This Video Shows Guangzhou like You've Never Seen It Before

By Matthew Bossons, January 23, 2018

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Mohamed Elsayed really loves Guangzhou. An Egyptian national, Elsayed arrived in China in 2001, a few months after his 15th birthday, and has called the Pearl River Delta home ever since. 

Last month, Elsayed reached out to That’s about a video series he has been planning, writing, filming and editing over the past several years. Titled 020 – The Key to Guangzhou, the project combines Elsayed’s love of Guangzhou, storytelling, filmmaking and drone videography.

Even if you’re unfamiliar with Elsayed’s name, you may have seen his work. Little Junior’s music video for the song ‘Accolades,’ for instance, was filmed atop Guangzhou’s Crowne Plaza City Center and features some slick choreography and badass drone footage – aerial scenes captured by none other than Elsayed.

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That’s was privy to a sneak peek of the first webisode of 020 – The Key to Guangzhou earlier this month and we must admit: it’s impressive. Stunning shots of Guangzhou’s evolving cityscape are coupled with Elsayed’s passionate narration, making the video an enjoyable watch for locals and expats as well as anyone abroad who’s curious about Canton.

Today we are happy to announce that the video is online and ready for viewing at the bottom of this story. But first, we chat with the man behind 020 to find out more about his inspirations, dreams and concept behind the series. 

What inspired you to start capturing video of Guangzhou?
What inspired me is that I’ve witnessed most Chinese cities, specifically Guangzhou and other nearby cities, are booming like no other city ever has. As I’ve grown up in Guangzhou, I’ve witnessed the city grow from the ground up, with all its infrastructure developing according to the latest technologies. There are thousands of accomplishments and success stories by my Chinese brothers and sisters and I think it’s time to share these stories with the world.

When did you get into drone photography?
How I got into drone photography is an interesting story. I had a dream that started coming to me repeatedly about four years ago. In this dream I saw myself flying over buildings, like Superman, and in the dream Guangzhou was always the location. 

In the beginning, I didn’t understand the message but the dream kept coming back until I connected this dream to drones. I had my first [drone] flight around three years ago and the dream has never come back since. I guess it’s not needed anymore, I’ve got the message and have been flying almost every day since. 

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Tell us a bit about your current project: what inspired you to profile Guangzhou?
My current project is called 020. I chose these three numbers as the name of the show because these are the numbers you dial to call Guangzhou from any place in China and the world. Simply put, the show holds the same idea, to make connections between my city and the whole world by sharing important information and developing the biggest archive of Guangzhou footage available on the web in English. 

You take a very positive look at the city and it is clear that you love being here. What is your favorite thing about Canton?
My favorite thing about China and about Canton is definitely the people. They’re very open and warm and accepting of others, I’ve never felt I’m a foreigner in China – especially in Guangzhou. Wherever I go filming or flying my drone, everyone in the street is happy and helpful and that’s what makes me keep up with my Cantonese lessons. I hope by the end of 2018, my [Cantonese] level is enough to have a decent conversation with any local.  

In your first video, you profile the Canton Tower Metro Station during one segment. Can you tell us which station you’ll highlight in the next video?
In my second video, I will feature a station in the older part of town. I’m still choosing between Beijing Lu, Donghu or Guangzhou Railway Station.

What do you hope viewers will take away from your videos?
I hope my videos of a beautiful city in China called Guangzhou inspire the whole world. There’s great things happening here everyday and it’s time for the world to learn from Guangzhou. I hope this can be a seed to the first real talk show that represents Guangzhou to the world.  

Watch the first webisode of 020 – The Key to Guangzhou below (VPN off):


Outside China? Watch on YouTube.

READ MORE: China's Drone Photographers Capture Breathtaking Aerial Images

[Images via Mohamed Elsayed] 

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