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Meet Momo Lee Aoi of Intermix Productions in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Momo Lee Aoi.

Momo Lee, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was the only child in a traditional Japanese family. For me, childhood memories are all made up of recollections of spending time alone. Nowadays, we often call those days as creative time. I read and watched a lot of movies. I would play some sort of sound even when I was asleep, so that I didn’t feel lonely. From involuntary choice, to becoming a habit, and then into a passion, I watched a lot of movies in those days, but I never imagined that one day I’d benefit from it.

When I was 17 years old, fitting in was still important to me. When I needed to make a career choice, family expectations were always above my own. So, I went to law school.

Five years of my life in law school went by like the blink of an eye. Only days before I needed to look for a job, I finally began to realize that being a lawyer was never my passion, but I didn’t know what I was looking for.

Life certainly has a plan of its own. I was in Singapore for my last year of law school when I went on a job interview for an American entertainment company. The job was related to language localization for movies and TV shows. Nearly three years on the job, I went from a translator to a professional movie editor. In 2010, I left Singapore and came to America to become a film school graduate.

Like most of my fellows in the film industry, in the beginning, I took on every little gig I could find and worked for free. But one thing I’ve always adhered to is to treat every job as a career starter, give everything that I have, and respect every individual that I work with.

It’s been nearly 15 years since I first cut a trailer, and I’m still cutting films and enjoying it every day.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’m a freelancing editor first and foremost when I’m in between jobs, I try to use every bit of my time to produce passion projects with my partners, so I don’t get to rest at all. But above all, I think that the most challenging part of life is to find things you enjoy to do and to do it every day.

My life has turned around in the best possible way since the day I quit being a lawyer. I’m grateful that every day I get to wake up and do the job that I have a passion to do. I’m especially grateful that I get to work with a lot of creative and self-driven individuals. Struggles are just a part of life. Didn’t they say that “Sometimes you need the bad days, to appreciate the good ones”?

Intermix Productions – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My company is called Intermix Productions. It developed from a collaboration with a group of friends that I met during film school. We are a team of very diverse freelancers from all over the world: Belgium, Spain, China, Brazil, and the USA. All of us are from different backgrounds, but have been living in America for over ten years, so that’s where the company got its name from. We mainly focus on cross-culture documentaries and commercials. We produce human stories. Our goal is to inform and raise awareness of different cultures, customs, human behaviors, and to ultimately bridge these cultures and languages.

Currently, we’re producing a feature documentary called Yoshi. This documentary follows a young Japanese artist, Yoshi, who is walking across the USA and Japan in search of identity and family relationships. It took him 8000 miles and four years to get there. The film focuses on how Yoshi’s perspective was shaped by this 8000 mile journey and how it reconnected him to his roots back in Japan. This film is the best representation of our company’s mission. With more productions in the pipeline, we hope we can open the window to more viewers worldwide.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is synonymous with happiness for me. My happiness is derived from achieving personal goals. First, I try not to set big, long term goals. Instead, I add small goals such as “learn how to arrange flowers”, and “complete a new editing course”. These types of small goals help me toward my bigger vision of happiness, which could be “achieving work-life balance” and “always being better at my job”. By building larger goals out of smaller goals, and reframing progress itself as success, I feel more accomplished and happy.

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