Is there a novel more revered—and more famously unread—than James Joyce’s Ulysses? Despite its complexities, this love letter to Dublin, published a century ago, is a very readable chronicle of everyday life and everyday struggles. It’s a book about marriage, sex, religion, food, art, loneliness, companionship, and so much else. It’s a book, that is, about life. We hope that the following essays will send you on a quest to discover, or rediscover, this most staggering of epics.
Creating Watchtower of China was a labour of love. I say labour because we, meaning my crew and I, throughout three consecutive summers, visited over seventy cities and travelled countless thousands of kilometers. Everywhere we went, we found ourselves channelling the powerful energy of this great land to find the strength and inspiration to continue our quest along what became life-changing for all of us. When we initially gathered together we were a film crew. By the time we were done, three years later, we had become a family.
I say love, because what we have created is more than just a film. It is a declaration of our love for this Country.
When I set out on this project I wanted to create a visual tribute to China – an honest observation of daily life. Not a surface travelog, but a real and raw representation of the cultural history. An honoring of Chinese culture, identity, and the complex and varied way of living that spans the enormity of the Chinese territory. A window on the dedication and discipline, the craftsmanship and hard work of the Chinese people. They have an energy of moving forward together as they draw power and inspiration from a culture that looks back over thousands of years, yet rushes fearlessly towards a bold future.
I started to feel this intense energy, as though this cultural pride and determination were now moving through me and my camera. The experience of this film buried itself so deeply within me that I can still feel the hard day’s work in my muscles.
It couldn’t have come together without the help of my dear friends, especially Jolien Snyers and Ricky Choy (did you spot Ricky in the film? She’s in multiple shots and sings in the very last taxi shot!)
It is one of my proudest accomplishments. I hope you love it.
Keukenhof, also known as the Garden of Europe, is one of the world’s largest flower gardens, situated in the municipality of Lisse, in the Netherlands. According to the official website, Keukenhof Park covers an area of 32 hectares and approximately 7 million flower bulbs are planted in the gardens annually.
Zermatt, in southern Switzerland’s Valais canton, is a mountain resort renowned for skiing, climbing and hiking. The town, at an elevation of around 1,600m, lies below the iconic, pyramid-shaped Matterhorn peak. Its main street, Bahnhofstrasse is lined with boutique shops, hotels and restaurants, and also has a lively après-ski scene. There are public outdoor rinks for ice-skating and curling.
Four bike riders travel to the verdant lands of Costa Rica. With 90% humidity and an average daily temperature of 31º, the conditions posed a challenge but it was the terrain that proved the biggest test. From unexpected river crossings and unrelenting rainstorms to forging new friendships and fortuitous cafe finds, the Costa Rican climate and its contagious ‘Pura Vida’ perspective set up one very special trip.
Costa Rica is a rugged, rainforested Central American country with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific. Though its capital, San Jose, is home to cultural institutions like the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, Costa Rica is known for its beaches, volcanoes, and biodiversity. Roughly a quarter of its area is made up of protected jungle, teeming with wildlife including spider monkeys and quetzal birds.