These Eye-Popping Videos Capture the Madness of Cities

These Eye-Popping Videos Capture the Madness of Cities

An interview with nomadic filmmaker Brandon Li
Tony Wong
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Getting the energy of a place on film is not an easy thing to do. Especially a transient place like Hong Kong. The city is both familiar and foreign to me. I was born there, and though I moved away at age 12, work has brought back many times over the years. On one of these trips, I was introduced to Brandon Li’s short film Hong Kong Strong (chosen by Vimeo as one of the best of staff picks in May 2016). In swooping, panoramic shots, it puts the beautiful madness of urban life and ordinary people on display. As a designer, I was instantly taken by Li's approach, as we, too, set about taking snapshots of daily life for inspiration. In this installment of Creative Crushes, I caught up with Brandon to find out more about his work.

Brandon Li during a tour through India in 2015.

In one sentence, who are you?

I'm a nomadic filmmaker.

How did you learn to do it?

I travel the world and make short films about the places I visit. While I did go to film school, I'd say I learned most of my skills on the road, by trial and error.

WATCH: Hong Kong Strong. A film about the madness and beauty of this seemingly impossible city in the days leading up to Chinese New Year.

What are your three favorite possessions?

1. Good boots

2. My phone with Google Maps

3. My camera gimbal

What does a typical work session look like for you?

Shooting for about 12 hours a day, in the thick of a crazy festival in a foreign country. Then spending another 12 hours editing the footage and hiding from society.

WATCH: Nomads of Mongolia. Training eagles to hunt, herding yaks, and racing camels are just a few of the daily activities of the nomadic Kazakh people.

How do you get over creative block?

Travel to a new place.

WATCH: Tokyo Roar. Tokyo saturates the senses. This is my impression of the city's many personalities.

How do you see the world in 2078?

I see a mix of environmental catastrophe and remarkable human innovation. As the seas rise, we'll meet the challenge with ingenuity and eventually become fully sustainable, because it's the only way to survive.

Who are you (creative) crushing on lately?

Tokyo-born filmmaker Hiro Murai.

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Tony Wong
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