Dazed Digital


Charles Lanceplaine

June 7, 2011

The talented filmmaker documents the Shanghai skate scene and the city's creative culture

  • Text by Terence Teh

"I came to Shanghai in 2007 after graduating from a business degree at University," introduces the film director Charles Lanceplaine, the French filmmaker who is now at the centre of Shanghai's creative skate scene. "I was hearing a lot of good things about Shanghai so I decided to move with just my suitcase and a skateboard. I didn’t speak any word of Chinese or knew anyone, I was supposed to stay for only six months but it’s been three years now."

Charles's "Shanghai 5" film was an ode to the Shanghai skate scene, an insight into a niche and underground scene that was then showcased on a global level. This was then followed by the recently released "Support Your Local" documentary shot with Nike SB China, alongside the music video take away show website called Dabaoge, co-founded with his friend Andy Miller, "We are trying to promote the music scene and record video with different bands coming into town."

Satellite Voices: What’s the story with "Shanghai 5" - did you know which skaters you were going to feature? do you feel that it’s a snapshot of a certain time when things are changing?
Charles Lanceplaine: By living in Europe I grew up having a pretty negative view about China because media always cover the same type of stories about China like economic growth or human rights violation, but when I got here and saw the skate scene and all those passionate kids it somehow clicked.

Since then I wanted to show the rest of the world how it is to live here. Things have been changing so fast here for the past three years, more brands have gotten involved in the skate industry, there are more and more skaters and I think "Shanghai 5" is a snapshot of this turning point in the skate industry and scene in Shanghai. Things have changed so much since this video came out. All the skaters featured in the video are my friends, so it was fairly easy to convince them about being a part of it and I think the persons interviewed in the video really represent the skate scene and they are the ones pushing it in China.
SV: what inspires you about the scene in Shanghai?
Charles Lanceplaine: Almost everything is possible here. It’s fairly easy to get things done with just some friends and a bit of motivation, a lot needs to be done especially in the domain of art, because one problem about Shanghai is that only really a handful of people make things happening in here, the rest are more interested in making money or being hype.
SV: Are there any skateboard filmmakers that you’re into?
Charles Lanceplaine: I am really into filmmakers like Ty Evans and Spike Jonze. Those guys have always been pushing it and bringing new trends in terms of filmmaking. I really like their cinematic way of filming skateboarding.

SV: Who would you recommend in Shanghai with regards to art and music?
Charles Lanceplaine: When it comes to photography I would recommend Benoit Florencon. He has been shooting a lot of hip hop, underground artists coming to Shanghai, I really like his raw style and the grimmy colours he uses. Other than that the guys at IdleBeats are doing a really good job as well. They are currently making the illustrations for our videos on "Dabaoge".
SV: What projects are coming next?
Charles Lanceplaine: In the next couple of months I want to keep on shooting more music videos for Dabaoge. I also plan on making more collabs with Keflione in the near future.

Portrait photography by Alexander Hwang
Stills from "Shanghai 5"

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