Filmmakers on high-speed ride
China’s high speed rail (HSR) technology was recently displayed to an international delegation of filmmakers touring Beijing to explore Chinese culture and network with China’s young filmmaking talent.
Members of the 2016 Golden Panda International Filmmakers Cultural Immersion Trip to China took a round trip on the Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Railway on April 2, completing the 276-kilometer (164-mile) journey in just 33 minutes.
As part of the trip, the Golden Panda delegation shot short videos recording their thoughts on Chinese railway development and their experiences traveling at the day’s maximum speed of 290 km/h (180 mph). Their videos will be shown on their own websites, media partner sites, social media and blogs back home.
At one point, they recreated a viral video on Chinese web portals in which a traveler was able to balance a coin on its thin edge aboard the HSR without it falling over.
“The design and engineering that went into the HSR is just mind-blowing,” said Christopher Lane, Golden Panda festival judge and Toronto Film Academy instructor. “It’s perfect form-meets-function, and in Canada you could sell this in a heartbeat: imagine going from Toronto to Montreal in less than two hours. That’d be fantastic.”
“This is my first time on a highspeed train. It’s something that should be available everywhere. We definitely need a train going from LA to New York,” said Dara Kell, a US-based South African documentary filmmaker whose film The Fighter won the 2015 Golden Panda Best Humanistic Vision Award. “It’s so much better than an airplane: You get to see the countryside and feel connected to the land, it’s more convenient, it feels safer, and it’s really, really fun.”
China’s HSR system, defined as any passenger train traveling at speeds exceeding 200 km/h (124 mph), began construction in 2004 and has the longest HSR network in the world as of 2016. The BeijingTianjin line went into service in 2008. HSR trains currently travel at a maximum speed of 350 km/h (217 mph), and journeys across China on the Beijing-Guangzhou and Shanghai-Chengdu lines average 300 km/h (186 mph) per trip.
The design and engineering that went into the HSR is just mindblowing. It’s perfect form-meets-function.”
“The trip organizers picked the HSR experience because it best represents the modern developments of China we want to showcase internationally,” Sandy You, executive member of the Golden Panda Trip committee, told China Daily. “Putting this experience together was also a cross-border effort with the Chinese and international sponsors and media partners we’re very grateful to work with, including China Daily.”
The Golden Panda Cultural Immersion Trip is an annual experience offered to winners and other participants in previous Golden Panda North America International Short Film Festivals. The cultural immersion offered to international travellers is on three fronts: experiencing the development of Chinese culture over thousands of years, understanding China’s modernization and reform, and fostering exchange among Chinese and international filmmakers.
In seven days from March 29 to April 4, travellers were introduced to modern China through experiences such as a visit to Beijing’s Olympic Green, exploring China’s national heritage sites such as the Forbidden City and traditional hutong neighbourhoods, and spending a day at the Beijing Film Academy with a screening of their films and Q&As with Chinese film faculty and students.
Golden Panda delegates take
a group photo in front of the high speed railway.
Delegates watch the speedometer excitedly as the speed reaches 290 km/h.