The 12 with Tian Macleod Ji


What were you doing when you were 17?

Just schmoping around and generally being a bit of a schmuck? Yeah, me too. However I'm pretty sure we were all doing that, right? Right guys!?!

Meet Tian MacLeod Ji. Born in Hong Kong and raised in the UK, Tian is a documentary filmmaker and all-round cool guy.

At the age of 17 he won 'Best Documentary' at the British Film Institute’s Future Film Festival for his film, A Soldier, and shortly thereafter became the inaugural recipient of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and Yip Foundation scholarship for postgraduate study in Hong Kong.

Since then, Tian has shot and directed several short films, including A Way of Life which won 'Best Documentary' at the London Lift-Off Film Festival in 2015.

Yikes, I wasted my youth!

I shot with Tian, where we bonded over David Brent, and I asked him THE 12 . . .

Tian MacLeod Ji BAFTA Hong Kong filmmaker Jo Lorenz blogger

Home city

Oxford, UK. Very different from HK!


Favourite city

Very tough and also there's so many I'd love to live in the future. I'll go with a direct split between London, HK and Beijing 


Define your personal style in three words

Keep it simple


Style icon

Probably Tony Leung's character in 'In The Mood for Love', such a stylish film!


Tian MacLeod Ji BAFTA Hong Kong filmmaker Jo Lorenz blogger

Words to live by

Being a big fan of comedy, I like 'humour is tragedy plus time'. With regards to filmmaking, I always remember what I was taught when I first started, 'kill your darlings' - don't hold on to shots just because you think they look good, only if they tell the story


What is your favourite aspect to making films

Generally my favourite moments will be right during filming, I might be running on no sleep in some far away place but if a scene comes together or something totally unexpected happens, it can be such a rewarding experience. That, and exporting the final cut of the film - not much beats those first few moments realising you've finished a project!


Three people you want at your dinner party and why

Werner Herzog because of the sheer craziness of his filmmaking, David Brent from The Office because I'm slightly obsessed with that show and it would be painfully hilarious, and then probably a friend to bring along and enjoy the show, and always good to dine with at least one person you know


Favourite drink

Fresh lime soda, on a hot day, with Thai food

Tian MacLeod Ji BAFTA Hong Kong filmmaker Jo Lorenz blogger

Favourite movie or book

Any novel by Paul Auster. I started reading him back in school but he's still one of my favourite writers. So many films! I'll go with Jumanji, as my 6 year old self still believes it's the best film ever


When you're not working, we'll find you . . .

Checking out some local music here, sampling the Thai food in Kowloon City where I live, or maybe watching a movie at the Cinematheque in Yau Ma Tei


And lastly, what is your advice for someone looking to get into filmmaking

I think the best thing for me was to just go out and make a short documentary. In HK there are so many subjects on your doorstep but there will always be reasons to not do something so just ignore them. Nowadays, getting equipment is much easier and you can enter film festivals anywhere in the world from your laptop so just go out there and do it!


Tian MacLeod Ji BAFTA Hong Kong filmmaker Jo Lorenz blogger



Tian was styled + photographed by me, dressed by The Armoury -