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Moving Picture: Dani Bautista

Dani Bautista is a young filmmaker based in Cebu, who discovered his talent with a camera through skateboarding. Growing up in Hong Kong and being involved with the tight-knit skate scene there, Dani started filming his friends with a camcorder that came with a DVD player his Dad bought. Getting more involved with skating led Dani to get a job at the world famous 8Five2 skateshop, where he started helping them with their sales. Over time, as Dani became more experienced with a camera, 8Five2 gave him the opportunity to begin filming for their team. Now in film school, Dani is branching out into more diverse filmmaking opportunities. He recently made a short clip called “Cruisin’ in Hong Kong” that got a lot of attention from people around the world.

Dani was kind enough to sit down with us and chat about his experience behind a camera and how skateboarding opened the doors to his career.

Can you tell us a little bit about where you are from?

I was born in Manila then moved to Hong Kong when I was 3 years old. I got into skateboarding when I was 8 because my elder brother did it. I was into a lot of things as a kid. I played basketball in high school and I also played music, but skateboarding was my main thing. The skate scene in Hong Kong is fairly small. Everyone knows each other and it’s well supported by the Hong Kong government. We have a lot of skate parks for a small place like ours but street skating can be a hassle because of the heavy security. China is only an hour away so people usually go there to skate street.

Shenzhen China trip montage from Dani Bautista on Vimeo.

How did you get into filming?

I got into filming because of skateboarding. Got my first camera when my dad bought a DVD player and it came with a free camcorder. I started filming my friends skating and I’ve never stopped. I’ve just picked better equipment along the way.

How has skating influenced your approach to filming?

My style is greatly influenced by the cinematography in skate videos even when I do documentaries and commercial work.

Livin it up ” A Cebu Skateboarding Montage” from Dani Bautista on Vimeo.

How has your approach to filming changed over the years?

I used to think I would just film skateboarding, but when it opened doors for me I had to adapt my style to other things. What I’ve learned from doing other kinds of work has in turn influenced the way I film skateboarding. Instead of just getting tricks on camera, I started to think more about the story I was telling.

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It seems like you’re involved with a lot of cool skate ventures – 8five2 skateshop being one – how did you get involved there?

After high school I worked on sales for 8Five2 Skateshop. When I got better at making skate videos, they hired me as their filmer. Later on they hooked me up with projects for Vans, Element, Supra, and etc. 8Five2 has become family to me. They opened up a lot of opportunities for me.    

Stefan Janoski Welcome Video from Dani Bautista on Vimeo.

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{Dani Chillin’ with Sefan Janoski}

Tell us a little bit about “Cruisin’ in Hong Kong” 

Originally I shot those clips for a Hong Kong Go Skateboarding Day teaser and re-edited it. I wanted to do a skate video with a chill vibe, something easier to digest that even non-skaters might enjoy.

Crusin in Hong Kong from Dani Bautista on Vimeo.

What are your long-term dreams with the camera? Think we’re ever going to see a feature-length film with Dani Bautista’s name on the cover?

I always loved films and skateboarding led me to discover that I had the ability to make them. Right now, I am in film school and it exposes me to other types of filmmaking. Currently I am doing commercial work and documentaries. I’d like to get into narratives and  I do plan on making a feature-length film in the future.

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Loudbasstard Commercial “From Our Hands to Yours” from Dani Bautista on Vimeo.

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