'Focus on what matters'

'Focus on what matters'

Award-winning filmmakers believe we must treasure our rich history before it's lost


(From left) Sandy Chin, Hinsan Lo and Tristan Lau
(From left) Sandy Chin, Hinsan Lo and Tristan Lau
Photo: Paul Yeung/SCMP
Hong Kong is full of iconic places that tell the history of its past: the Star Ferry is one example. The company began in 1880 and has taken hundreds of thousands of people backwards and forwards across Victoria Harbour ever since.

"The ferry is a unique local feature - a symbol of Hong Kong," says 18-year-old Tristan Lau Kei-yin, who, with two other school friends, made an award-winning documentary, The Ferry. The Love.

Tristan, who is studying surveying at the Institute of Vocational Education (IVE) in Tsing Yi, filmed the documentary when the trio were at Sha Tin Methodist College.

Their film won the bronze prize in the Best Documentary category at last year's Sixth Hong Kong Mobile Film Contest. The event was co-organised by the Hong Kong Productivity Council and the Hong Kong Wireless Technology Industry Association.

The students' documentary shows the daily working life of an experienced captain, "Brother Kin", who has been working on the ferries for more than 30years.

"The idea for the documentary came about when we took the ferry while on a field trip somewhere else," says Hinsan Lo Ho-chun, who worked with Tristan on the film.

"We watched the captain doing his work and thought it would be cool to feature him," says the 18-year-old now studying film and digital media at the College of International Education at Baptist University.

Hinsan, who grew up on an old housing estate in Sha Tin, says he appreciates the value of history. "I like old things, such as traditional cha chaan teng and old streets like Central's Wing Lee Street. There are always lots of great discoveries to be made in local shops, rather than in the big chain stores."

Tristan says: "All the huge malls are the same: tourists may like to shop in them, but for us locals, those places have no character."

Sandy Chin Hoi-man, who interviewed the captain for the documentary, says: "It was a bit sad talking to him. He told us how Hong Kong has changed, that people seem to have forgotten about the ferry."

Sandy, 18, who is studying creative communication at the College of International Education, says: "I really admire his spirit and professionalism. He told us that we should always respect our work.

"He said his job involves doing lots of little chores; many are dirty, tough jobs, but he just does them. Brother Kin said Hong Kong people today tend to complain too much about little things."

Methodist College teacher Tsang Wing-kee helped the trio make their film. He and his team running the school's Campus TV have helped teach students to make documentaries for the past 10 years. "It's great to see students learn to work together by making a documentary," Tsang says.

"It offers them a chance to explore their interests while learning different aspects of film-making; it also allows them to discover the issues in Hong Kong, and express their views."

The trio say the film's message is more important than winning any award. Hinsan says: "We want to remind people about the value of Hong Kong's history, like the Star Ferry - before it's lost forever."

Tristan says: "While making the film, I asked myself, 'If we have no memories of history, are we still people?'. We don't want Hong Kong to go backwards - and gradually lose its character."

To take part in this year's competition, go to: http://mobilefilm.hk/2013/eng/contest10.php

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