After bagging success at the Young Creative Awards, Kai-Yan Lai has earned himself a successful career behind the camera...
My interest in the film industry began in 2016 when a short film of mine won a Young Creative Award for Best Film in the 14-16 age group. This led me to do work experience with Skeleton Productions and LeftLion, which eventually developed into a freelancing job filming events like Hockley Hustle, Beat the Streets and even having a small role in Lord of Milan. During the same year I was offered the opportunity to go to Rome to film a corporate video for Rushcliffe Borough Council as part of a collaborative project with Young Network Group. By then I knew working in film was what I wanted to do as a career, and so I kept on networking and developing my skills. I am now studying BA Film at Middlesex University, London, where I am focussing on specialising in Cinematography.
When lockdown measures were announced I had just returned from London. Knowing the film industry would suffer greatly, I wanted a way of continuing my skills behind the camera. I would go on my daily exercise and take photographs of my surroundings through different perspectives. As the photos began to pile up, I decided to showcase a selection of my best ones in a photography book named Distance. It’s a 24-page hardback zine which features fourteen photos and a double-page poem called The Light in the Dark which was written by Milly Hitcham. Sold for £12.99, 100% of the profits are being donated to NHS Charities Together, and for every order £1 will be donated to support Black Lives Matter. The book is available for pre-order and will end mid-July.
Since returning from University, I’ve also finished a short film I wrote and directed named Dancing in the Dark, which features some local actors. It sees a young couple’s car break down in a car park and as they wait for help from a close friend, they begin to realise there's more to one character than it seems. It will be released late this year after its festival run – it’s already been chosen for the Official Selection of London Liftoff.
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