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American sees beyond the glamor in filmmaking (2)

By Zhao Xu  (China Daily)

08:15, August 27, 2012

"My job title for that movie is 'film loader', which means, quite literally, opening the canister, taking out the film and taping it up onto the movie camera," he says. "Nothing hard, except that you've got to put your hands inside a bag and do it in the dark, because the film is light-sensitive."

One day, about a week after the first batch of films had been sent to Beijing for developing, Hubert was told that a couple of hairs had been detected on the initial few shots of the film. "They said to me 'Be careful'."

"I guessed what they meant was, 'Go and shave your arms', which I did, promptly," he says, apparently bemused by the little incident.

The arm hair has since had a chance to grow back, thanks to Hubert's career evolution from a film loader to an independent artist making short movies funded by his earnings from shooting commercials for local and international brands.

But back then, his zero tolerance for interfering hairs won him a big hug from the director. "He says he loved me," Hubert recalled, laughing out loud.

From there, Hubert went on to shoot a mini-documentary on the making of the 2010 Chinese film Love for Life, directed by Gu Changwei and thought to be Chinese cinema's first take on the blood-transfusion-caused AIDs outbreak in an impoverished Chinese rural area in late 1990s and early 2000s. Casting the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon actress Zhang Ziyi and the veteran Hong Kong heartthrob Aaron Kwok in leading roles, the movie was filmed in a small village on the western fringe of Beijing.

Not knowing anyone on the crew beforehand, Hubert was impressed by the stars "as themselves". "They were fantastic people to work with - Aaron Kwok was entertaining the crew all the time, dancing and teasing with everybody," he says, referring to the sweatshirt-wearing singer-actor who's seen on Hubert's documentary twisting his well-trained body for some electrifying movements. "I think they were just so tired of their celebrity and wanted to be normal people."

And in this, Hubert recognized his own longing to be "inconspicuous".

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