Introducing the inaugural issue of magazine Reeling Seasons created by the Vancouver Golden Panda International Film Festival and Orient Star Media. Published twice a year, the Summer Issue of Reeling Seasons captures moments from the annual Vancouver Golden Panda International Film Festival Cultural Immersion Trip to China. Click below to read more!
Produced by Orient Star Media and the Vancouver Golden Panda International Film Festival Committee, the feature documentary Eastward: Xi’an stitches together moments from the 2017 Vancouver Golden Panda International Film Festival Cultural Immersion Trip to Xi’an and takes the audience on a tour exploring the breathtaking natural beauty, splendid history and thriving modernization of the city.
The Starting Point of the Silk Road
The three-episode English-and-Mandarin-bilingual video series captures highlights from the week-long trip and gives a comprehensive look at Xi’an’s rich history and modernization.
Episode 1: Historical Capital
Episode 2: Creative Collisions
Episode 3: Burgeoning Metropolis
China Radio International (CRI) Vancouver studio has produced a special podcast for the 2017 Vancouver Golden Panda International Film Festival to capture the essence from this year’s trip to the historic city Xi’an.
Click on the link below to listen more:
A leading voice in Asia-focused research and studies in Canada, the Institute of Asian Research (IAR) and Centre for Chinese Research (CCR) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) together held the Canadian premiere of documentary Into the Silicon Valley North on April 12, 2017. Hundreds of esteemed scholars, local audience and media professionals attended the event.
Featuring four Vancouver-based Chinese millennial tech entrepreneurs, this documentary explores Vancouver’s burgeoning tech sector and brings a closer look to the roles international talents play in contributing to this fast-growing industry.
“The system in Canada is multiculturalism and welcoming people from different countries,” said Prof. Yves Tiberghien, director of IAR. “But above all, to leverage the positioning with their connection to China is good for Canada and Vancouver. So it’s a very exciting story.”
According to the 2016 annual report conducted by Canadian Bureau for International Education, Canada took in 353,000 international students in 2015, 34 per cent of whom came from China. Canada derives close to $8 billion annually from international student expenditures. More than 81,000 jobs were generated. Yet despite of all the economic boosts among other contributions, media exposures on international students and newcomers have oftentimes been rather negative and one-sided, Chinese immigrants in particular.
Concerned and frustrated by this phenomenon, Yuji Zhang, creative director from Metro Vancouver-based transcultural media agency Orient Star Media, felt a strong urge to tell the other side of the story, which prompted the production of Into the Silicon Valley North.
“The documentary is very likely the first project done focusing on tech entrepreneurs in British Columbia with immigrant backgrounds,” said Zhang. “Like many others, I first came to North America as an international student and have been through the journey searching for my true passion while working in the media industry.”
“Chinese immigrants set their foot on this land hundreds of years ago and have definitely had their ups and downs. By bringing out these vivid individual stories, my team wanted to showcase to a broader audience the accomplishments many Chinese immigrants have achieved through industrious hard works.”
With its unique perspective, in-depth research and comprehensive storyline, Into the Silicon Valley North successfully depicts the real life stories of Canadian entrepreneurs with immigrant backgrounds, which transcend language and cultural barriers and speak to audience from all walks of life.
“First and the most impressive aspect of this documentary really is the individual stories of each entrepreneur – the passion and honesty they put into this, the hardships they faced and the wisdom they felt. I’m impressed by each individual,” Prof. Tiberghien from UBC spoke highly of the documentary.
Originally from Romania, the stories of four young Chinese entrepreneurs also resonated with audience Lia Timis.
“The documentary has brought many segregated elements together. I was amazed by how well it was done,” said Timis. “It is very informative and I learnt quite a lot about the stories behind each entrepreneur, especially the ones carrying an immigrant background.”
Moderated by Prof. Tiberghien, executives from the tech start-ups featured in the documentary joined the after-screening panel discussion. Together, panellists and audience looked into the opportunities and challenges facing global creative talents in Canada, while decoding some of the stereotypes held towards international students and immigrants.
“It’s unfortunate that coverages on Chinese immigrants by mainstream media here in Canada are oftentimes on the negative side,” said Vancouver-based media professional, published columnist Ng Weng Hoong. “It’s part of the reasons why the general public has some wrong impressions of Chinese immigrants. I’m glad to see a documentary like this, which tells the other side of the story.”
When asked by the audience what’s their perception of Chinese tech companies being accused of “copying” western tech productions and brands, Vincent Yang, CEO of H+ Technology and one of the featured entrepreneurs in the documentary shared his insights.
“Yes there are a lot of companies (in China) are copying, especially the young start-up companies,” said Yang. “We need to share a lot of awareness around copyrights, but the reason (copying exists in China) is mostly due to the competitive environment. The industry is very tough for those small companies to survive… One of the ways to reduce the cost to start up a business therefore falls into trying to bring something that’s already established in foreign countries into China. You have to make your first bucket of gold, and then you can go further.”
Referring to one of China’s tech giants – Tencent, Yang pointed out that what differs Tencent from other copycat companies is that Tencent took advantage of existing technologies and worked on that base to further develop their products. Now, WeChat (developed by Tencent) is one of the most popular apps around the world.
Derek Chen, co-founder and president of Archiact, North America’s biggest researcher and developer in VR gaming market, seconded Yang’s view and remarked that as China has positioned itself for international establishment, which will require more Chinese companies to honour international industry patents and share global views if they want to success on an international level.
According to Canadian Bureau for International Education, more than half of international students currently studying in Canada expressed their willingness to apply for permanent residence upon graduation. These highly-skilled and well-educated talents have undoubtedly become one of the most essential driven forces to Canada’s continuous growth and future prosperity.
Because of its unique perspective, the documentary has earned much media attention, including Global News BC, CityTV, OMNI Television and many more. Zhang said she is glad to see that through Into the Silicon Valley North, audience are having a more comprehensive understanding of who these newcomers are and what they do to contribute to the society.
In an era with booming information, the role of media has never been more critical in terms of influencing and nurturing a community. For young media professionals like Zhang, the success of Into the Silicon Valley North marks only the starting point of a journey to bridge the gap between different societies and cultures. The future might be winding and challenging, but it sure is promising and will be rewarding.
OMNI TV’s Mandarin News interviews OSM’s Yuji Zhang, director of documentary Into the Silicon Valley North, and looks into the future of high-skilled Chinese Canadian entrepreneurs.
Organized by University of British Columbia’s Institute of Asian Research, premiere of Into the Silicon Valley North launches this April.
Join us for a night of thought-provoking screening and panel discussions accompanied by esteemed scholars and respected industry professionals.
OMS proudly announces our documentary Into the Silicon Valley North will be featured at University of British Columbia’s coming up event: Into the Silicon Valley North: Film Screening and Panel Discussion April 12, 2017.
Come join us for an afternoon of insightful discussion with established scholars and professionals on Vancouver’s tech sector, newcomers contribution to the city and meet the production crew behind this short documentary.
Hot off the press!
Don’t miss out the special issue for our 4th Golden Panda International Short Film Festival!
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The 4th Golden Panda International Short Film Festival (GPIFF) Awards Ceremony took place on Dec. 2, 2016 at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Close to 1,000 esteemed guests, film professionals and audience joined for a night recognizing talented young filmmakers from across the world.
Six outstanding films selected by the GPIFF 2016 Jury were awarded during the ceremony.
The Orchid Season (China), dir. Du Jinsui
Xiaolan, a 70 year-old medical professor, one day welcomed an old man home and took care of him as his wife.
A Beautiful Mess (United Arab Emirates), dir. Shahir Zag
A maid takes the break up of the family she works for very personally.
I Heard the Flowers Blooming When I was Eighty (United States of America), dir. Pan Zhen
Larry, the lonely old man, bothers the town for a day when he seeks to fulfill his wish of a solo piano concert.
Best Animated Short Film
Where have the flowers gone? (Hong Kong), dir. Chan Sin-hong
A piggy pursuing dream in the big factory but in reality all efforts seemed powerless and even kill himself.
Best Humanistic Vision
Sociopaths (Japan), dir. Takeshi Asai
A girl encounters an android on the street. She finds something strange about the experience and decides to follow the android to give it a ‘message.’
Special Jury Award
A Children’s Song (United States of America), dir. Shayna Cohen
A young Jewish European boy is taken in by a Chinese family in Shanghai towards the end of World War II.
Depicting a touching story of salvation and hope when more than 20,000 Jews emigrated to Shanghai during the Second World War, short film A Children’s Song won Special Jury Award in this year’s GPIFF.
“… from the very beginning, passionate Chinese and American filmmakers came together both behind and in front of the camera,” Special Jury Award-winner Shayna Cohen said during the acceptance speech. “We went to great length to work together and give the authenticity and respect to both Chinese and Jewish cultures during this incredible chapter of our history.”
Distinguished guests, including legendary motion picture producer, past president of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Sid Ganis, president of Beijing Film Academy Zhang Huijun, chair of Directors Guild of Great Britain Ivor Benjamin, professor of University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts Ellen Seiter, professor of Toronto Film School Christopher Lane, COO of China Lion Film Distribution Robert Lundberg attended the ceremony and presented awards to winning filmmakers.
“I want to once more thank the organizers because of the wonderful work they have done,” Sid Ganis said during his speech. “What I learned over the years is it’s hard to pick the best movie. It’s all about this art form that many of you are very interested in. I’m here to say have a good night today. Thanks and have fun.”
Apart from award presentations, the ceremony also brought to the audience incredible art performances based on the themes of Engage, Act, Create and Rise, together with screenings of three award-winning films at this year’s GPIFF.
Local music band Parallel 3 brought the audience into the world of filmmaking through a medley of classic movie theme songs from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Bridges of Madison County, Armageddon and Tarzan. Following the music was an elaborately choreographed dance and sand drawing performance titled “The Climb”.
Former GPIFF award winner, U.S.-based actor and writer Gabriel Furman shared his journey as a young filmmaker in the third chapter Create. Despite having played alongside Academy and Golden Globe winner Melissa Leo in the short film Mother’s Day, which also won the Special Jury Award in the 3rd GPIFF, Furman’s experience working in the highly competitive film industry has resonated with many filmmakers attending the ceremony.
“In my career, there are lot of challenges that I faced, budget, scheduling, all those things, specifically with Mother’s Day,” Furman said. “But there is a little voice in my heart that says ‘Don’t worry, just make it.’ If it’s what’s inside you, just make it. At that moment, I’m starting to understand what a film is.”
Don Davies, member of Parliament for Vancouver Kingsway, spoke highly of GPIFF’s effort on providing a great platform for filmmakers. He mentioned British Columbia is the third largest film production centre in North America with various beneficial policies for filmmakers and encouraged more film professionals to pursue their careers in Vancouver.
Taking place over a time span of more than six months, this year’s GPIFF received a total number of 376 submissions from 38 countries, including the United States, Canada, China, the United Kingdom, France, Japan and many more. Falling into different categories spanning from animations, science fictions to dramas and documentaries, all festival entries managed to showcase the creativity and talents of the filmmakers.
Other guests attending the ceremony include Teresa Wat, B.C.’s minister of International Trade and minister responsible for the Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism, representatives from Vancouver Economic Commission, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Film School, China Film Co., Beijing Film Academy, Cultural Investment Holdings Co., Zhongguancun Development Group as well as many other film-related organizations, companies and institutions.
The ceremony wrapped up in the inspirational melody of You Raise Me Up, which also marks the successful ending for this year’s festival.
Presented by the 4th Golden Panda International Short Film Festival (GPIFF), the inaugural Golden Panda Film Industry Forum was held at Vancouver’s Rosewood Hotel Georgia on Dec. 1, 2016.
Based on the theme of Technology, Capital and Incubation, this year’s forum brought together some of the most brilliant minds in today’s filmmaking industry.
Through five presentations, two panel discussions and one exhibition, the full-day event welcomed more than 200 film professionals, investors and educators, including well-respected motion picture producer, past president of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Sid Ganis, chair of Directors Guild of Great Britain Ivor Benjamin, professor of University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts Ellen Seiter, president of Beijing Film Academy Zhang Huijun, professor of Toronto Film School Christopher Lane, COO of China Lion Film Distribution Robert Lundberg, executives from China’s most influential film enterprise, China Film Co., and many more.
Attendees shared their visions and insights regarding today’s global film industry and dived into topics shaping the future of filmmaking.
“(At Beijing Film Academy), I’ve been addressing it constantly to our students that young filmmakers have to expand their networks and gain professional knowledges as much as they can, such as getting involved with the Golden Panda International Short Film Festival,” Zhang Huijun, president of Beijing Film Academy, said during the speech titled Opportunity and Challenge for Young Film Talents.
“The purpose, is to discover good story ideas that have the potential to be developed into feature films.”
Ivor Benjamin, London-based director, writer and chair of Directors Guild of Great Britain, focused on the topic of how to better connect global film industries, especially from the financial perspective. He introduced briefly the background of U.K.-China film co-production and explained to the audience how China-U.K. Co-Production Agreement would affect the collaborations between Chinese and U.K. film industries.
Professor Ellen Seiter from University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, editor-in-chief of chinafilm.com Huang Lian and professor Kim Woonam from Emily Carr University of Art and Design shared three in-depth presentations with the audience titled Three Paradoxes of U.S. Copyright Law, Re-construct a Win-Win Cooperation Platform and The Future of Technology and Film.
Except for the five presentations, guests raised questions and shed lights on important issues regarding film technology, education during two panel discussions at the forum based on the topics of How do aspiring filmmakers embrace the market? and How will storytelling, acting and other traditional values be preserved in the technological evolution of filmmaking?
In addition to the presentations and panel discussions, the forum also featured exhibitors containing well-established film companies, distributors, tech companies, such as China Film Co., Inspired Image Picture Company, H+ Technology, Toronto Film School and many more.
“Today’s event is an excellent platform. It gives filmmakers a perfect opportunity to communicate with others. I hope there will be more in the future,” U.S.-based filmmaker Gabriel Furman said in an interview.
Attendees at the forum also include representatives from Vancouver Economic Commission, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Film School, Cultural Investment Holdings Co., Zhongguancun Development Group, Stargate Studios, Motorcycle Boy Productions, The Sequence Group, Partners in Motion Pictures Inc., Eh-Okay Entertainment, Flying Kraken Creative Studios.
On Oct. 5, 2016, our Golden Panda staff went to Art Institute of Vancouver to hold the 3rd Campus Event for this year’s festival. Check out the video below.