Kanyon Iwami’s ‘Hiding the Past’ a short film on tattoo removal
By Karen Billing
Staff WriterTorrey Pines High School sophomore Kanyon Iwami will have his film screened in the San Diego Asian Film Festival on Sunday, Oct. 24, at Ultra Star Mission Valley Cinemas. His documentary short film “Hiding the Past” is about tattoo removal.
Kanyon, 14, is excited about seeing his movie up on the big screen.
“I’m nervous about what people will think about my film,” Kanyon said. “I know that only I will be looking at the mistakes, others will be looking for the content. I hope they like it.”
Kanyon had the opportunity to make and show the movie in the festival by submitting an essay to the San Diego Asian Film Foundation’s Reel Voices program. The local resident was one of only eight students in the county to participate in an 18-week filmmaking course over the summer and early fall.
Kanyon has always had a love of films, starting when he was a kid seeing “Star Wars” for the first time.
“I thought it would be so cool to make a movie like that,” Kanyon said, noting he immediately began making his own home movies and teaching himself how to use various filmmaking software.
During the film foundation course, Kanyon traveled to a Point Loma arts facility and learned about different aspects of filmmaking from professionals. All eight students were taxed with making their own film to be screened in the festival.
“It can be frustrating, but it was [overall] a very good experience,” said Kanyon of planning, shooting and editing his movie.
The hardest part was finding the subjects to interview for his film. He was able to arrange for six people to talk about how their lives were affected negatively or positively by their decisions to get tattoos. Some of his subjects had made the decision to have their ink removed.
“They were tattoos that either weren’t well done or people got tired of the tattoos and didn’t want them anymore,” Kanyon said.
Now armed with a better understanding of filmmaking, Kanyon plans to continue making movies.
“Hopefully I’ll be getting better equipment soon and I’ll be able to make better films overall,” he said.
The San Diego Asian Film Festival runs Oct. 21-28 at the Ultra Star Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center. All of the Reel Voices films will be available for viewing at noon on Oct. 24 for no charge.
For information on the festival, visit