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A Flux of Film Talent

May, 2013
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Celebrating the ingenuity and creativity of international students in Beijing, the Flux Film Festival 2013, the 2nd year of the student film festival, ended successfully with a grand awards ceremony at Beijing City International School on 27 April.

Building on last year’s success and popularity, the Flux Film Festival 2013 received over 100 film entries from more than 150 student filmmakers from nine different schools in Beijing and Tianjin. The schools included: BCIS, Western Academy of Beijing, Yew Chung International School of Beijing, Beijing BISS International School, Beijing World Youth Academy, Harrow International School Beijing, Dulwich College Beijing, International School of Tianjin and The Affiliated High School of Peking University. The filmmakers ranged from 8 years old to 18. The most hotly contested age group this year was Middle School (11-14 years). 

The students competed in six film categories including Narrative, Documentary, Music Video, PSA (Public Service Announcements), Animation and Special Effects.

One major difference this year was that there were some amazing guest judges on board. Celine Zeng, Documentary Judge, is an internationally recognized media personality. Chris Chan Roberson, the Narrative Judge, has been teaching at New York University (NYU) since 1999. Animation Judge Fei Yu is the Vice President and Film Director for Gameloft. Music Video Judge Xiaxuan is the Chief Editor of Renren Website’s music channel.

“The 2013 Flux Committee chose to focus on getting more sponsors on board, establishing connections with industry professionals who went on to become our category judges, ensuring we could screen the winning films for all to see and maximizing the number of attendees at the awards ceremony this year,” said Kendal Reilly, the MS Visual Arts teacher at BCIS and also the staff supervisor for the Flux Team. “We want The Flux to be a starting point for students wishing to connect with the film and media industries and we wanted to remove as much bias from the judging process as we could.”

At the awards ceremony, a total of 10 winners and several honorable mentions for the six categories were announced. The winning films were also showcased on the big screen. Given the larger number of entries and more professional judging, every winner should be truly proud of himself or herself.

Tom Evans, a 4th grader, was the first winner to come onto the stage to receive the ES Best Documentary Award for his short film Tom’s Views. Tom’s film leads the audience around famous tourist sites such as Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace. Tom spent two weeks taking videos across Beijing and another week editing.

Tom, his parents and grandparents were present at the ceremony to celebrate the occasion. “I have never done anything like this. I am sure I will continue making movies. I feel good making films; filmmaking needs a lot of good ideas and great imagination, which is a very cool experience.”

Namju Kang, current Grade 5 student, has been studying at BCIS for two years, and this is also her first time entering the Flux Film Festival. Her sister entered her movie last year and got a second prize, and suggested she enter the competition.

Namju won the ES Best Narrative Award for her film Wallet. The film tells the story of a lost wallet at a shopping mall. One little girl picks up the wallet and her inner struggle to use the money in the wallet or not.

“I spent a lot of time taking videos at the shopping mall. I also spent much time on the editing,” said the girl. “I had to repeat my action a lot of times because I only have one camera. I want to take a video from many different angles for each scene. That was the most difficult part…”

Namju watched other entries from the Flux Festival and thought the other students’ ideas were brilliant and some are even better than hers. “I think the film festival is a great chance to make films and also watch different films. I found that movie directors have many things to do to make one movie. I could improve my filmmaking skills such as acting, editing and scenes next year.”

Jason Cheung, a current Grade 11 student, has been studying at BCIS for five years. Jason won the Music Video Award with his entry Top of the World. He was very proud and excited!

“This is my first time entering the competition and I do like the idea that students are grouped together to do a film festival because it’s challenging and includes a lot of team work,” said Jason.

Jason loves photography and h has a photography studio for his own work, which has been open 10 months. It took Jason three weekends to work individually with his friends, while the tougher part of the job was combining the video footage of about 30 hours and editing it to just 4 minutes.

Other than the winning filmmakers, BCIS student and staff volunteers also played a major role. The main student organizers this year were Jerry Pan, Patrick Fang, Devon Hsiao, Curtis Chiang, Monica Hassett and Lucia Zhou. The main Flux staff members were Kendal Reilly and Colleen Drisner. These Grade 10 and 11 students worked hard for almost an entire school year to create this festival and make the awards ceremony happen.

Volunteers are always part of the Flux Film Festival. This year over 30 students from Grade 6 to 10 volunteered to help out at The Flux Awards Ceremony. Many were Flux filmmakers as well, so they gave to the festival on two levels this year. The 2013 Flux team were really keen to have as many students helping out on the night as possible as it is an event run by students and staff for students.. 

Hosting such a film festival is proof that BCIS places a special emphasis on incorporating new technology and new media into teaching. BCIS is very proud of the way technology is integrated into teaching and learning across the year levels, such as the fantastic iPad projects in the Elementary School and 1:1 Mac system in the Middle and High School that affords teachers and students so many great opportunities to get engaged in life-long learning. 

“We hope The Flux continues for many years to come as an annual event because we believe film is one of the main ways young people can have a strong voice in our society,” said Reilly. “Film is able to transcend language and cultural boundaries and can connect a community whilst celebrating our differences.”

One thing is certain: students love to make films and they learn so much from doing so. Stay tuned to the website (www.the-flux.com) for more information on next year’s Flux Film Festival.

 

By XING YANGJIAN

 

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