about-brooklyn

About Planet Hero

We are professional film makers and photographers helping to create a better world!

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In October 2015 we set off on an awesome expedition to travel over 60,000 miles across 20 countries.

En route we have been facilitating socially engaged film-making, art, photography, meditation, and eco-projects with children and animal conservation; reaching out to underserved communities. We have helped over 1,000 children and 20 communities along the way!

From London to Moscow we took the Trans-Siberian railway to Beijing. In Mongolia we worked with nomad families helping to take care of their goats, horses and kids. We trekked by horseback on the Gobi dessert, slept in Yurt tents in Mongolia and sampled the delights of Russian cuisine! We lost our first Drone ‘George’ in Lake Baikal when he decided to crash land 1,000’s of meters below in the freezing waters! 

In China we ran art and photography workshops with children as part of the Children’s International Art Festival. In Vietnam we helped YESD Organisation with their Responsible Tourism projects, empowering disadvantaged youth, and the indigneous Tay people. We also worked with kids at Circle Time with Attention Deficit Disorder, in hospitals and a monastery. In the Phillipines we were sponsored by Scandi Divers Resort to train for our Open Water & Advanced Dive Certificates then invited back to train as Certified PADI Dive Masters: all set to help marine conservation as professional scuba divers! In Puerto Galera we also made an arts project with 80 local primary school children!

We travelled in Bali & Indonesia where we worked with Trash Hero to help keep the world clean and combat plastic pollution. In Raja Ampat, West Papua we helped Barefoot Conservation to monitor manta rays and protect the most diverse and concentrated marine life in the world as well as educating the local kids. We started our international participatory art project Message Me with local kids who are spreading the word about marine conservation to other kids around the world. 

We crossed Hong Kong, Macau, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand where we have been working with Daughters Rising to help empower women and promote the first business ‘Chai Lai Sisters’ ever run by indigenous Burmese Karen women in Thailand and prevent human trafficking. With Chai Lai Orchid we also helped to promote kindness and better lives for elephants exploited by tourism.

After this we helped kids, the sick, homeless and elderly in Myanmar at the Tha Bar Wa Meditation Centre. In India we worked with Goa Outreach to teach filmmaking to street and slum kids, and with Tat Saraasa Spa & Resort  in Udaipur to teach photography & filmmaking to kids in the local underserved community. The word ‘TatSaraasa’ is derived from Sanskrit and means – that which is calm, serene and beautiful. In Jaipur we helped a local charity that empowers girls from the slums to pursue a classical Indian dance career.

In Nepal we helped Nepal Yoga Academy where Hester trained as a Yoga Instructor certified by the USA Yoga Alliance, to promote the yoga love to kids (and adults!) to help make our world a better place.  We are also helping to promote a young social enterprise called The Little Buddha Project in Pokhara, Nepal, who are building a community to help the poor, homeless and vulnerable. We climb mountains and volcanoes, traverse jungles and ancient ruins: to feedback content, engage and hopefully inspire others who love to travel, volunteer and give something back to local communities.

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After Nepal we spent some more time in the Philippines helping Stairway Foundation to make some promotional videos about the great work they do to prevent child abuse and pedophilia globally and the rehabilitation of street kids.  

Right now we are back in the Big Smoke – London Town! We are currently looking for opportunities here to help kids from underserved communities and environmental projects in our homeland so please watch this space!

Our filming is realized with awe-inspiring aerial shots of land and sea-scapes with the help of our third drone who we have named Brian: after a fantastic storyteller we met on our journey!

We are also now ambassadors of Visit.org so are looking forward to volunteering on some amazing projects here in the UK! Visit.org make socially conscious travel easy, fun, and accessible; to enhance the mission of great social organizations around the world.

 

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What Could Be Better Than Helping to Build a Better World?
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A man needs to travel. By his own means, not by stories, images, books or TV. By his own, with his eyes and feet, to understand what he is. To some day plant his own trees and give them some value. To know the cold to enjoy the heat. To feel the distance and lack of shelter to be well under his own ceiling. A man needs to travel to places he doesn’t know to break this arrogance that makes us see the world as we imagine it, and not simply as it is or may be. That makes us teachers and doctors of what we have never seen, when we should just be learners, and simply go see it.

-Amyr Klink
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Moscow

On October 8th 2015 Planet Hero landed in magical Moscow and so there world trip began! Moscow is an amazing city, rich in culture and the arts. From the Red Square and mausoleum - which houses Lenin's body on view to the public - to the iconic cathedral, Gorki park, Moscow State University, we saw and experienced so much; but there is so much more to feast the eyes upon!

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Handmade Project Moscow

In Moscow Planet Hero worked with Handmade Charity and Le Pain to help improve the lives of children with Special Educational Needs through creative hands-on activities and a fun party!

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Novosibirsk

Novosibirsk, the third largest city in Russia, was the third stop on our Trans-Siberian train adventure! Here we learnt the art of Russian karaoke with our Russian sister Shel who helped us discover delicious Russian delicacies including vegetarian options!

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Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg was the second stop on our Trans-Siberian train journey! We had our first experience of 'couch surfing' here with a very beautiful Russian/Venezuelan family here! A visit to the Church on the Blood, and a stroll in Victory Park, we also admired the view of this great city and beyond from its tallest observation point: on the 52nd floor of Vysotsky. There is a lot to see and discover here; opera, dinner on top of the city's tallest building, museum, Red Line Walking Tour, and much more!

 

 

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Lake Baikal

Staying at Listvyanka by Lake Baikal - our fourth stop via Irkutz on our Trans-Siberian train journey - was a welcomed retreat. It's so peaceful and the natural beauty is astounding. We spent a few days here, trekking on horseback, walking and relaxing by the lake. Sadly, our first drone crash landed in the water and sunk to the bottom 1,000's of meters down below!

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Gobi Desert

Our 10 day journey through the Gobi desert was an adventure of a lifetime and one of the highlights of our world trip! We lived with several different nomad families and in camps, traveling on horseback, and by the 'loaf' van. We got to meet the most amazing families and their kids who are so hospitable. So we helped the kids to learn English and with their daily life; with grandmas, animals and playtime! The life of a nomad is not easy, no toilets, showers, or creature comforts. But the landscape and nature is unrivalled! Have a look at some of our photos we hope they inspire you to visit Mongolia! Videos & blog posts coming soon :)

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Vietnam

It wasn't our original plan but we ended up spending almost two months in Vietnam as two great projects came up helping responsible tourism, disadvantaged youth, and preserving the cultures of the indigenous tribes in the north. As well as teaching art and filmmaking to kids with Attention Deficit Disorder in Hanoi. So we got to travel all over the north and then down to Saigon and Phu Quoc. It was freezing in the north so we picked the wrong season in December-January but soon warmed up on the beautiful beaches down south: which we shared with some cows!

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Responsible Tourism in Vietnam

YESD is an organisation in Hanoi. We made photographs and films to help further their cause employing and training disadvantaged youth to promote responsible tourism in north Vietnam and help preserve the cultures of indigenous Tay people in Ha Giang and Saba.

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Circle Time Play Studio Hanoi

Working with Circle Time Play Studio for several weeks we ran art and filmmaking workshops with kids in the studio, schools, a hospital and monastery; helping kids with Attention Deficit Disorder and from underserved communities. The kids loved the filmmaking workshop in which they wrote, directed, filmed, designed and produced a short video and also flew the drone camera (with Roni's help!). In the art workshops they made collage based self portraits with Hester: proudly displayed on the studio walls!

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The Philippines

It's more fun in The Philippines! We loved it so much there we went back! We passed through Manila, the main transport hub of The Philippines which is nothing to write home about; unless you like seedy nightlife. We spent most of our time in Puerto Galera on Mindoro island with Scandi Divers Resort learning how to scuba dive in some of the most beautiful dive sites in the world. So most of our time was spent underwater! Also, we visited Pan Dan Island at Apo Reef, another amazing place to dive in with reef sharks and sea turtles!

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Scandi Divers Puerto Galera

One week turned into several weeks at Scandi Dive Resort as we found it so hard to leave! It's truly a 'home away from home' with such great staff + instructors.
They sponsored us for our PADI scuba diver training right up to Divemasters! We also realised Part II of our 'Message Me' film project working with kids in a local school to educate them about marine conservation: sending messages to kids around the world as a message in a plastic bottle (recycled after!)

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Indonesia

Indonesia is such an incredible country we went there twice! We explored the underwater world of Raja Ampat and Komodo where we swam with sharks and manta rays and almost got chased by a Komodo dragon! We watched the sunrise over Borobudur in Java, one of the most sacred sites of Buddhism in the world, and saw the famous fire dancers of Bali. Monkeys galore tried to rob us too! There is such a diversity of culture and natural beauty we highly recommend exploring this amazing country if you have the chance!

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Bali

We got addicted to Bali! Its magnetic charm zapped us back on a number of occasions. Although it's quite touristy there are many places to visit off the beaten track, such as Balangan, a surfer's beach in the south with with rock pools to bathe in as you watch the most beautiful sunset, and bamboo huts right on the shore. We visited the sacred monkey forest in Ubud, a spiritual sanctuary, and saw Balinese fire dancers with the sunsetting over the sea behind at Uluwatu Temple. Sanur, Seminyak and Kuta are more touristy, the former two being more agreeable to us older ones, and Kuta apparently more appealing to the youngsters!

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Barefoot – Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat in West Papua, Indonesia is the most diverse and concentrated area of marine life on the planet. We worked with Barefoot Conservation to help marine conservation and educate the local children on the remote island of Arborek and surrounding islands. There are 120 inhabitants on Arborek and 70 are children under age 12. There is no fresh water or electricity but life is sweet! Every day we scuba dived and helped monitor manta ray migration and other important scientific projects to conserve this important eco-system. It was a life changing experience we highly recommend!

 

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Blue Marlin Dive Komodo

Blue Marlin Dive Komodo sponsored us to stay 8 nights with them, scuba dive with manta rays, hang out with Komodo dragons and learn to breathe with Nitrox Enriched Air underwater! What an amazing experience! You can see a selection of photos and video we made below...

 

 

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Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta is another magical place - it's main attraction being the famous Buddhist temple Borobudur which we visited at sunrise. It wasn't very clear but still very atmospheric nevertheless with misty / cloudy skies to give a different edge to our photos! Meditating here was certainly refreshing and if you peak inside the stupors you can see many of the Buddha statues inside still intact. Yogyakarta is a big city, with lots of nice cafes, restaurants, arts and culture to cater for travellers and tourists.

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Cambodia

In Cambodia we saw mainly the city sites of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and learnt about the tragic and shocking history of this beautiful country. We got to 'live like a local' and spent time with Cambodia kids in the countryside, playing under the water sprinkler and in the fields, teaching them English, photography and how to be a drone pilot! Such kind and beautiful people! We have yet to explore the amazing beaches - so will definitely return!

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Phnom Penh

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Siem Reap

Siem Reap was well worth the visit to see Angkor Wat one of the most important, ancient Buddhist temples in the world. But one day there was definitely enough! It was hot, sticky, and jam packed with tourists! By great fortune we met an Australian / Cambodian couple who took us on a day trip to their village where they are starting an responsible tourism organisation so tourists can 'live like a local'. Here we made them a promo film and played with the kids and taught them some photography skills!