Do Not Split is a documentary short that takes place during the heart of the 2019 Hong Kong protests. The short follows the protests that took place following a proposed bill that would allow the Chinese government to extradite criminal suspects to mainland China. Unfolding across a year,
Do Not Split captures the determination and sacrifices of the protesters, government backlash, and the passage of the new Beijing-backed national security law.
Photo (above): Hammer, on the streets of Hong Kong. Credit: Oliver Haynes
Anders Hammer and Charlotte Cook are both nominated in the Documentary (Short Subject) category for the 93rd Academy Awards. In addition to directing the short, Hammer also served as producer, cinematographer and co-editor on Do Not Split.
“I spent months filming protesters in the streets of Hong Kong,” recalls the filmmaker. “I wanted to be as flexible as possible so I could walk and run close to protesters while filming during very unpredictable days and nights. My aim was to film the protests as close as possible from the ground. The police were using water cannons, pepper spray, tear gas, and rubber and beanbag bullets. At the same time the protesters were throwing petrol bombs and using other kinds of homemade weapons. All potential threats to my equipment.”
Hammer adds that the weather, heat and humidity were ever present, and that he needed an extra-robust camera.
“I never regretted using the Canon 1DX Mark II,” he notes, adding that he choose a Canon EF 24-70mm lens. “It took direct hits without failing me once. I used a Zoom (H6) recorder and (Sennheiser ew 100 G3 wireless) microphones. I had the recorder strapped around my chest. I bought a hard plastic box in Hong Kong, which I cut and taped up with some soft material so the recorder did not get wet or stopped working due to bumps and different kind of liquids. I had extra batteries and memory cards in my backpack.”
In addition, his kit included a Sennheiser MKE shotgun microphone and monopod, as well as safety gear, such as a climbing helmet and gas mask.