I was honored when asked by the very eloquent and charismatic host of the #Impact podcast series Regina Larko if I would be her featured guest for an episode to talk about how The Helper documentary came to be and the ongoing impact the film is having. The interview itself was so much fun – connecting with another Hong Kong mum in media and sharing stories about my passions for telling women’s stories and my hopes and dreams for the film and its impact. I hope you enjoy listening!
Check out the link below to listen to the episode:
I hope if you take the time to check out this well produced episode you’ll go on to enjoy the rest of the #Impact series featuring a host of incredible dynamic women having impact in Hong Kong. I love Regina’s tagline –
2017 finally exposed the behind the scenes activities of Harvey Weinstein and his cronies publicly As a woman working in the film industry everyone has been asking if I had a “Harvey story.” Of course I did, and others…
When #metoo hit the headlines last year, I was so pleased that we’ve finally admitted the problem exists. But now how to use the #metoo movement to generate something positive from something so negative? I started reflecting on how 2017 was a really powerful year for me in terms of empowering other women…
In October 2017 my feature documentary The Helper thrust the women of Hong Kong’s migrant domestic worker population into the spotlight and for the first time really highlighted both their potential and achievements under the most challenging circumstances. The response to the film has been overwhelming! Since we premiered in October my inboxes are constantly full of incredible messages of kindness and support for the film and the women we feature in it. We’ve changed lives with the generosity and opportunities this exposure has brought and that’s been very powerful to watch. I’ve also learnt a lot from it.
1) Shine a light
The power of this spotlight has made me realize that we need to do that for each other more! Beyond featuring as many awesome women as possible in my filmed work, I’m now resolved to make an even more conscious effort to promote and praise women that I know or discover. Sharing someone’s social posting might seem like a really small action, but my hope is that the more we raise each other up in little ways, that effect will slowly amplify.
2) Recommend each other
Similar to shining a light – take the action to recommend a woman you know. Whether this is in response to a specific request, or simply shooting over someone awesome’s work or resume to someone they might be a fit for at some point. It strengthens networks and increases potential.
3) Take a risk
Give people opportunities. Take calculated risks and people will mostly rise to the occasion and wow you. Just a few years ago Annika Feign the editor of The Helper was working with me as an intern. I found out she was a great editor by accident, then after just a couple of short-form projects realized she was insanely talented. She hadn’t cut a feature before, but nor had I directed one so we dove into the project together and the result was fantastic!
4) Don’t be afraid to ask
I’ve become very good this year at going out on a limb and asking for something that might seem a bit of a stretch. It might seem daunting, but it’s really easy if the beneficiary is someone else and/or a worthy cause! You would be surprised how happy people are to share their skills or ability to help empower others if they have the time and bandwidth.
I’m not suggesting these little steps are going to change the world – but then Rome wasn’t built in a day! Better to be saying #metoo to actively being involved in finding a solution.
The end of 2017 is upon us, and every passing year brings about its share of memorable stories, events and newsmakers. In the past 12 months we have seen people from all corners of Hong Kong make invaluable contributions to the community.
When British filmmaker Joanna Bowers moved to Hong Kong six years ago from Los Angeles, she expected to see luxury shops and lots of hurried people. But instead what most struck her was domestic helpers on their Sunday day off. She decided their stories needed to be told, and after raising just under HK$700,000 in 30 days through an online donation campaign, she funded The Helper documentary. It premiered in May and was shown at AMC Pacific Place cinema in October. The film follows the daily lives of five foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong and highlights the sometimes harsh realities behind their happy, smiling faces.
Filmmaker Joanna Bowers explores the challenging circumstances women face as they come to work as domestic helpers in Hong Kong in her first documentary, The Helper and why it took over 6 years to produce.
As a matter of fact, while there is a growing abundance of work around the issue of domestic workers in Hong Kong, not many focus on motherhood or on personal empowerment. By telling the stories of the migrant workers, “we tried to show how they positively impacted society, allowing many local women to enter the workforce but most of all, we tried to make a film that could resonate with audiences globally,” Bowers says.
Joanna gives voice to stories that usually remain untold. She shows us the husbands whose indolence places the burden of both earning and care-taking on their wives and the children who never understand, even once grown, that their mothers left so they could have a better life. She films the women as they soothe other people’s babies while they ache to hold their own and captures their talents and dreams which go far beyond taking care of a home. Needless to say, there isn’t a dry eye in the house during screenings.
La réalisatrice britannique Joanna Bowers dresse le portrait de femmes, souvent philippines ou indonésiennes, qui sacrifient leur vie personnelle pour venir travailler à Hongkong et envoyer de l’argent à leur famille restée au pays.