Three ESCAC graduates have participated in Looking for China Youth Film Project, a cultural exchange programme for film students organised by the Academy for International Communication of Chinese Culture at Beijing Normal University.
The seventh edition welcomed more than 400 film students from all over the world, who travelled to China to experience local life, culture and to make several short films on this year’s theme; “Ecology, Biology and the Knowledge of Life”. You can watch them below.
Judith Carceller, Daniel Olmos and Bernat de Ferrer, the three ESCAC graduates who have travelled to China, tell us what “Looking China” has meant to them:
«Every day was a surprise and a new cultural impact, but without a doubt, what I remember most is what I experienced when I arrived at the filming location: KongjíaFang. It was a rural village lost in the middle of the mountains of China, 4 hours away from the city. Nobody had ever seen any westerners, so I would be the first. As I stepped out of the car and got out, all eyes turned to me. Every time I passed someone, they would stare at me and smile (they smiled a lot), many of them would come up to me to ask for a picture (and then come again to do the same with their respective relatives), they would touch my hair to check if I was real, they would even come to the room where I was sleeping and knock on the door to take more pictures. Everyone offered me their house to spend the night, or to share meals with them. So it was that every day I spent in a different house, sharing breakfasts, lunches and dinners with food I had never seen before and with new people who laughed when they heard me say the only thing I knew: «ShièShiè» (thank you).»Judith Carceller, graduate specialising in visual effects.
“When I was told I was going to Wuhan, I thought, “well, it’s neither Shanghai nor Beijing, so it will be a small Chinese village surrounded by trees where people move around on bicycles like in Zhang Yimou’s rural films”. I had yet to see it all. Wuhan turns out to be the biggest megalopolis I have ever seen, bigger than any European city, bigger than New York… from the top of the Yellow Crane Tower by the Yangtze River, you can take a 360-degree tour with nothing but skyscrapers on the horizon: it is “the infinite city”. But in this vast and alienating space, a constant reminder of our smallness and insignificance, there is, paradoxically, an intense community life: we eat food together from the same plate, drink beer together from the same jug, sing songs together at Karaoke, ride together in an assembly hall… and all these details of our experience reflect only a small part of the life of our Chinese companions, the most smiling people we could meet.» Daniel Olmos.
«What would be one of Europe’s largest metropolises is an unnoticed industrial city. This is China. Immensity. (…) Looking at China has been incredibly positive and surprising. Not only because of the culture and the experience of filming a documentary so far from home, but above all because of the people I’ve met. Three weeks goes by very quickly, but it’s amazing how intimate we’ve become with people we’ve never met before and from so many different places. The tireless Chinese students who accompanied every foreign student and who made us live their day to day life, guiding us, translating, and in short, taking care of us in a country that does not speak English. Xiao and Hu will not read this article, but they are two of the main reasons why this has been such a good experience. I leave the country itself with the feeling that I could live there for years and still not understand the hidden corners of the culture and language.» Bernat de Ferrer.