I was introduced to Nigel Ong when the Animal Style program was practically finished, and was only able to squeeze in one of his latest shorts. But he really deserves his own film festival. That’s I.T. (2006) not only documents one of Hong Kong’s much-loved and missed spots, but pretty much maps out the territory’s entire scene–not to mention visiting rippers including Kien Lieu, Koston, Janowsky… Yet Nigel is no scenester; his follow-up work, Skate First (2009), showed Chinese groms how to rip and his latest work, Skateboarding Is Love (2010), is 100 percent local without the locals-only vibe.
Check out Nigel’s Vimeo channel for more samples of his skate work, as well as cool pieces for LMF, 24Herbs, Jun Kung, Know1edge, Subcrew, and other Hong Kong homies. And, of course, if you’re in Chicago don’t miss his short on the big screen at the FAAIM showcase in April.
MW: How did you get into making skate videos?
NO: Skateboarding became part in my teenage life at the same time that digital videos started. Since I had a DV recorder, I recorded skateboarding. I collected so much skate footage, so why not combine all the good stuff and made a highlight video? The other reason I filmed skateboarding is because I didn’t go pro!
MW: Did you intend to make a documentary about I.T. from the beginning or were you just shooting there because it was a good spot…
NO: It was a well-planned project. Most of the footage was collected from HK skateboarders.
MW: Tell me about the packaging for That’s I.T. It’s bananas!
NO: I was thinking, “My first baby, why not?”
MW: What was the inspiration for Skate First?
NO: Transworld showed me the way. Also, at the time we had some great skate footage but not enough to make a full-length video. We did not want to let the footage to get outdated, either.
MW: Your latest work, Skateboarding Is Love, is really nice. How does it reflect the direction you’re going?
NO: After getting some working experience, I noticed that there many techniques used in commercials and movies can be used in skateboarding. The video is done by a DV cam connected to a camera lens, which made the video looks like film. I think filming skateboarding led me to cinematography and photography, which is my job now and hopefully in the future.