From the director
When L plus H Creations Foundation decided to put on a musical, I proposed that they train a group of high school students who, through their own youthful perspectives, would film the whole process. Six student filmmakers were chosen to participate.
Several months later, I went to observe the rehearsals for the musical. The first thing I spotted was music director Emily Chung coaching Tsz Nok, a student who had recently lost his vision, on his singing. With great effort he read the Braille using both hands, and I could feel the strength and immense effort he put into singing. I found it deeply affecting. After much deliberation, I finally decided to return to Hong Kong to direct the documentary.
The students chosen for the production were from disadvantaged secondary schools. I do not regard them differently from their higher-achieving peers but question why this label of “low-performance” has been forced upon them.
During the course of filming “My Voice, My Life,” I was with these young people on a daily basis. To a few students, I served as their counselor. By filming them, the camera became kind of a therapeutic tool. At the same time, I witnessed their personal growth that the musical training has given them. Strong bonds were being formed with the school principals and teachers.
At the same time, the student filmmakers continued to help film the rehearsals as they built their skills. I have incorporated their footage into the final film and it has been a joy to work with them.
Documenting Personal Transformations
Although filming of the documentary is over, this is just the beginning of a new chapter in the students’ lives. Whether they will take charge of their lives remains to be seen, but it is undeniable that the seeds of personal growth have been planted in their minds, waiting to bear fruit.
For example, 16-year-old Jacky, one of the student filmmakers, struggled with dyslexia and poor reading ability, and found it difficult to express himself. During the course of filming “My Voice, My Life,” Jacky finally discovered his passions and learned new skills, and now has enrolled in video-making classes. 18-year-old Sau Yan Wong is a recent immigrant to Hong Kong, and she discovered her love of the stage during the filming process. She applied to film school in Taiwan. These are perfect examples of the impact one’s life can have on another: one’s own decision affects oneself, and also influences those around him or her.