It’s said that we’re all a product of our upbringing, and Alex Lau is no different. Before becoming the do-it-all director of cinematography that we know today, Lau was an intensely curious kid engulfed by no shortage of extracurricular activities in the pine-forested mountains of Arizona. Yes, that Arizona.
Lau grew up in Flagstaff, a northern Arizona mountain town complete with underappreciated Native American artists, purple-crystal mystics and bearded ski bums. The crystals alone sound like enough to keep a kid busy, but Lau also had the benefit of being raised in the restaurant business. For 40 years his family ran a Chinese-American restaurant conveniently located on the way to the Grand Canyon. The result? A strong work ethic, stronger knife skills and the tenacious curiosity that accompanies a lightly supervised childhood.
Proof, you say? How’s this for starters? Lau has studied martial arts in Beijing, filmed whale sharks underwater in Africa and documented President Obama in the map room of the White House. The photography-loving foodie has filmed on five continents, can speak a touch of Mandarin and is still holding out hope of one day owning an NBA franchise. Suffice to say, life as a long-suffering Phoenix Suns fan has inspired Alex to “grab the bull by the horns.”
Whether skiing through the Flagstaff mountains in a T-shirt, scouting his next continent (Antarctica) for untold stories or planning a bucket list trip to China with his father, Lau constantly seeks environments to change. Fitting, because his mantra, “be kind,” holds water in any climate. But more than anything, Lau is driven by pride for the family name. “My family had to struggle in America before they found some sense of security,” says Lau. “So I really owe it to them to make the most of my opportunities.”
So, what does Lau’s family think of OZY? “My dad is finally saying that I found a real job.”
Yeah, we think he can stay a while.