First One in the Water
2017 Immersive

First One in the Water

'First One in the Water' explores the duality of Raymond Kwong, the first Chinese-Canadian lifeguard in British Columbia, and his life on land and in water.

Length6 min. 5 sec.
DirectorKen Tsui


Pitch video


'First One in the Water' is a short-form documentary that dives deep into the aquatic life of Raymond Kwong, the first Chinese-Canadian lifeguard in British Columbia. Through linear and immersive video formats, 'First One in the Water' blends the duality of two worlds: The linear short documentary is set on land, exploring Kwong as a Chinese-Canadian pioneer with a youthful spirit housed in an aging frame. The immersive video takes audiences underwater with a visual metaphor of Kwong's ability to maintain originality within the structures of his environment and his thoughts on the grace of aging as he glides freely around the viewer with the vigour of his younger self.

The team

With a prolific background in producing award-winning creative stories, crafting VR experiences and brand building, the team is poised to capture the impact of Raymond Kwong's story and ensure that it's being discovered by audiences.

Profile picture of Ken Tsui
Ken TsuiDirector, Writer
Profile picture of Nathan Drillot
Nathan DrillotCamera Operator
Profile picture of Sean Arden
Sean ArdenCamera Operator


Interview Roster

Raymond Kwong as a Pioneer
Raymond Kwong as a Pioneer

Raymond Kwong is a 76 year old, Chinese-Canadian pioneer. Through interview, the audience learns the story behind how he became the first Chinese-Canadian life guard in British Columbia and the impact it's had on his perspective.

Raymond Kwong as a Swimmer
Raymond Kwong as a Swimmer

While having a youthful spirit, Kwong manifests his vigour physically underwater and continues to be a dynamic swimmer. The film will unpack how he has built a community around water and how it continues to be a key source of life.

Raymond Kwong as a Free Spirit
Raymond Kwong as a Free Spirit

Despite being 76 years old, Raymond Kwong is young at heart. 'First One in the Water' will explore his adventurous spirit and how he continues to subvert the expectations in his golden years. The film will explore various activities that express his open-minded eccentricities including modelling, stage acting and being a part of group dedicated to imitating aquatic animals.

Production Design

Interview with Kwong will be stylized partially in the pool and a studio environment.
The initial vision for the linear documentary film will prominently feature the surface of Kwong’s environs (textures of the pool and Kwong in the water in abstraction) filmed in slow motion to juxtapose the immersive component which will be set underwater.
With the linear documentary set predominately on the surface of the water, the immersive experience will be mostly underwater with Kwong and a group synchronized swimming performance paired to Kwong's voiceover and music score. Underwater becomes a metaphor for his lifelong independence and creativity. While the swimmers execute their routine Raymond will move freely around them providing his own "solo" performance. The viewer will be encouraged to fully explore the 360 degree frame in order to follow Raymond's performance as well as take in the immersive performance happening around him.