Interview with Filmmaker Gavin Wong (A 3-YEAR JOURNEY)

A 3-YEAR JOURNEY, 3min., Hong Kong, Documentary
Directed by Gavin Wong
Welcome to Story of My Life. Throughout the past 3 years I’ve been across the globe, creating visual images in hopes to spark the inner adventure spirit of people like you. My fellow viewers – or more like a family to me, I should say. Started with a GoPro in hand never in my craziest dreams that one day Travel Film would turn into my source of income – that someone out there would actually appreciate my style of work.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

3 years ago when I bought a one-way ticket to Australia, I wanted to document every bits & pieces with a GoPro in my hand – it was the only option I could afford at the time. In the back of my head I picture the day when I finished the journey. I would come home with beautiful imagery, or travel film, basically any medium that can potentially inspire people from my small hometown to get out there & explore, that there is so much more out there waiting. Discovering the adventure spirit inherent to each of us and more so, breaking boundaries set on Asian’s persona in general.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

This idea has been around since day1 of me landing in Australia or even before that – so the answer would be 3 years+. But realisticality, a lot has happened in the middle – I was constantly moving from city to city, working various jobs to save up money buy myself a camera & all also hindered the development of the idea. The core days could be trimmed to the last 2-3 months I guess.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

One Life!

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Money. Save up in order to afford 2 round roadtrips in Iceland. Plane tickets from Australia to the African continent.
Climate. Travelling to one of the harshest winter conditions, yes you can get to witness Northern Lights for the first time, but some days do get insanely rough – road blockage due to heavy snowstorm, white-out, driving on literally icy roads without a 4 x 4 – from sand dunes to icebergs within a very short time frame, get up at 4am to drive to the scenic location get ready for the golden light shines through…countless challenges now that I start thinking back!

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Beyond words of gratitude. Having won the first award in this filmmaking world, hearing all these supportive words deriving from the bottom of the audiences’ heart…man, this all feels surreal to me.

This is why exactly I kept on pushing through during hard times.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I was super introverted back then, before travel impacts my whole life. Single-parent, there was so much that you could talk with grandparents right. That left me isolated, independent most of the time since young, and therefore when you’re not good at speaking, you will then spend much time observing, sitting still & reflecting.

When I first filmed stuff with GoPro & put out content, I’m surprised to hear such supportive words from friends, family or even strangers, that they were able to see talent in me and thus ask me to keep chasing dreams. Then I thought ok, people actually notice these. I guess it could be an effective way for me to express emotions, through my own lens then!

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Believe it or not I very rarely rewatch films. I like Romance films. People always have a surprise reaction when hearing I ain’t as much of a film enthusiast as they might expect, because I self-learn everything from Youtube, including gaining knowledge on Cinematography tutorial/film breakdown etc.

To put it on the books, I like Tenet (the reverse concept), Walter Mitty, Forrest Gump, In the Mood for Love.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I think podcast is a very good idea so as to offer filmmakers like us to tell a story behind. Good stuff and I look forward to that!

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

It’s a very good starting point for filmmakers like us, being able to get a hold on the filmmaking world – start from small, participate in festivals that are free entries, get a couple names across festivals thus build up your own name and so forth.

10. What is your favorite meal?

I have started to develop a favorite meal in every country that I have been to. However nothing can beat a good authentic big wok fried rice from my hometown Hong Kong and of course dim sum & siu mai!! (if you know you know hahaha)

11. What is next for you? A new film?

Having been away for the past 3 years, returning home right now I’m just enjoying spending time with family friends loved ones again, treasure all these little moments. I’m now working fulltime as a Video Producer in Broadcast Media focusing on food & travel, leisure time I also put out videos of my own travel journey since my hard drives are still full of valuable memories yet to be put out there so..a new film up next? Well, you might never know!


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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