GoPro, better known for heart-pounding, first-person extreme sports videos, has been presenting a decidedly different side of itself recently. The latest documentary to be featured on the company’s official YouTube channel matches neither the fast pace nor pure visual beauty of, say, 61 wingsuiters flying in formation. It does, however, have a lot of heart.
You’ll Be My Arms, I’ll Be Your Eyes tells the story of Jia Haixia and Jia Wenqi, two Chinese men in their mid-50s who have been friends since childhood, and both of whom are now disabled as a result of separate accidents. Jia Wenqi lost both his arms at the age of three, after touching a live power line. Jia Haixia would lose his sight many years later, in 2000, in an explosion at the quarry where he worked. But despite their hardships, the two friends grew even closer, working together to accomplish daily tasks neither could do on his own.
To leave it at that, it would already be a touching story, but the two men wanted to do more than get by. As longtime residents of their village, they had experienced first hand the drastic environmental changes the land had suffered over time. Industrial pollution from the quarry ravaged the waterways, killing off fish, while filling the air with dust. So Wenqi and Haixia set off to plant trees. Beyond transforming their immediate landscape, the two men also hope to inspire younger generations to pick up their work, to leave the environment in a better condition than they found it.
The “brothers,” as the two men are now known, have planted over 10,000 trees and are gaining popular support for their efforts, despite resistance from from the businesses operating in the area. In an interview with the producers, GoPro reveals how several companies offered a large sum of money to the brothers to buy out their new forest. The offer was refused.
The documentary was shot entirely with GoPro Hero 4 cameras. It is a rare example of GoPro taking on a subject that celebrates heart and spirit over physical ability, and is perhaps the most touching video the company has ever produced. To support Jia Haixia and Jia Wenqui, head over to GoPro’s For a Cause page.