In July – August 2020 an international Looking China Youth Film Project was organised

16 September 2020

It is the fourth year the students of the St.Petersburg State University of Film and Television have participated in Looking China Youth Film Project. Every year the participants of different countries visit China for 17 days to get introduced to the culture of China and make a film. The culture of China through the eyes of young filmmakers from all over the world this is the slogan of the Looking China programme. The programme is organised by the Academy for International Communication of Chinese Culture (AICCC) of the Beijing Normal University. The participants of different countries study the culture, traditions and the history of China and make a short documentary. Looking China Youth Film Project has been successfully organised since 2011.

This year the organisers had to make some adjustments due to the circumstances. But they decided not to cancel the project entirely but to organise it online. The theme of this year was ‘Farming, Family, Farmer’. The student participants were requested to make a 5-min mixed-media film (animation, graphics, typography, still photographs, painting, stock live action footage etc.)

The participants of Russia, India, Mexico, Ecuador and Israel made a virtual journey to the countryside of China. Every team consisted of 1-3 international students and 1 local Chinese student. The teams worked under the supervision of a professor – one of the supervisors of the project. Despite the limitations, this unique experience of distant cooperation allowed the participants to get bright impressions from the work.

Angelina Podchinyonova and Ksenia Mikhaylenko – the students of the St.Petersburg State University of Film and Television – shared their experience on participating in the project this year.

Angelina Podchinyonova: Looking China-2020 project gave my team from Russia and me not only bright impressions but also professional experience. We made a film, the story we loved with all our hearts. Our successes made us happier, and our failures disappointed us. This motivated us to move on. We met clever creative and intelligent people. Our supervisors led and supported us. During the work, we got stronger and have become closer friends. I am happy this experience gave us new knowledge and emotions. We learnt to work together, implement new technologies, and create while being away from each other. My team is satisfied with the result of the work. Looking China–2020 project unites people all over the world and gives an opportunity to create new media projects.

Ksenia Mikhaylenko: In July-August 2020, Angelina Podchinyonova and I participated in an international Looking China project. Due to the pandemic, we did not have a chance to make a film in China, and worked from our homes. It was an interesting experience, as we were to visualise an idea of a Chinese producer about a Rose farm. During the work, we got deeply involved with this touching family story, even though we were far away. We received the footage that our Chinese producer had made, and we were to enrich it through editing, graphics and animation to make a short film.

To let the audience empathise with the Rose farmers and their problemes that they had faced due to the pandemic, we decided on the expressive means to use during our video conferences. Together with the professor from India and the students from China we discussed the steps of the project, the materials, the final version we were slowly approaching to.

We definitely had some challenges because the locals of China, the Indian professor who had visited China once in his life, and two Russian students who had seen China on pictures only – we all had different views on the project, but in the end we listened to each other and made our film together!

It was an amazing experience, and now visiting China has become one of my life goals. While working on the project, I have fallen in love with this beautiful country.