George Simons: Everywhere you look in Hong Kong there is a moment ready to be captured."
One of the greatest things about running a creative company like VOID Watches is the people I meet in the process. Last year I got to know George Simons, a British film maker based in Hong Kong who had an idea for a short film to capture a moment in time in Hong Kong, the iconic city state that is rapidly going through changes. VOID Watches began its journey in this fascinating city and it felt like a great opportunity to be part of.
DE: What sparked the idea of this short film?
GS: When people think of Hong Kong they think of the city but Hong Kong has so much more to it. You have the manic financial hub yes, but you also have the paradisiacal areas where life moves slowly. I wanted to portray all sides of Hong Kong in this film. By working with VOID Watches it felt like a great opportunity to show the city and nature together. By capturing moments in people’s day as they take a breath and take a pause in time by looking at one of VOID’s sleek watches.
DE: Could you tell us a bit about the locations you filmed in and why you chose them?
GS: Hong Kong is a city of stark contrast. On one side you have a bustling metropolis densely packed with skyscrapers. On the other side you have beautiful beaches, mountains and rural areas. Despite only being an hour away, these locations feel a million miles apart. For this film I wanted to capture as much of this as possible in a short period. We have the iconic trams in the city, the amazing sunset at Sunset Peak and the beautiful beaches of Sai Kung.
“Everywhere you look in Hong Kong there is a moment ready to be captured.”
DE: What is your relationship to Hong Kong?
GS: I first came to Hong Kong in 2018 whilst travelling in China. I’ll never forget the first evening that I sat down at the Avenue of Stars and looked over to Victoria Harbour. I remember being totally awestruck by the view. At that point I had no idea that I would be living there just a year after. Hong Kong has everything you want in such a small space, it’s like a micro world in one area. It’s chaotic, always changing and straight up crazy but I’ll always have affection for Hong Kong.
Screenshot from 'A Hong Kong Story' by George Simons.
DE: Is ’time’ important to your filming process?
GS: A lot of filming relies on timing and good planning. If you’re shooting at golden hour you have a limited time to get there, get setup and get the shot. This always requires planning to make sure you’re there and ready. You often hear in filmmaking that the best shots happen because you’re in the right place at the right time, this is absolutely true. Some of my favourite shots have happened by pure luck, by being out there when a beautiful spontaneous moment happens and you just happen to be out there shooting.
“Hong Kong is a city of stark contrast. On one side you have a bustling metropolis densely packed with skyscrapers. On the other side you have beautiful beaches, mountains and rural areas.”
DE: How do you find Hong Kong as a ‘backdrop’ for filming? Is it a photogenic environment?
GS: Everywhere you look in Hong Kong there is a moment ready to be captured. The city never sits still and there is always a story to be told. From a filmmaking point of view there is everything here. You have gritty backstreets, luxurious districts and stunning mountain ranges. Hong Kong isn’t a nostalgic city and the landscape changes all the time. One day you can be filming an old colonial style building, then go back in a few months to find a building site. Hong Kong is a visually stimulating place and one that will forever evolve.
DE: Do you have any new projects in the pipeline that you could tell us about?
GS: I have a few projects I’m currently working on and a few more in the pipeline. I’m always to network and find more stories. If you’d like to know anymore and connect with me, please check out my Instagram or find me on YouTube.
Interview and words by David Ericsson.