Incubation Programme 23/24: Public Talk ② Environmental Documentary
孵化計劃23/24:公開講座 ② 生態紀實

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, Online Participation)
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 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)


Daphne 首先分享了自己在拍攝《白海豚失樂園》時的經歷與感受。當時她仍在英國修讀海洋與自然歷史攝影,正尋找著自己畢業作品的拍攝方向,剛巧碰上了港珠澳大橋工程。在思考鏡頭距離拿捏的同時,在拍攝環境與動植物上,要以影像以及後期製作為牠們呈現聲音,同樣是當時的一大挑戰。後來她受邀回港拍攝《大自然大不同》系列本土生態紀錄片,亦讓她思考更多當只用動物去呈現影像中的戲劇性時,當中各種的平衡與考量。

承接紀錄片中的「戲劇性」,主持Fredie談到當初促成《稻米是如何鍊成的》(2012年製作)的契機——雖說拍攝的是環境,人甚至自己卻是其中不可缺少的一環。生活無法脫離於環境及時代背景,而當時越來越多人,包括Fredie的朋友們,都從城市搬回去鄉郊,並開始嘗試種植,像是一種對於自己人生不滿的質問。參與其中的Fredie,面對人和自己、和環境、甚至和命運的衝撞,一邊從拍攝中學習,一邊筆記;在後期製作、剪接的過程中,這些筆記往往更成為了VO(voice over),紀錄著這段探討迷惘的歲月。

而另一邊廂線上參與的馬仔,則從民族誌電影(Ethnographic Film)的角度切入,探討紀錄片與環境、民族、社會、倫理等等之間的連結與衝突。當被紀錄的人、地、物加入了如劇情片般的敘事和詩化的混合媒介處理,在希望觀眾能夠共情的同時,那些劇情與非劇情、客觀與主觀鏡頭等的界限,是創作者的功課。以自己製作《象是一家人》的感受,從關係的建立、各種籌備與等待,異地拍攝,到後期製作的各種掙扎與刪減重建⋯⋯這部紀錄片在動物與人親密又被奴役的矛盾關係、死亡、文化差異等等許多面向,都給自己帶來了不少衝擊及反思。


Review Online (in Cantonese Only) 網上重溫