Blog

Podcast launch!

Key art for new podcast series Green Queen In Conversation

When I first met Sonalie Figueiras, founder of Green Queen Media, her passion and vast knowledge of all things sustainable wowed me, and I knew we needed to find a project to collaborate on. Fast forward a couple years, and we’re now launching this limited series podcast we’ve produced together, in which Sonalie talks to six founders of cultivated meat companies!

In developing this show, we were conscious that we were coming at the subject matter from two quite different perspectives; Sonalie is a vegan and an true expert in the rapidly developing alternative protein field. I’m a more of an omnivore, but consciously reducing the amount of meat my family consumes in an attempt to reduce our contribution to the climate emergency.  That’s why this subject matter was so compelling to me, it’s a unique opportunity to learn a whole lot more about the new alternatives to traditional meat and share that knowledge at scale.

While I know this subject matter will resonate with listeners already focused on sustainability, I’m also really keen to reach a less specialized audience too, especially those who might be skeptical of these new products and the science behind them. My hopes is that this series will answer a lot of questions, as well as giving some inspiring insights into these passionate founders very individual journeys and motivations.

I hope you enjoy listening, and really look forwards to your comments and thoughts!

Ready to listen?

You can find the show on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts

Luminaria – a fine art collaboration with Gisèle Tchitchiama

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Several months ago, I was very flattered to be approached by the French painter and collage artist Gisèle Tchitchiama with the idea of collaborating with her to create a video piece for her upcoming art show at HART HK as a part of Le French May exhibition running from May 5-17 2023. Not having worked in this format before, I was a little nervous, but immediately intrigued by her vision for the project.

The show's direction was inspired by a photograph Gisèle had taken whilst traveling in Dover, UK, looking out at the ocean through a blurry window pane set off a creative chain reaction. The title "Luminaria" frames a quest for illumination through encounters with light, fragility and the ephemeral.

Gisèle's creative process was a wonder to be a part of! As I watched her working in various mediums, her initial seed of an idea blossomed into a delicate emotional landscape of work that in turn inspired me to begin to capturing this ephemeral light in many different environments,  motivated by her approach and perspective.  I was incredibly moved when she  played me the beautiful song she was compelled to write to accompany the film, and when Lauren Perrin, cellist with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta  added his cello accompaniment to the piece, it felt like another perfect addition.

The completed film is a departure from my usual narrative style, but has been such a fulfilling explorative journey with a fellow female artist.

You can view the completed film here

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Creating award winning work for HKJC

I’ve recently become fascinated with different people’s creative process and been finding a lot of inspiration from podcasts including Song Exploder and Spark and Fire which leads me to sharing some of some recent work that I was incredibly proud to have created alongside my team at Brunswick Creative for The Hong Kong Jockey Club.

The brief was to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Hong Kong, which on all fronts was potentially a complicated political and social minefield. We felt that the majority of Hong Kong brands would head for a generic “celebration film” and so we intentionally headed in a very different direction, looking back over the last 25 years of the club’s contact points with the average Hong Konger and wondering how we might draw on nostalgia to represent that extensive heritage on screen.

I came up with the idea of connecting these moments together through the narrative perspective of one individual, and decided it should be a female to come at the memories of the club from a different perspective to the stereotypical male racing fan. The club shared with us a list of significant moments from their history and I set to work crafting a story to link them all together.

Once we had a narrative and I had some key scenes in mind, with the help of my amazing editor/motion designer/animator/storyboard artists Joey Kan, we started to put them down on paper and figure out how we would transition between the moments.

A page from the storyboards

From the storyboards, we then moved on to creating an animatic to help us with camera moves and transitions so we could plan shots, as well as figuring out timing to help with sound design, music and voiceover.

Animatic video from the storyboards

The filming of this campaign took place over three days and was definitely one of the most challenging yet rewarding shoots of my career! I may have been slightly over optimistic imagining that horses, babies and Hong Kong weather would all perform perfectly on cue, but the resulting footage was a testament to all our hard pre-production preparation work that no doubt enabled us to execute on a solid plan, as the storyboards and animatic are finally brought to life on screen.

The longer cut

I’m proud to say that the resulting campaign took home two Golds at the Transform Asia Awards!

Showcasing some of my favourite NGOS as part of a creative campaign

Brunswick Creative client The Hong Kong Jockey Club came to us with the challenge of wanting to share more about the vast range of charitable work their organisation supports, but needing to do so with a humble and authentic tone. This brief was exactly in my wheelhouse and sparked my creative vision as an opportunity to shine the spotlight on some of the incredible NGOs in the city and the heroic work they do! Since making “The Helper” documentary I’ve stayed close to a lot of the amazing people working in non-profits and I was thrilled to find several of them on the list of HKJC beneficiaries including Impact HK, Splash and more…

As I researched the different charity sectors to be included and understood the work they do, images began popping into my head, that I started to pull into a sequence of vignettes that we could stitch together using dynamic camera moves and clever transitions. It was going to be challenging to feature so many different organisations and convey their focus to an audience member in just a few seconds – but my team and I were excited to rise to the occasion and tell what we felt would be a very impactful story.

Filming with the fan dancing ladies from the Healthy Ageing program at HKU
Filming children with special needs learning to swim with Splash!
Filming at the Mai Po Wetlands Nature Reserve
Joanna working with blind HKJC Scholarship recipient Michelle Liu

Filming saw us traversing Hong Kong from the Mai Po Wetlands to the cage homes of Sham Shui Po and many varied locations in between with our fantastic crew. We met and filmed with a huge array of people ranging from young to old including people of all abilities and we were truly amazed by the reach and impact of the projects that HKJC supports.

Our resulting TV commercial campaign brings all that impact to life in an energetic and emotional series of spots that I’m very proud of.

Inspiring Girls

I was honored to be asked to be a role model for Inspiring Girls Hong Kong as they put together their video portal of specially curated content for girls in Hong Kong.

Inspiring Girls International is an organisation dedicated to raising the aspirations of young girls around the world by connecting them with female role models.

They introduce young girls (aged 10-15 yrs) to the full variety of careers and options in life - and inspire them to aim high.

Working in the film industry, it took me many years to realize my dreams of working as a director,  in part because of the lack of female role models I saw working in this position.  My industry still suffers from having too few women behind the camera, so I'm very pleased to have the opportunity to share my experiences with young women and girls to inspire them and help them find their way.

Everyday Heroes

When we arrived back in Hong Kong in March and watched as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the world, the global news was pretty overwhelming and heartbreaking. Like many, amidst such sadness and uncertainty, I was looking for a positive action to take.
In light of this, I randomly connected with Brad and the team at Underscore Films in Los Angeles and we set out to create a film highlighting the positive stories coming out of the pandemic. They assembled a team of 20 producers from around the world, and we started looking for incredible actions we could capture on film, remotely!
Gradually I began collecting stories to share; a friend's girlfriend in the Philippines who was giving away bags of food to people in her village who had run out, my Sister-In-Law in Italy who told me about how they were about to deliver bread and produce to a village in the Val D'Orcia that had been cut off, a local social enterprise here in Hong Kong that was delivering much needed hygiene kits to street cleaners.
As the stories began coming together, we quickly realized that this film would not just be about positivity, but instead, about the humanity in people. The everyday heroes amongst us. And I hope it inspires anyone who watches.