Beginning work on this film I knew I wanted to make something quite different in terms of style, something that would confound those who had seen my previous work and something that would reflect the variety of voices within Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp.
I set out to make a film that was not about the Umbrella Movement, but rather of the Umbrella Movement. 'Last Exit to Kai Tak' does not address the Umbrella Movement directly, but rather it attempts to explore its consequences at a human level.
I set out to make a documentary that was not like traditional documentaries. I wanted to eschew the interview-driven documentary, but also the cold supposed objectivity of cinéma vérité or direct cinema. I wanted to convey to the viewer not just what I saw but how I felt as the events unfolded in front me. Instead of striving for a forever just out of reach objectivity, I wanted to embrace the subjectiveness of documentary. Celebrate it even. I later came to realise, what I was trying to make was a gonzo documentary.
In an attempt to reflect the multitude of voices within the Umbrella Movement I knew I needed multiple characters. During the time this film was coming into focus, I was heavily influenced by multi-storied, ensemble cast films, such as Robert Altman’s 'Short Cuts' (1993). I liked that these films were less about the individual people and more the cast of characters as a whole and the environments that they operate in. This struck a chord with me as its always been the city, Hong Kong, and its people as a whole, rather than individuals, that have inspired me. It's vast energy and spectacular contradictions grabbed me many years ago and have never let go. My work is an ethnographical attempt to capture this energy and its contradictions, try to make sense of them and in return offer it back to the city and its inhabitants.