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GPIFF connects global filmmakers through week-long journey to China

Vancouver, Canada – Eleven filmmakers from worldwide joined the 2017 Vancouver Golden Panda International Film Festival (GPIFF) Cultural Immersion Trip to the historic city of Xi’an, China from April 8 – 14, 2017. Once the starting point of the worldly renowned Silk Road and a melting pot of diverse cultures and identities, Xi’an makes the perfect destination for international filmmakers to have a glimpse of both China’s rich history and modernization.

Organized by GPIFF Committee, CCTV.COM, Orient Star Media, and Xi’an Qujiang Film & TV Investment Group, the 2017 Cultural Immersion Trip offers a rare opportunity for international filmmakers to have a closer look at China’s burgeoning film industry while exploring cultural heritages of different parts of China.

Part of the 2017 Vancouver Golden Panda International Film Festival (GPIFF) Cultural Immersion Trip to Xi’an, the GPIFF award-winning film campus screening event held at Chang’an University on April 10 presented three award-winning films from previous year’s festival to more than 300 students and faculties.

Children’s Song, the 2016 GPIFF Special Jury Recommendation Award-winning film was one of the three films played during the screening. Depicting a beautiful story of salvation and hope when more than 20,000 Jews emigrated to Shanghai during the Second World War seeking refuge, U.S. director Shayna Cohen said she was inspired by the beauty lying in countless common people during even the most devastating time.

“I truly believe that art transcends all boundaries and nationalities,” acclaimed Chinese screenwriter, professor at Chang’an University Yangqing Wei said after watching the film. “The three films we had tonight come from different countries and cultures, but they all managed to convey the humanistic spirit through their work, which touches upon our heart no matter our backgrounds.”

Moderated by Wei, the Q & A section following the screening saw some in-depth and thought-provoking discussions on global film industries.  

Canadian producer, president at Fast Productions Ltd Cheryl-Lee Fast has been working on China-Canada co-production projects for years.

“I think the biggest difference is the Chinese ability to continue to produce innovative film full of creativity and artistry. In the west our films are becoming all the same because we are more concerned with the marketing than the art form,” Canadian producer, president at Fast Productions Ltd, Cheryl-Lee Fast said.

With China as one of the fastest-growing film market in the world, the younger generation of Chinese filmmakers have especially drawn attention from the GPIFF delegation.

“The students are very passionate and excited and ready for any opportunity to learn,” Cohen said. “One of the biggest differences I saw was that the Chinese students are much more reactive (to the film). It’s really enjoyable to see their reactions as an audience.”

During the seven-day trip, the delegation also visited one of China’s major film studios, Western Movie Group, participated in the second annual Chinese Film Industry Week in Xi’an and connected with professionals from Xi’an Qujiang Film & TV Investment Group. China’s passionate and committed filmmaking talents and the booming industry have left a deep impression to the GPIFF delegation.

“We’re very proud that through GPIFF and the Cultural Immersion Trip, more global filmmakers can have a better idea of China’s ascending film industry and experience the culture first-hand,” Meilin Li, GPIFF production coordinator, said. “GPIFF will continue working to serve as a platform for emerging filmmakers to showcase their visions and talents and foster collaborations in film production between China and the West.”