The heart of my work is about the poetics of place and inner lives of people. Like so many others, I've many times felt my voice is all I had. That "all I had" has reduced itself to light, heat and embers—something to tend for a lifetime.
I love ways people are resourceful, adaptive, playful, resilient. I say, use the pit, the rind, everything. Use all you've got.
I love expression and humor in service of hard truths. I love culture, that thing people create to externalize and "out" their potential. New ones being created as well as ones at the bend.
Cultural representation is important to me—not just my own, but also that of others. Culturally I'm a mutt and it makes me so happy. Would have it no other way.
As I’ve gotten older, I have found myself tempered by two things, maybe three. One is faith in a higher power. Another is in the capacity to witness my life and others’, in all their perplexing and fragile glory. The third is decolonizing from what the world says we should be pursuing and putting our attention on.
I’m coming to know that the same forces that have colonized and eviscerated peoples’ culture are the same that tell us to obsess over worldly success and be self-absorbed. There’s something destructive and broken about both. I dislike seeing late capitalism’s toll on the structure of communities, families and friendship. I am still figuring out what art can be, devoid of internalized capitalism, aka “the hustle.” I’d like my art to belong to people and tell stories that help people reclaim their place in the world.
I will always be invested in communities living in the margins: what they face, how they deal and love. More and more, I'm taken by the invisible hands, sometimes the strong-arm, that guide us along our ways.
I make works about living, my take and grasp of it.
Aliveness, things hard-earned, things given to small miracles, protection and triumph. That's what I hope my art will carry.
In Search of Radio Golha (8 min, DV, 2008, Iran) – Documentary short
Some Day (1 min, 16mm, 2009, East Los Angeles) – Experimental performance short
Circadian (9 min, DV, 2009, Miami / San Francisco) – Documentary short
Night Creatures (3 min, HD, 2010, Valencia) – Performance piece on video
Lupine Trampoline (3 min, 16mm color, 2011, Val Verde) – Experimental short
Jahyu aka Freedom (17 min, HD, 2014, San Francisco) – Documentary short
Hill Moon Mosque (3 min, HD, 2017, Brooklyn and San Francisco) – Video short
The Dust of Summer (s16mm, 26 min, 2018, Los Angeles) Narrative short plus dance film
In pre-production: Drift and Return (2020, Chicago) – Narrative feature
Seoul-born Hanul Bahm is a writer and filmmaker working at the intersection of external realities and inner truths. She has directed numerous shorts, including narrative fiction and documentaries.
She has worked on feature docs by filmmakers from the LA Rebellion (The Power to Heal by Charles Burnett; And When I Die, I Won’t Stay Dead by Billy Woodberry) and other independent docs (In that Order: The Story of Aaron Wright). She has filmed in Iran, South Korea, the Mississippi Delta, Atlanta, Southside Chicago, New York, San Francisco and throughout Southern California.
In 2017, Hanul produced Detonator, a POV Digital Lab-supported discovery portal for POC / immigrant film artists. She's produced videos, photography and blogs for KCET’s Emmy-winning content portal Artbound and a video oral history channel for the LACMA9 Art+Film Lab. The latter involved working one-on-one with hundreds of community members in Compton, Inglewood, San Bernardino and East LA.
Hanul has contributed to Vibe Magazine, Aperture Foundation, WBAI Pacifica Radio and the Sundance Institute and the Alliance for Media Arts + Culture in different content capacities. Past clients and collaborators include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, early wave Alvin Ailey dancers and RuPaul's Drag Race contestants. She received her MFA in Film/Video from CalArts and her BA in Photography, Graphic Design and Journalism from Rutgers University. She is an alum of POV Digital Labs and the New Orleans Film Society’s Southern Producers Lab.
Hanul is writing and developing Drift and Return, a feature narrative.