Ling Ang is one bossed up super lady. Growing up on the Gold Coast on a diet of V and Rage, she honed a taste for film, anything from stylised music videos to documentary. Now predominantly a director based in Melbourne, she delves into the worlds of photography, music and fashion via her unique eye for the candid shot. She’s produced projects from Italy to Tokyo, Jodhpur to Paris, across America and Australia. Her work has been showcased in New York City, London and Sydney, and has worked with renowned documentary photographers.
We’ve been keeping tabs on this power pack of a lady for a while now, and we were lucky enough to pinch some time off her for a quick interview!
OP: Hi Ling, thanks so much chatting! You’ve been in the industry for a few years now, would you mind telling everyone a bit about how you got started in film?
LA: One of my earliest memories as a kid, was my Mum placing the potty in front of the TV. I grew up watching lots and lots of TV. Films, music videos and cartoons. However, it only started becoming a reality in 2009 when I did Film & TV at RMIT TAFE in Melbourne.
OP: You seem to have gone on some pretty insane adventures in your time, what’s the craziest experience you’ve ever had while filming?
LA: It was when I was 20 years old and I was flown over to India, by someone who I am now close with but at the time hardly knew, to be cinematographer on a feature length documentary. I only had a tripod, a little mic that attached to the top of my camera and a DSLR. On day 2 there were air strikes so our flights were delayed till much further notice. We didn't have time to waste so the next day, we got a driver to drive us cross country from New Delhi to Jodhpur. At one point on our road trip across the desert, there were all these people outside of their cars and buses just standing on the road all looking at something. As our car rolled up, they all started trying to open the doors and yelling at us. I couldn't understand what they were saying. When the car got further into the crowd, we noticed there had been a big car crash and it was the first time I had witnessed dead bodies, fresh from a wreckage. It shook me mentally and we hadn't even started our documentary yet. We were only at the beginning of this journey.
OP: Okay, so we’re having a serious moment over here watching your promo video for the Karaoke Party Singapore, which your good pal photographer Lenne Chai threw right? Where did you draw your inspiration for it? Do you find that you have a really specific style or aesthetic which you continually draw on in your films or is it completely dependent upon current inspiration and feels?
LA: Karaoke Party was Lenne's baby that she approached me with about this time last year. It was all my favourite things in one. Fashion, Music and karaoke. I couldn't resist. Lenne had all the ideas for the concepts of the films. I love being inspired by people's ideas and helping them bring it to fruition with my cinematography or any added direction. I think I have quite a distinct style, especially when it comes to shooting people. I feel like I'm always conveying my characters in films as dreamers. And even if you visually see pretty colours, flowers or the glistening sun, there's still a hint of melancholy there.
OP: You’re based in Melbourne currently but you spend a lot of time abroad. What are some of your favourite things about living in Melbourne? Any upcoming trips planned?
LA: I have travelled to so many places since I was a kid but Melbourne is my favourite city in the world. I think it has a lot to do with my access to venues with music that I love. I am addicted to dancing till early hours amidst strobes and smoke machines. Also the abundance of good food and babes working everywhere hahah. I am currently en route to London and will be around Europe for the next 2 months working on some projects.
OP: Your recent work seems to be quite fashion focused whereas previously we saw a lot of music and festival films. Do you have any plans to transition or do you enjoy dabbling in a few different genres at once?
LA: This digital age is constantly evolving and I think that is the great thing about our generation. We have choices and we can choose to make whatever we want. I grew up loving music videos and stylised films which has then translated into my accumulated work. Revisiting documentary seems again way more interesting to me, especially with the way my aesthetics and how I as a person have grown.
OP: Your Instagram is basically the coolest (@llcoolang), do you see platforms like these as new mediums in which you can creatively explore, or do you think that this type of media will ultimately have a negative impact the film making industry?
LA: I've been looking at Instagram as having a global exhibition for a moment in someone's newsfeed. Regardless of how many followers you have, don't you think that's a crazy idea? Being able to put whatever you curate, out there for everyone to see. It's a great platform to experiment with. It's also been such a big networking platform for anyone related to Fashion. I am one of many out there who have gotten jobs or found people to collaborate with through Instagram.
OP: The Film industry is widely seen as a male dominated one. Do you think that being a woman works in your favour or against it?
LA: 3 years ago I felt that being a woman in the industry was working way more against me. I had to harden up and step up as much as I could to combat any negativity thrown at me. In 2015 though...I feel that in most western countries, it is damn powerful being a woman.
OP: If you could collaborate with anyone in the world who would it be and what kind of film would you make?
LA: Ah!! So many people...One of them would be John Talabot. His album Fin is probably one of my most listened to albums. I'd get him to produce a score for some sort of seemingly hopeful film about someone's journey set in the near future that ends in tragedy.
OP: Any upcoming projects that we should know about?
LA: I'm working on a piece about the world of male modelling. Narrowed down to particular characters within them that may be dealing with gender identity, the changing perceptions on sexuality and challenging the overall stereotypes the wider audience has.
OP: Any stereotypes in film that bother you? If there was one thing you could clarify about your industry what would it be?
LA: Hahah when I was doing this director's masterclass in LA in 2012, this one lecturer/filmmaker said "Ling! You have such an advantage in the industry! You are Asian AND a female." I don't want to be succeeding because Asians or Female filmmakers are on trend to make waves. I am going to thrive in this industry because I am determined to do so.
OP: Thank you so much for talking to us Ling! We are seriously inspired by your bad-assery and can’t wait to watch you transform the Australian Film industry. Keep pumping out the goods girl, we can’t get enough!