Watch “Revolution Trilogy” 睇「革命三部曲」

Director/producer/independent reporter Kempton Lam has made three full-length documentaries from 2004 – 2015. (Cantonese with English subtitles 廣東話、英文字幕) Collectively, the three documentaries are known as his “Revolution Trilogy「革命三部曲」. Kempton’s debut documentary Long Hair Revolution 「長毛革命 has been collected by the Canadian national archive since 2009. You can watch the three films at this YouTube Playlist (projected on your big screen HD TV or on your computer here). Enjoy!

Long Hair Revolution 「長毛革命」 (full-length 2005) (read film & Canadian national archive info)

HKtv Revolution 「香港電視革命」 (full-length 2015) (read Director’s Statement)

Umbrella Revolution: History as Mirror Reflection 「雨傘革命實錄:以史為鏡」 (full-length 2015) (read Director’s Statement)

Documenting Umbrella Revolution – part 1

As a documentarian that has made a film about Umbrella Revolution (see my director’s statement), I want to do my small part in documenting the events in Umbrella Revolution. Tonight, I came across a few great films made by the filmmakers at Lianain Films (website). I want to share these films with you so more people may find and watch them. I consider this a “part 1” as I hope to add more in the future.

Note: These films are all made by the filmmakers at Lianain Films and NOT by me.

First Umbrella – September 26, 2014 from Lianain Films on Vimeo. [HT HKFP]

“Panic, panic, absolute panic.” – September 27, 2014

Lung Wo Road – Scenes from the evening of October 14, 2014 from Lianain Films on Vimeo. Continue reading

Umbrella Revolution de facto theme song 撐起雨傘 Lyrics English Translation

Today I came across YouTube user Ms. Alice Tong’s wonderful English translation of the Umbrella Revolution de facto theme song 撐起雨傘. I know I need to translate the song into English some how so it was “lucky” for me to come across Alice’s version. And I’ve put some time to build upon it and made a few words adjustments to fit my needs. As Alice wrote in the YouTube description, she translated the whole song within a day and don’t see the translation as “perfect”. So I hope Alice and other readers will see my changes as trying to share my insights and give my own take to the translation. Ultimately, I don’t believe there is a “perfect” translation just different translations.

Alice’s version with her English translation

Official 撐起雨傘 version at Umbrella Revolution with full song creative credits.

Song translation credit: YouTube user Ms. Alice Tong
with changes made by Kempton Lam for my documentary
more info here:

Lyrics of 撐起雨傘 and English translations (Alice version, some lines followed with my takes):

靜坐人海 你我非不怕
Sitting among the crowd
we are not unafraid

my take/version:
Sitting quietly in the crowd
we are not unafraid

For fear of what might happen next

my take:
We fear what may happen next

但是人生 到了這一晚
But our lives have reached a tipping point
note: wonderful translation/use re “tipping point”

Keeping silent is more terrifying

my take:
Staying silent is more terrifying

站在前方 勇氣驅不散
Standing in the frontline
Our courage cannot be dispersed
note: I quite like the use of “dispersed”

Fear will only lead us to a bleaker future Continue reading

Many Umbrella Revolution documentaries and I am not “worried”

I expect there will be many documentaries made about Umbrella Revolution (UR) and I’m not “worried”. In fact, it is a good thing to see many documentaries made about UR because it is important and we need more perspectives and eyes on UR. Different documentary filmmakers will see and choose to tell different stories through their creative minds. Now we work with very limited resources here but I’ve promised to make the best film I can. And I will try my best to make as good a film I can given the limited resources and time we have. Will see.

In the mean time, I welcome different documentary filmmakers’ takes and I’m going to share a few particularly good ones I’ve seen so far here with you.

1a) VICE News is making a piece about Umbrella Revolution. Worth watching the trailer and checking out the video when it is out. [HT @Warmwaterfrog for sharing]

(1b) The short documentary series “Clearing Mong Kok” (16:17) (part 3/3) by freelance videographer Nathan Mauger is just breathtakingly awesome! Highly recommended. [HT Kam for sharing]

The above is third (3/3) in a series about the clashes in Mong Kok during Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement. The following are part 1 & 2.

20 Meters in Mong Kok (05:22)

The Battle for Mong Kok (05:23)

Note: VICE Network is one of the new media companies that gets a lot of my respect. In 2013 at Banff, I had the pleasure of meeting VICE co-founders Suroosh Alvi & Shane Smith. And interviewing Shane Smith was a cool experience. Imagine they started VICE, originally a punk magazine, out of Montreal, Canada! #GoCanadaGo

40+ Windows and Doors Opened

This is Mongkok@革命中的廿四小時
This is Mongkok@革命中的廿四小時

My 2005 documentary “Long Hair Revolution (長毛革命)”, to me, has played an important in opening some windows and doors over the years. I’m happy to report a few days ago I’ve received copyright permissions to potentially use any or all 40+ songs from 革命中的廿四小時! So 40+ windows and doors have now been opened for me to explore creatively to try to better tell the stories of (HKtv+Umbrella) Revolution (香港電視+雨傘)革命!

I am still going through the long list of songs and may decide to use fragments of a bunch of songs. For now, I just want to say I like/love “08 This is Mongkok@革命中的廿四小時” by 旺角街坊Melissa very much. Melissa has a very sweet voice and the lyrics are very meaningful and evocative in telling a bit of the Mongkok story.

P.S. A few general comments about music. A dear friend of mine is an expert soprano singer in her youth and she is disliking some of the music I like/love. I see her point that some of the singing may be off-key or not “professional” enough for her taste (plus some songs have the f-word) but all these factors are emblematic of the raw feelings of Umbrella Revolution!

For example, imagine some of these songs were re-recorded and sang in a professional studio and then highly produced and tuned/”fixed”/”modified” word-by-word using tools like Avid Pro Tools, which would be a disaster to me! You might as well kill the spirit of these songs and suck all the blood out of their veins!

Opening Windows and Doors

Database search of Long Hair Revolution at Library and Archives Canada (Item Number 416953)
Database search of Long Hair Revolution at Library and Archives Canada=

It will always be one of my great honours to have my first documentary in 2005 “Long Hair Revolution (長毛革命)” be placed and collected by the National Archive of Canada (Government of Canada Item Number (ISN) 416953 at Library and Archives Canada). At the same time, as an independent filmmaker with limited resource, I’ve tried, shamelessly, to leverage this honour help me open many windows and doors in my documentary making journey.

I often mention”Long Hair Revolution (長毛革命)” and sometimes the National Archive connection (like today) when  arranging face-to-face or Skype video interviews, requesting copyright owners’ permissions to use their works (photos, artworks, video clips, etc) to help give myself instant “credibility” and hopefully smooth things out. Opening these windows and doors are crucial to my ability to try to make (HKtv+Umbrella)Revolution (香港電視+雨傘)革命 a reasonably “good” documentary since part 2 my documentaries (namely the “Umbrella Revolution” part) is heavily (or almost totally) “crowd sourced”.

P.S. To my friends and supporters: Yes, I am trying to fix the giant 10 years gap between my first documentary and my second film! I guess which is why I am making my 2nd and 3rd film together! Will see what happen.

Non-interference in the past and beeping comments now

Non-interference in the past

When Kempton made his debut documentaryLong Hair Revolution (長毛革命) in 2004/2005, he knew next to nothing about filmmaking. Kempton tried to be as neutral an observer as possible. He avoided doing anything that may be perceived as “helping” Mr. Leung Kwok Hung (Long Hair) in anyway with his protest. In one scene that he still remembers, Long Hair had to buy some boat tickets so he could go to Macau for a protest. He wanted to borrow HK$100 or something from me at the ticket counter in front of a large group of reporters and camera. I had the money but I hesitated as I could not see myself becoming an active part of the protests. Sure, if I had helped Long Hair to go to Macau, I know for sure I would get some great footage and I’m sure Long Hair will pay me back (it was a loan) but I set my standard of non-interference very high.

Beeping comments now

Now in 2014, Kempton has decidedly abandoned his non-interference. Kempton was “involved” in HKtv Revolution in his own way as you will see in the film. And because Umbrella Revolution is a Revolution that is near fully digital, it is much easier for Kempton to get involved even from thousands of miles away. Sometimes it is a Facebook message of loving care of a great photographer/videographer and sometimes it is an expression of sadness about an “once good” political party (WARNING: I used a lot of profanity in this comment). As I spent time writing and revising these comments, they helped me solidify my thinking and analysis. And they captured my feeling at that specific moment in time. I don’t know how I may (or may not use) use my comments in my film, I now have these comments captured along with my massive amount of crowdsourced digital assets. I will need to think of a way to organize these resources and think about how best to shape “Umbrella Revolution”