Interview with Charles Lanceplaine (Filmmaker of Shanghai 5)

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Charles Lanceplaine turned heads with his Shanghai 5 documentary about the Skateboarding scene in Shanghai. I got the chance to have an in-depth interview with Charles, with no time wasting here is what we talked about :

2dots-Can you tell readers a bit background information about yourself and what you do

CL-Im Charles Lanceplaine 24 years old from France, Im a filmmaker and I have been living in Shanghai for 3 years.

2dots-Which interest was first Skateboarding or Film making?
CL-I first started skateboarding 10 years ago and like a lot of skaters I grew up watching tons of skate videos I always dreamed of making one.

2dots-You currently live in Shanghai how did that come about is it mainly because of skateboarding or film making ?
CL-I moved to Shanghai in 2007 after graduating from university, in 2006 I was studying in the US and then when I got back to France I felt the urge of moving out and travelling more so I decided to move to Shanghai, I didn’t know anyone there but I knew I would find some skateboarders there, and I was right.
I was only supposed to stay there for a couple of months but ended up finding a job and decided to stay there, it has been 3 years now.

2dots-You Directed,Filmed and Edited Shanghai 5 documentary, which i personally think turned out incredible. It seems you are a one man army, how do you go about with film making process?

CL-The process is different for every video, really depends on the idea and the time I have to do it, but for the Shanghai 5 I started filming 9 months ago around March 2010 I have been filming for over 6 months and then spent 2 months editing the video. It was a bit of mission especially getting skaters out to film tricks.

2dots-What is the response and feedback you get from Shanghai 5 documentary?

CL-I was pretty surprised by the outcome of the video and the reception I thought only my buddies would watch the video, I would have never thought having over 60,000 views on Vimeo, I even got e-mails from Ty Evans and Steve Berra whom I’m a really big fan off saying they liked the video. The best thing is that people liking the video are not only skateboarders a big part of them are non skateboarders which was the idea behind the video, I wanted to show another aspect of skateboarding not only big handrails and fisheyes, I’m happy it has opened some people’s mind.

2dots-Watching Shanghai 5, it seems the Shanghai skateboarding community is growing very fast and pushing the envelope for skateboarding to be recognized apart from the documentary what other ways are you promoting skate boarding

CL-Skateboarding is very new here in Shanghai and China in general, a lot of brands are trying to push it here, in the past 2 years it has been really growing, We try to promote skateboarding through Legion of Sorts and diferent videos clips we make here in Shanghai, in 2011 we are coming up with a Legion of Sorts full length video with my Buddy Tommy Zhao which will include different skaters from around china, we want to make this video a new standard for skateboarding here, the level needs to be pushed.

2dots-I personally enjoyed every minute of Shanghai 5 and it was very informative, compared to many i see online yours looked like work of a professional production. How did you learn film making and when did you start?

CL-I started filming a year and half ago when I bought my first camera a Sony Fx7 which is basically lke a VX but it films in HD, I learned filming by myself, I didnt go to any film school or anything I just learned by filming my friends and especially when I was working on my friend Brian Smith video part for the Gift Skateboards video « It’s a Wrap » ( .Then I switched to Dslr Cameras with the Canon 550d when it came out and started to get jobs here and there and in the end decided to work  as a full time videographer.
2dots-If i am correct you are also a Photographer,which way or what sense of direction do you use to capture the right moments and what is the right gadget for it.

CL-Well I’m not really a photographer, I started taking pictures when I bought a Dslr camera, I started playing around with it during our filming missions but I’m far from being a photographer I’m just doing it for fun. In a way filming with those cameras is really similar to taking a pictures when it comes to the framing and especially making time lapses. With those new type of cameras the worlds of filming and photography definitely come as one.

2dots-What is unique about skating in Shanghai compared to other countries.

CL-Shanghai is like a big skatepark, you always have new spots popping everywhere, it’s a never ending playground and spots are not busted yet and security is pretty relaxed. The only difficulty would be the language barrier because not so many local people speak English here so it might be tough to get around without a guide

2dots-What is Legion of Sort website about ?

CL-Legion of Sorts is a blog we started with Tommy Zhao a skater and filmer living in Shanghai, it’s just a buddy’s blog we just post our pictures or videos or tell what has been happening lately. We try to show to the west what’s happening with the scène here in Shanghai

2dots-What other stuff are you into or interested in apart from skateboarding & Film Making

CL-Im pretty big into Curling, I guess that my next big thing…haha
Not kidding I’m pretty interested in surfing and snowboarding as well, I would love to get somehow involved in a snowboard project. Apart from that, music is definitely a big part of my life it keeps me going and inspires me to make new videos.

2dots-So far what is the highest achievement? and any unfulfilled dreams?

CL-So far the Shanghai 5 has been my biggest achievement, I always dreamed of making a skate video/ documentary after being inspired by all the « On Skateboarding » videos that I watched when I was younger. its like a dream come true for me. In the future I would love to get involved in project with the guys from Lakai or Girl Skateboards .I have always been a big fan of Ty Evans and Spike Jonze’s work.

2dots-Where do you see the direction of skateboarding heading?

CL-I guess skateboarding is gonna keep on growing I am not sure where its heading but I doubt it will go under like in the 90’s. Now the industry is pretty solid and more and more money is injected into skateboarding, I just hope more kids will be able to make a living and that big companies will stop underpaying skaters and filmers.

2dots-Do you have any interest in making other documentaries apart from skateboarding or an actual movie one day 

CL-I would love to work into music videos, when it comes to another documentary I would like to do something whether related to some sports or I would love to go and film a documentary in a remote place like in Xinjiang (The Chinese region close to Pakistan).

2dots-Any current projects you want readers to know?

CL-In 2011 I will be filming for the Legion of Sorts video, my buddy Tommy Zhao is already intensely filming for it, as well I will get involved on different projects with brands like Vans, Nike and Converse in China and make more online clips.
I will definitely let you know when some new clips are out.
Thanks a lot Aaron for your interest in my video.

Much appreciated.