Joe Evans, 34, a seasoned media producer, did a remarkable feat by making a TV show about after-hours nightlife around Asia at a time when most Asian nightlife was shut down.
The six-part docuseries not only touches the typical nightlife you’ve seen, but Evans and his team go more intimate and explored the stories of urban outsiders who don’t fit the nine-to-five mold.
Asia was already in the thick of its first wave of lockdowns when the shooting started, so location planning was to say difficult. Shooting large-scale mass events were out of the option, so their storytelling shifted to more intimate settings where they could have greater control over production safety.
The closing of so many borders forced Evans to remain partly grounded in Singapore and rely more heavily on his local directors and fixers, luckily it has been part of the original plan all along. To Evans, the pandemic didn’t give radical changes, rather, the additional local input made the show better
All the episodes have a certain amount of visual consistency: warmth, glowing cinematography, and an infatuation with evening drone shots over the city. More compelling touches come as local characters are introduced and eccentricities are revealed.
Like how local director, Kunal Kochhar, acquaints viewers with his city’s best late-night street food, enjoyed by call center workers ending their 3 am shifts in the Mumbai episode.
Evans admits the idea for the series is heavily influenced by him being a night owl.
“[I] like to go running in the middle of the night. That’s one reason why, in the Seoul episode, we featured the group of late-night city runners [who appreciate jogging in empty streets].”
Midnight Asia has featured stories from Tokyo, Mumbai, Seoul, Manila, Bangkok, and Taipei. He’s saving these more iconic Asian metropolises hopefully for the future.