Sign up for our weekly newsletter
Nottingham Carnival online

Art Works: Kai-Yan Lai

11 July 20 interview: LeftLion

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.

kaiyanlaifilms.wixsite.com/book
@kaiyanlalai on Instagram 

If You Love LeftLion, Support LeftLion...

We are part of what makes Nottingham unique – not many cities in the world have a free press like us. The coronavirus pandemic has hit us hard. Until March we published ten thousand magazines every month, distributing them for free to over 450 venues in and around Nottingham. As we head back into print we are asking our readers and the people who love what we do to support us.

Support LeftLion now