Stefanos Tai
Writer, Director

Added 20th Apr `21
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1. What is your name and what do you do?

My name is Stefanos Tai and I’m a filmmaker from New York. I’ve been living in Hong Kong for three years to make this film.

2. Tell us more about your current film project, We Don’t Dance For Nothing.


“we don’t dance for nothing” tells the story of a Filipina domestic worker in Hong Kong who plans to break free and run wild, towards her dreams of independence, romantic love, and true motherhood. 

Other films exist about this topic, but we wanted to make a bolder and more colorful movie that celebrates the love, joy, pride, and dance of the domestic workers. We hope to show the world that these women are much more than “helpers” - they have dreams (and massive talents) of their own.

As a low budget independent film, we leaned heavily on the community of Filipinos and domestic workers in Hong Kong, and we were honored that they supported us on this journey. This was a film truly made for a community, by a community.

Lastly, this film has a bold and unique style. It is the world’s first film to be constructed mainly through still images. We combined frozen photographs with the high-energy dance scenes to create a contrast between the OFW’s feelings of entrapment with the freedom they experience on Sunday off-days.

If you’re curious to find out more, you can see:

facebook.com/WDDFN

instagram.com/wedontdancefornothing

 

3. What were the challenges you and your crew faced while filming?

The main challenge we faced was COVID-19. We had to shoot large dance numbers (cast & crew upwards of 130 people total) in the middle of Central during a lockdown. Of course, we took every possible precaution and successfully obtained permits from the authorities, but we felt a serious responsibility to protect our team and their families. In the end, we had zero exposure to the virus, and everybody was fully healthy, but this was certainly a challenge.

A separate challenge was shooting on Kodak Super 16mm motion picture film. We loved its look and wanted to create something that felt tangible and textured. However, it was my first time shooting on film, and this was a more difficult and meticulous process than shooting on digital. 

And lastly, similar to many indie films, we had enormous schedule and budget pressure. Talent, locations, equipment, manpower, props, and costumes all had to be sourced for free/extremely little. We would only have a few hours to shoot very emotional scenes. We were often shooting with children, in water, and with a decades-old film camera. These were all major challenges, but we pulled together all our friends and family to make this film happen!

4. What social changes would you like to see for the Migrant Community?

We would like to see change in the world’s perception of Migrant Workers. Too often these workers are treated as second-class citizens, and are blatantly denied their rights. All of the mistreatment and abuse stems from an inability of those in power to grasp the basic humanity of these people. Until we all see the Migrant Workers as ourselves-- full and complicated human beings with talents, vices, dreams, and weaknesses-- how can society treat them equally?

Film is the most powerful tool to generate empathy I know, and we are committed to spreading our film as far and widely as possible, so for 85 minutes at least, viewers can put themselves into the shoes of a OFW in Hong Kong. And for the OFW audience, we hope they can view this film and celebrate its empowering take on their communities.


5. How can people show support for your film?

If you believe in the magic of this community like we do, please follow and share our pages and spread the word:

facebook.com/WDDFN

instagram.com/wedontdancefornothing

You can also reach out directly to us on these pages, and if you’d like to join our movement, we would be forever grateful!

- Stefanos Tai