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. W

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 lived with nomad families helping to take care of their goats, horses and kids. We trekked by horseback across 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 indigenous Tay people. We worked with kids at Circle Time with Attention Deficit Disorder, in hospitals and a Buddhist monastery. In the Phillipines we were sponsored by Scandi Divers Resort to train from novice divers right up to certified PADI Dive Masters: all set to help marine conservation as professional scuba divers! In Puerto Galera we also made an eco-arts project with 80 local primary school children!

In Indonesia 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 Papuan kids who are spreading the word about marine conservation to other kids around the world through a virtual message-in-a-bottle – watch this space! 

We crossed Hong Kong, Macau, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand where we made a film for 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 community. In Jaipur we helped a local charity that empowers girls from the slums to pursue a classical Indian dance career.

In Nepal we made a film for 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. Here, we also organised and filmed the 1st ever yoga flashmob in Thamel the heart of Kathmandu.  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 after the earthquake devastations. 

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 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 while we plan new projects globally.

Our filming is realized with awe-inspiring aerial shots of land and sea-scapes with the help of our brand new drone a DJI Mavic – compact so perfect for people with wanderlust!

We are also 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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Datong

Datong - on the border of Inner Mongolia - was our first stop arriving in China on our Trans-Siberian train journey. What an incredible experience arriving in this magical place, home to the Yungang Grottes where 1,000s of Buddhas are carved into caves. Here you can also see the Nine Dragon Wall, Wooden Pagoda, Hanging Temple and many other delights!

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Beijing

The capital city Beijing is China's political, economic, and cultural center. Beijing was our final stop on the Trans-Siberia/Mongolia train journey. This magical city is home to an array of historical and modern sites. From here you can visit The Great Wall, The Forbidden City, Tianamen Square, Temple of Heaven, the famous Hutongs, Longhe Yamasery and not forgetting the famous olympic Bird's Nest Stadium.

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Chengdu

If you love pandas like we do on Planet Hero then you will love Chengdu: the famous home of giant pandas! Located in the west of Sichuan Basin - also known as the Heavenly State, it's a place rich with natural resources. Giant pandas love to spend their time climbing trees, eating bamboo, or resting. They are usually solitary animals who use scent markers to avoid one another. If you are in Chengdu then it's a must to visit Leshan - the biggest stone carved Buddha in the world. A UNESCO site begun in 713 during the Tang Dynasty, finished in 803, the statue took people over 90 years to carve. Thousands of workers helped in the construction of this great Buddha. Seeing is believing!

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Fenghuang

Fènghuáng is a truly magical city to visit in China. Her protective walls were built during the Ming dynasty. Fènghuáng is a breathtaking riverside settlement replete with ancient temples, winding alleys and stilt houses. Here you can see the Miao culture dressed in their beautiful costumes and attire. We were lucky to witness a festival here.

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Leshan

It's a must to visit Leshan, home to the biggest stone carved Buddha in the world. It's a a UNESCO site begun in 713 during the Tang Dynasty, and finished in 803; the statue took people over 90 years to carve. Thousands of workers helped in the construction of this great Buddha. Seeing is believing!

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Pingyao

The grand Pingyao Old City, was constructed one thousand years ago. Pingyao is an extremely quaint and fascinating place to visit. Walking, or cycling, through the ancient Ming and Qing Streets of this walled city you will be in awe for sure!

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Xi’an

Xi'an is a fascinating walled city located in central-northwest China and an important economic, cultural, industrial and educational center of the central-northwest region. It was known as Chang'an (the eternal city) in ancient times. Xi'an's history goes back more than 3,000 years and it is home to the famous Terracotta Army, constructed to accompnay the China's First Emperor into the afterlife. The Army is considered to be one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world.

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Yangshuo

The Li River snakes its way through Yangshuo - in the southwest of Guilin - and adorns her with breathtaking beauty in one of the most incredible sceneries in China, with over 1,400 years of history. You can enjoy a ride on a bamboo raft down this magnificent river and cycle back to the starting point through the astonishing scenery.

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Zhangiagie

Zhangjiajie City is on the northwestern border of Hunan Province and its surrounding landscape is famous for inspiring the film Avatar. The mountains and terrain are jaw-dropping, showing Mother Nature in all her beauty - mountains, caves, forest, lakes and waterfalls. Unfortunately the Chinese have taken it upon themselves to plonk a McDonalds restaurant slap-bang on the peak of this breath-taking mountain range considered to be Mother Nature's Oxygen Bar.

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Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar is the capital city of Mongolia with a population of 1.3 million and where most Mongolians live. It was a Mongolia stop on the Trans-Mongolian train journey. Here we stayed with Sunpath Tours who would guide us round the rest of Mongolia; including the Gobi Desert. Sunpath is an affordable and wonderful way to see Mongolia. They took great care of us and even catered for Hester's vegetarian palate! There are lots of interesting sites to see in this great city such as: Chinggis Khan Square, Zaisan Memorial, Gandan Monastery and several museums including The Mongolia Museum of Art and The National Museum of Mongolia.

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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!)