Cow-dung hot pot, being chased by the ‘tofu mafia’ and a penis-shaped mountain. What do they all have in common? They feature in Winston Sterzel’s just released documentary about a 15-day motorbike trip through southern China.
Sterzel has become the unofficial face of Shenzhen. Over about 10 years, Sterzel’s 661 YouTube videos—most about Shenzhen and life in China— have racked up more than 14 million views and earned him more than 76 thousand followers.
The 36-year-old South African’s latest project went live on Vimeo (vpn on) on August 17. Conquering Southern China documents a 15-day motorbike trip through five provinces and took about 10 months of editing.
The crew film in front of the phallic mount Danxia.
“It cost us quite a bit to get going—about RMB100,000, not including everyone’s time and effort,” said Sterzel.
The four episodes each clock in at about 25 minutes each and cost USD5.99 to stream for a week or USD10.99 to download.
“The coolest place was in Guizhou,” said Sterzel. “We ended up in this tiny little village where they were brewing baijiu in these decrepit old shacks.”
Mark Masterton, filmer and director of the documentary, films from the back of a car.
Sterzel said the friendliness of people in rural China impressed him, but not everything went smoothly.
“In Yunnan, on the last day of the trip, thieves broke into the car and stole some very expensive tripods we left in the backseat,” he said.
A terraced rice field in Yunnan.
Also traveling with Sterzel was China vlogger Matthew Tye, better known as C-Milk. Bringing up the rear were two British cameramen driven in a car by a Hong Konger dubbed ‘Crazy Eddy.’
“The only thing I regret about the trip is that we couldn’t have spent a longer time doing it,” said Sterzel.
See a preview of the four-episode adventure here (VPN off):
[Pictures by Crazy Eddy]