By their own cameras

Compiled by Chris Lau

A Unicef competition invites young filmmakers to address the issue of global child poverty

Compiled by Chris Lau |

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(From left) Junior reporters Leanne Lam, Gabriel Yiu, director Barbara Wong, cinematographer Poon Hang-seng, junior reporter Henry Lui.
Many children still live in poverty around the world. In Hong Kong, some children live in tiny flats with their parents and siblings. They are often deprived.

Elsewhere, children go hungry and die from treatable diseases.

Unicef works to make life better for needy children everywhere. The UN organisation is launching a short film competition called Believe in Zero, Make a Video, to help spread the message that no child anywhere should suffer.

Our junior reporters met cinematographer Poon Hang-sang and director Barbara Wong Chun-chun at a session at the Baptist University of Hong Kong

Everyday heroes

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life. Anyone and everyone can be a hero. What does it take to be a hero? We face challenges and difficulties every day, but our troubles pale in comparison to those faced by many children in underdeveloped areas.

Unicef is trying to spread the message that we can all pitch in to help needy youngsters have a better life. It is currently accepting submissions for its Believe in Zero, Make a Video competition. The idea is for people to create short videos to raise awareness of children who live in poverty. The theme of this competition is to capture what you think a kind superhero should look like and how you can spread a positive message in your community through the power of social media.

Henry Lui

Meet cinematographer Poon Hang-sang

Photo: Henry Lui

Poon Hang-sang is a veteran cinematographer who has worked on such local blockbusters as Ip Man 2 and Kung Fu Hustle. He spoke about the secrets of his trade.

Poon stressed that for all the hi-tech gadgets available these days, the main purpose of film-making is still to tell a good story which people can relate to.

Poon considers the Believe in Zero, Make a Video competition a great chance for youngsters to show off their talents and have a taste of film-making. Through their research, young filmmakers will learn about the lives of children living in poor countries. Youngsters in Hong Kong, he believes, can explore the true meaning of human rights.

In response to a question about how to work with child actors, Poon shared his experience about working on the local blockbuster CJ7. He said the secret was to befriend youngsters and bond with them during filming.

Gabriel Yiu

Meet director Barbara Wong Chun-chun

Photo: Henry Lui

A film can start with anything - an idea, a simple concept, or an object. So says director Barbara Wong Chun-chun. She urged young filmmakers to have their own vision.

Wong is an actress, scriptwriter and director. She graduated from the Tisch School of Arts at New York University.

Her well-known movies include Happy Funeral and Perfect Wedding, both of which have strong feministic undertones.

She said young filmmakers are often too shy to show others their films. But Wong encouraged them to be brave because only outsiders can see what is missing and which shots should be redone. "You should actually show it to as many people as possible," she said.

Regarding Unicef's filmmaking competition, Wong said filming and editing skills were not what mattered. It was the meaning and morality behind a film that was important.

Leanne Lam

Registration for Unicef's Believe in Zero, Make a Video competition runs until October 31. For more details, visit

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