His heart is truly in the community and that drives everything he is trying to develop. How he got to Hawai’i is a long story, and it started with his college career. A Connecticut native, Hajim studied at the University of California-San Diego, starting out in astrophysics before switching to visual arts and media science. He explored culture and media with projects like performance art pieces with the Dineh (Navaho) and large mural painting with orphans in Mexico. It was during these years that he became passionate about non-Western art and African filmmaking.
He co-taught a class that compared African films to African literature and, encouraged by a professor, did field work on a topic of his choosing: the kava bowl. “I read everything written about it and wrote papers on it…I spent time in Fiji, Tonga, and Western Samoa. Everyone on my travels opened their homes to me. Everywhere I went I saw communities of people raising each other’s children and taking care of one another. I was in love with the way island people treated each other.”
He went on to graduate work in film production before becoming an islander himself, moving his young family to Hawai‘i to find, in his word, “community.”
Hajim’s love for the island induced him to study its language and immerse himself in Hawaiian culture. Within a short time, he established Screaming Wink Productions to apply his expertise to producing Hawaiian language and culture videos, working with Hau’oli Motta, Luahiwa Namahoe, Kainani Kahunaele and Kala’i Ontai. He produced, among other films, “Pi’apa `Oiwi, The Hawaiian Alphabet”; “Kalanimainu’u—the Story of the Mo’o Goddess of Moloka’i”; and “Ka’ililauokekoa,” which won the Hawai‘i Filmmaker’s Award. These projects enabled him to start honing his cut-out animation style.