Interview with Howard J. Davis
(Photos via Haui Davis)
1. I know you, but some people may not.
So could you please introduce yourself to the world?
"My name is Howard J. Davis aka Haui. I'm a multidisciplinary artist working in theatre and film. I've worked in performance as an actor, singer, dancer, directing in film & theatre, video design in theatre and photography."
2. What was your first job in the entertainment industry?
Also, what did you do before that?
"I got my start in theatre at an early age starting in musical theatre. I've always known I'd be a performer and artist of some kind. I think there was a week aged seven when I thought I was going to be a magician. Otherwise I've been adamant about working in this field. My first paid work was when I moved to Canada in 2002. When I was about fifteen I remember playing an Aztec in a film shot in British Columbia."
3. Did you study film before getting into the industry?
"I've always known my way around a camera. My sister Kathryn Davis who you have also interviewed used to spend our summers and any free second acting on camera. I spent a little time at UCLA doing on camera work and then trained in theatre in Toronto, Canada at Ryerson University which allowed me to stretch my muscles in some film work because of their Media arts program that had some classes I was able to take. In terms of working on the production side I am relatively self taught and have gotten to work in the industry through building connections."
4. If you could work with anyone you'd want,
who would that person be and why?
"So many people. Most recently I've wanted to work with French Canadian film director Denis Villeneuve. I first saw his film Incendie based on Wajdi Mouawad's play Scorched that was made into a film adaptation in 2010. I cannot decide if I would want to work with him as an actor or just be an assistant to him on set. Directing film is definitely somewhere I see myself and his career is one I admire. I would go as far to say that I think his film work is reminiscent of the great auteurs Hitchcock, Bergman and Von Trier. If he is reading this... call me."
5. What does a normal day in your life looks like?
"Normal meaning...not during a pandemic right? Quarantine has its limitations (laughs) but my day usually consists of waking up. Attending three of my pugs (yes I have three named Juggy, Iggy and Tattycoram). Then I usually eat then do some kind of physical activity. I find it good to dedicate time each day to different projects I have on the go whether it is writing a new script, editing a project, working on a self tape, or reading. Routine is good."
6. Where is your favorite place to be and why?
"I love Bath, England (where I was born). I think it has some of the best artistic stimulation. Museums, history, art, literature, theatre and film. It has everything. I was recently back in England for a month on my long awaited honeymoon and went to so many museums you wouldn't believe it."
7. If you could, what would be the one advice
you would want to give to your younger self?
"Never have a limited definition of your artistic voice and yourself. It is expansive. Also don't listen to anyone that judges you. Their judgement is fear of your brilliance."
8. What is one of the best advice that you've got?
Who was the person that gave it to you?
"Do as you would be done by. My mum said that to me. It basically means treat others the way you want to be treated. Never fails."
9. What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
"I'd have to say to date my biggest achievement personally was getting married. I love my partner. In terms of my career it would have to be assistant producing, and doing the set photography and BTS video on Marie Clements upcoming feature film Red Snow (available on Apple TV May 15th) and soon on CBC and APTN later in 2020/2021."
10. Is there anything you can disclose about your new film, Mixed↑?
"Mixed↑ is my mixed up manifesto that I am directing/writing and producing for how to contend in the world when you are labelled as something other than "normal". It is about redefining our culture that is socialised around the construction of race, gender and orientation and asks that we celebrate difference in ourselves and one another. The film is currently in production co-produced by Jack Fox out of Vancouver and follows my journey as someone who is proudly mixed up (pun intended) and includes leading diverse voices such as Tantoo Cardinal, Jani Lauzon and Thom Allison and others to weave a narrative around inclusion."
11. What is the best part about life on set?
"When there is a positive mentality shared between crew and cast it is wonderful. However I must say sometimes set can be daunting. On set you should never want anyone or be made to feel subordinate. Hierarchy is unhealthy. I know some would argue that it's necessary on film sets to get things done but it is not true. Things can be executed in kindness. Whether you are an AD, Grip, Background or leading star no one should be made to feel lesser. I will say that is the biggest draw to theatre for me. Everyone is made to feel equal. However a lot of sets, especially when driven by females, can be some of the most positive experiences."
12. In the end, is there anything you'd like to say to the people who support you?
"Working in the arts is difficult. We must balance having resilience to hear more no than yes while also being vulnerable enough to be open and truthful. In times of uncertainty our community is hit the worst. Once we get through this pandemic and as we continue to move forward together I would urge patrons to support the art. It is vital for our mental health and the artistic expression of self. Thank you for your continued support. Follow me on social media @hauidavis and haui.ca. if you want to support my upcoming film head to MixedUp.ca."
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Howard J. Davis is a multi-disciplinary entrepreneur of many artistic trades including performance, directing, design & visual arts. He is best known for his work on projects like: Comorile pierdute din Marele Canion, The Beast of Bottomless Lake, Run, Shakespeare Shorts, 12 Monkeys, Killjoys, Koum: the Awakening, Triplu X - Intoarcerea lui Xander Cage, Tick Tock, Ghost BFF, MixedUp, Red Snow, C'est Moi etc.
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