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New Stories of Chinese Culture Told by Young Film Makers from all over the World

July 25, 2017 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

The 2017 “Looking China Youth Film Project” screening ceremony was held on July 21 at Beijing Normal University’s Jingshi Academy. Attending were 36 young filmmakers from 12 countries.

The 17-day Looking China 2017 project brought together 103 aspiring filmmakers from around the world. None had ever been to China before. With the assistance of local college students, they experienced China and, through their lenses, presented a unique image of the country to the world.

Looking China‘s aim is to build a platform of communication and dialogue for promoting Chinese culture by means of filmmaking. Young people from every corner of the world are invited to explore different Chinese cities, where they discover the local culture, meet the people, and witness how China is changing.

Looking China‘s theme this year was “Craftsmanship, Inheritance, Innovation”. From the high-speed railway in Shanghai to the dragon boat craftsmen on the Miluo Riveran unmanned aerial vehicle manufacturer in Shenzhento the pearlescent porcelain of Fujianeach young filmmaker chose their subject for a 10-minute documentary showcasing Chinese civilization, from the traditional handicrafts to the latest cutting-edge technology.

Over the past six years since its inception, Looking China has gained considerable influence worldwide. Ritika Poddar, a student from the Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute in India who made the film The Mask Opera in Guiyang in 2015, describes the experience as wonderful and China as a beautiful country which is very similar to her own. By contrast, Yinon Beeri, a student from Tel Aviv University in Israel who visited Ordos in 2016 and made Tana, the Girl from Kangbashi, found everything to be very different from home. He says he enjoyed a very special experience in China as he was able to experience the country in an artistic way. Marcella Forster from the University of Lincoln in the UK comments that Looking China “led us to discover the similarities and differences in our cultures and philosophies, and we learned new ways of seeing the world.” As for Professor Andrijana Stojkovicfrom Belgrade University of Arts, Serbia, she stated that Looking China was “for sure one of the events that were giving life-changing experiences to all of its participants — both international and Chinese.”

The “Looking China Youth Film Project” is a cultural experience programme sponsored by the Huilin Foundation and hosted by the Academy for International Communication of Chinese Culture. Since its launch in 2011, the annual programme has been participated in by 405 young international filmmakers from 48 countries, including the US, the UK, FranceCanada and Israel, who have visited 23 regions of China. With the support and assistance of teachers and students at the local partner universities, the programme has produced 404 short documentaries and won over 50 international awards. The ancient city gates, the traditional craftsmen and the kite-flying enthusiasts of Beijing, The Liuyang Fireworks, the Flower Drum Opera and ancient book restoration in Hunan Province,Errenzhuan, Manchu folk arts and the Korean hotpot of Yanbian in Northeast China, The Shanxi Opera, Lanzhoubeef noodles and sheepskin rafts of the Northwest and the folk customs of many other areas. Their works tell everything about China.

Looking China‘s official Facebook page has over 100,000 followers, and in the course of the past month it has been accessed by over a million people, generating more than 56,000 responses. Between June 1 and July 10Looking China‘s official YouTube channel was viewed more than 140,000 times.

Each year, Looking China has a different theme. In 2016 it was “Charm, Ethnic, Culture”, with the focus on the connection and diversity of China’s multiple ethnic groups, as seen through the eyes and cameras of young people from around the world. In 2015, the theme “Individual, Family, Country”, highlighted the importance of family and motherland in Chinese culture. The 2014 theme was “The City, The People, The Culture”.

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