Sino-Canadian young filmmakers get face-to-face

Updated: 2015-04-16 10:58

By MAYA LIU(China Daily USA)

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Sino-Canadian young filmmakers get face-to-face

Young filmmakers from the "Golden Panda" North American Filmmaker Cultural Immersion Trip group sat with students of the Guangdong Literature & Art Vocational College to watch the screening of award-winning shorts on April 3. Provided to China Daily.

A special trip brought a group of young filmmakers from Canada to China's Guangdong province to meet their counterparts face-to-face.

Members of the "Golden Panda" North American Filmmaker Cultural Immersion Trip visited the Guangdong Literature & Art Vocational College on April 3. Award-winning short films directed by some of the trip members were screened during the exchange session, followed by an enthusiastic Q&A session.

Guangdong Literature & Art Vocational College is known as the birthplace of new filmmaking talent and future film professionals in Southern China. Young filmmakers from China and Canada came together with open minds to better understand and appreciate each other's ideas, cultures and filmmaking techniques.

Especially since the two countries had proclaimed 2015-16 as the Canada-China Cultural Exchange Year, the exchange provided an invaluable opportunity for people-to-people exchange in the film industry.

Members of the trip were overwhelmed by the welcome they received. More than 200 students and professors crowded the lecture hall to hear their peers from the other side of the globe.

Li Ding, director of the college's television and film department, delivered a welcoming remarks to the young Canadian filmmakers. "Short film is an important subject of study at our college, and I am really glad that experienced filmmakers from North America are here today to interact with our students," he said.

"I hope there will be more exchange activities like this in the future, so that we can learn from each other and grow together," he added.

Jan Walls, president of the Canadian Society of Asian Arts and leader of the trip, called it a "very exciting interaction" with the "future filmmakers of Southern China".

"This is a big deal," he said. "I think we have a great chance of mutually beneficial career enhancement started here."

As an expert in Chinese art and culture, Walls believes that "China nowadays witnesses an unprecedented boom in its film industry, and filmmakers in China are eager to gain access to the Western market." By bringing Canadian filmmakers in contact with their Chinese counterparts, the cultural immersion trip definitely helped to "foster their mutual interest and understanding".

The Chinese film students asked knowledgeable questions from different angles - where they drew their inspiration from, how they brought storytelling techniques to filmmaking and whether their personal experiences influenced the themes of their works.

Bobo Zhao, a female filmmaker born in China and now based in Canada, linked her answer back to her unique multi-cultural background. "To me, making a film is about discovering the world," she said, "if you have an open mind and start to try to understand, there are a lot of similarities between cultures and it's easier for people to come together."

Another member of the visiting group, Collin Kortschak, said he was aware of the rare chance to connect with people "across such a big cultural gap."

"We get to have their opinions, and get to see what they think of film," Kortschak said.