Our Mountains and Our Rivers: Nature Through a Native Lens
Date: 21 September 2023 (Thur)
Time: 20:00 – 21:30
Venue: H6 CONET (Large Multi-Function Room BEF)
Fredie CHAN Ho Lun (Director, Rhymes of Shui Hau and The FIsherman’s Discourse)
MA Chi Hang (Director, Ballad on the Shore)
Daphne WONG (Director, Breathing Room)
The 3rd edition of the Eye Catcher Incubation Programme 23/24 has added the new category of Environmental Documentary. In Public Talk 2, 3 guests, each focusing on different environmental and socio-cultural issues, shared their experiences and insights on local documentary filmmaking. Through their lenses, how were the topics including dolphins, farming, elephants, nature, humanity and more to be presented? Our mountains and our rivers are still here, surrounding us under such an everchanging city. Let’s explore new angles in documentary filmmaking together!
Daphne began by sharing her experience and feelings during the filming of Breathing Room. At that time, she was still studying Marine and Natural History Photography in the UK, thinking about the theme and topic for her final year project, and came across the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge project coincidentally. While considering the distance her camera should keep, she also faced the challenge of presenting the environment and animals through visuals and sound design. After graduation, she was invited to film a series of local ecological documentaries by Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), which further made her consider more about the balance of facts and dramatic elements when simply using animals to create films.
Talking about the dramatic elements in documentaries, our moderator Fredie talked about the primary reason that led to the production of The way of Paddy (produced in 2012) – although the focus was environment, humans, including himself, were also irreplaceable in the film. Our daily lives cannot be separated from the environment and the historical background. At that time, more and more people, including Fredie’s friends, were moving back to rural areas from the city and starting to engage in farming, like an act of questioning their own lives. As Fredie became involved, facing collisions with others, the environment, and even fate, he learned through filming the process of farming and took notes. During the postproduction and editing process, these notes often became voice-overs, documenting this period of exploring their confusion about lives.
On the other hand, MA Chi explored the connections and contrasts between documentary films and environment, ethnicity, society and ethics etc. from the perspective of ethnographic film. When documentary subjects are combined with a fiction-film-like narrative and poetic treatment with mixed media, the setting of boundaries between fiction and non-fiction, objective and subjective perspectives, etc., will be the homework of the filmmakers. Based on the experience of making Elephants not for Sale (2020), from building relationships, preparations, waiting, and shooting in Thailand, to the struggles and deletions during post-production… this documentary has brought him a lot of impact and reflection in terms of the contradictory relationship between animals and intimate yet enslaved humans, death, cultural differences, and many other aspects.
“All art is a kind of exploring.” What is the reason led you to shooting, the distance between ourselves and the camera, how should the environmental or historical backgrounds, plants, animals, human, etc. to be revealed, how to respond to the present and the future. All of these would be a long journey that every filmmaker needs to constantly learn and discover.
時間：20:00 – 21:30
地點：H6 CONET－大型多用途活動室（Room BEF）