coast International Film Festival and has developed short films, photoshoots, and edited music videos. 

Aleta Hammerich is a local filmmaker and graduate of UH Mānoa School of Cinematic Arts with experience in directing, cinematography, and editing. She has worked on projects such as Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi (2021), The ‘Ilima Lady (Camera, Assistant Editor, 2023), and Homestead (Camera, 2023). Aleta is passionate about using filmmaking as a platform to share women’s and LGBTQIA+ stories.

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