Academy gives student filmmakers a taste of China

Updated: 2013-07-20 07:24

By Katherine Rodriguez (China Daily)

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"I hope to gain friendship and the experience to touch another culture," says Wang Yashu, a student at Beijing Normal University. That's the common goal of 24 filmmakers from the US, France and China who have strived to capture Chinese culture in a 10-minute video.

For the third year in a row, the Academy for International Communication of Chinese Culture invited students from Boston University, Emory University, and Ecole Superieure de Realsation Audiovisuelle to partner with students from Beijing Normal University and Shanghai University in the "Looking China" DV Project.

The AICCC focuses on introducing and disseminating Chinese culture worldwide. Established by BNU and International Data Group, the academy uses art and research to spread awareness of Chinese culture.

Before they arrived, students from the US and France sent proposals that explained ideas they wanted to capture once they were in Beijing. Some topics included traditional Chinese medicine, education, sports and beauty.

"Every idea is interesting because they have never come to China and they can learn a culture," says coordinator Qian Qi of the academy.

Students from the US and France led the projects, while their Chinese partners served as translators. Boston University and Ecole Superieure de Realsation Audiovisuelle worked in Beijing with the Beijing Normal University students while Emory University worked in Shanghai with the Shanghai University students.

Academy gives student filmmakers a taste of China

Each video was required to be less than 10 minutes on the topic discussed in their proposals. A group of 51 professors and film critics voted on their favorite of the 24 films. On July 12, more than 80 people came for a screening of the best works at the China Film Archives.

First place went to The Philosophy of Tai Chi by Ecole Superieure de Realsation Audiovisuelle student Jules Mangiameli. The piece followed a tai chi master and the director's own reflection on how the philosophy of tai chi can apply to everyday life.

The second-place winners were We Study English by Boston University student Yongmyung Yi and Serenity in Shanghai by Emory University student Myles McCrary.

Third place went to The Wood Speaks by Boston University student Ian Reddick, Hands of China by Ecole Superieure de Realsation Audiovisuelle student Enora Loffet, and A School Day with Dong Dong by Boston University student Lynn Chandler.

"It was awesome. I really got to see things first-hand," says Chandler. Her film followed the daily life of a student in a kindergarten in Beijing. "I learned that I really want to do documentary filmmaking."

Although prizes were awarded only to a few, Boston University professor Sam Kauffman stresses that the program's purpose is not to win a contest, but for the chance to experience another culture.

"It's life-changing for them," says Kauffman. "This is the biggest challenge a filmmaker can ever have. At the same time they are having a wonderful experience."

China Daily

(China Daily 07/20/2013 page11)