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Dulwich Shanghai Student Filmmakers Nominated for International Award

April, 2016
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dcs-film-poster-homeless-dulwich-student-film-makers-nominated-for-intl-awardA film titled Homeless made by Dulwich College Shanghai students Matthew Tan Yi Jian and Sebastian Demarino was recently nominated for an award at the THIMUN Qatar Northwestern Film Festival. Held annually in Doha, Qatar, this film festival attracts young filmmakers from around the world and serves as a platform for young people to create advocacy films on local or global issues.

Matthew and Sebastian’s documentary film unveils the issue of homelessness in Shanghai, China. Shot on location, they interviewed three different migrants from their respective provinces, who reveal captivating tales of hardship, from sickness to illiteracy to sleepless nights, and their perspectives towards life’s partisan treatment of the lower class.

“As an avid filmmaker, I have always enjoyed watching and making short films with my fellow peers,” said Matthew. “When we heard of the THIMUN Film Festival this March, it was an opportunity that we just couldn’t turn down. This was a chance to push ourselves and explore the genre of documentary filmmaking on an almost zero budget, as well as get to tell the often overlooked stories of homeless people who we see every day in subway stations and alleyways.”

“Making a documentary short film was much more challenging than we initially anticipated,” said Sebastian. “It was one thing having a two-person film crew carrying all the equipment everywhere from 7am in the morning for three consecutive days. It was another to actually walk up to these homeless people and request their permission to be interviewed. We didn’t know if they were nice, or if they wanted money in return for their time.”

The post-production process was another tough task. After filming over the Chinese New Year break, Sebastian went to the US and Matthew had to go back home to Malaysia for the holidays. They had to make numerous Skype calls every 12 hours in order to work over a 12-hour time difference. But overall, despite how tough the process was, the making of this film with a best friend was an experience they’ll never forget.

“We couldn’t believe it when we received the nomination email in the fourth week of February,” commented Matthew, beaming. “We put so much effort into something we’re both very passionate about, and we knew this was a big deal. But when the email finally arrived in the inbox, it was testimony that our hard work really means something and that we can really make a difference in our own way.”

Their documentary film has been nominated for three awards: Best Picture, Best Story and Best Sound.


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