Hello! It’s Malia and Erin, this year’s co-directors, and we are excited to inform you on all of the progress our team has already made in Hong Kong. It seems like only yesterday when we decided upon the topic of E-waste and the location of Hong Kong. Now, we are walking the crowded city streets and following the trail of abandoned electronics.

After conducting over 15 interviews with those involved in electronic recycling in the US and now 10 in Hong Kong, we have begun to put faces to this year’s undertold social justice topic: the domestic and international repercussions of electronic waste and the progress made by people, companies, and communities to protecting the environment from this hazard. While improper electronic waste is typically a story appealing to investigative teams (whom we have interviewed here and in the US), ETL is meeting with all the players involved to let our viewers know where there is hope for change and how they can be engaged.

Our experience in Hong Kong as a documentary team is quite different than the typical tourist’s journey to this bustling city. Instead of hitting the beach (as we are in 80 degree weather, sorry MN!!), we like to hang out in giant shipping container yards, geek out at the largest government waste processing facility, Eco Park, and discreetly film at the thousands of electronic shops and informal repair markets. We have also taken some extreme measures to get in touch with our interview contacts, even taking to the app that has swept the world, Tinder...We promise it was ONLY for the best of the team and it has been highly successful! Some would call reaching the same individual through LinkedIn, facebook, e-mail, Instagram, their business’ HR, and through other contacts/friends stalking, but we pride ourselves on our persistence. :) Erin and I (Malia) will be telling more about the art of documentary travel on in the CSB/SJU REDTalks, a Ted talk style presentation, on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at the Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis.

We are also happy to announce that our team of 16 has brought in a little one, making it a beautiful team of 17. This small bundle of joy, named Sticky, was adopted on January 4th. Little Sticky is a drone that will help our team reach new heights with our video footage and documentaries. The rest of our family has quickly fallen in love with their new drone sibling as we learn how to help him fly through life’s skyscrapers.

We climbed up to a peak called Lion’s Rock that overlooks Hong Kong. As I (Erin) stumbled and struggled my way up this climb, it made me realize how much I am not in shape while Malia (who is training for a marathon and in ROTC) almost ran up the entire mountain. Once we got to the top the view was amazing! We filmed the sunset and got to experience the city’s nightlife come alive. Kevin doesn’t like people getting too close to the edges so we took some photos to scare him and terrify our parents (mom and dad don’t worry, we only had one small tumble down the side of the mountain). As we filmed the sun going down, the team got some time to relax and eat a picnic while enjoying a fantastic view.

We miss the rest of our ETL children back at home in Minnesota (Maggie in India and Grace in Spain). We are also excited for our three interns who will be added this upcoming semester, so apply on our squarespace if interested in joining this dysfunctional but pretty successful family! Thank you so much for following our journeys so far and if you have any Hong Kong contacts you might know of or any willing donors send them our way (couldn’t avoid the opportunity of a low key $$ plug…). We are only half way through this wonderful journey and can’t wait to see where this next week and a half takes us.

Co-D’s OUT :)

Erin Beacom and Malia Carson

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