Filmmakers from Canada visit Beijing
International exposure for 11 young filmmakers was the central theme of an exchange visit by participants of the Vancouver-based Golden Panda North America International Short Film Festival to China’s elite Beijing Film Academy on Wednesday.
The visit marked the opening of the 2016 Golden Panda International Filmmakers Cultural Immersion Trip, an annual experience awarded to winners of the previous year’s Golden Panda Festival, as well as a select number of festival judges and other participants.
Now in its third year, this year’s trip took its delegates on a seven-day, allexpenses-paid tour of China’s capital.
The BFA visit was intended to showcase the talent and resources of China’s young filmmakers to the international filmmaking community, as well as allow Chinese film students to find inspiration from international colleagues on potential career paths.
“We want to use this collaboration with Golden Panda to show our students and faculty the achievements of international filmmakers and where we still need to improve,” said BFA Principal Zhang Huijun in a speech welcoming the delegates to the school. “To be able to host an exchange here signifies advancement for our school.”
The Golden Panda delegation began their visit by touring BFA’s campus facilities, including an animation workshop, a state-of-the-art soundrecording stage and a crowd-pleasing virtual-reality gaming room, all available for BFA students of all levels to use at no extra cost.
Following the tour, all eight winning entries of the 2015 Golden Panda Festival were screened to an audience of BFA students, faculty and other film enthusiasts, who participated in a Q&A session with the filmmakers and other delegates after the screening.
Both students and Golden Panda delegates contributed ideas about the elements that enable a film to communicate across linguistic and cultural barriers. Each delegate was also asked by students to describe how they got their start in filmmaking.
“It’s humbling when I see someone that doesn’t speak the same language I speak, but that walks up to me and is affected by something that came through me and that I created,” American actor and screenwriter Gabriel Furman, whose film Mother’s Day won a Golden Panda Special Jury Award, told China Daily.
This year’s Golden Panda delegation includes two natives of British Columbia: director Iris Moore of Victoria, whose film Seeking Wing won the Golden Panda Best Animated Film award, and Vancouver-based model and actress Alexandria Kayy.
The third Canadian delegate is festival judge Christopher Lane, professor and coordinator of the Toronto Film School film production program.
Lane believes that the cultural immersion trip could be a good first step for young Canadian filmmakers and film students to seek further collaboration with their Chinese counterparts.
“I would be happy to have some sort of cultural exchange -- I think my students [at the Toronto Film School] would benefit greatly from the Beijing Film Academy, and their students would learn a lot from us,” Lane told China Daily. “Also, I would like to see co-productions [between] people of both countries, as the artist in me is fascinated by drawing from different experiences.”
The Golden Panda North America International Short Film Festival holds an award ceremony annually in Richmond and is co-presented by China Network Television (CNTV), CNTVNA.com and Vancouver’s Orient Star Media Inc.