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18th August 2014, 9:42am
Global workshop sees Lincoln filmmakers shine a spotlight on Chinese culture
Alexander Whitcombe during 'Looking China 2014' Filmmakers from the University of Lincoln have returned from an international workshop in China where they produced a series of short films which will be shown around the world.

As part of the Looking China 2014 project, four graduating students from the Lincoln School of Film & Media travelled to the country to work alongside fellow media producers from universities across China, the United States, France, Australia, India, Singapore and South Korea.

Looking China aims to enhance cultural communication between China and the rest of the world through the art of film, and is organised by the Academy for International Communication of Chinese Culture at Beijing Normal University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the country.

Students Ashley Wilks, Thomas Mckie, Alexander Whitcombe and Luke Winter, who all graduate from Lincoln’s Media Production programme this September, travelled to China with Lincoln academic Marcella Forster and two students from Cardiff University.

Marcella, Senior Lecturer in Script and Screenwriting at the University of Lincoln, said: “During Looking China 2014 we were each asked to sum up our experience in one word – I chose ‘illuminating’. The project shed light on Chinese culture in general and the Dalian way of life in particular, as we were introduced to people and places we would not have been able to access as tourists.

“Everyone was a winner on this scheme. Chinese students were able to work alongside talented UK filmmakers and to learn from them, and our Lincoln students gained a truly memorable experience of filmmaking in a foreign country and in an unfamiliar language. Their flexibility, ingenuity and creativity were tested on a daily basis, and the programme is an invaluable addition to their CVs.”

The students each took on the role of creator, director and editor of their own short film, and were accompanied by a Chinese student as a guide and translator. Travelling around the Chinese port city of Dalian, the filmmakers created several short documentaries, focusing on themes such as architectural heritage, the spiritual focus of physical activity and youth culture.

Luke Winter said: “Making a film in a foreign country alongside my friends and colleagues has been one of the best experiences of my life. The project certainly wasn't easy however; I came up against more challenges in filmmaking on this trip than I ever have before, and the language barrier in particular was difficult to overcome. The whole experience has been completely eye-opening.”

The project ran for 16 days, with all participating students presenting their final 10-minute films at an exclusive screening ceremony, attended by representatives of the British Council in Beijing, on Friday 8th August 2014. The films will now be shown across China, Australia, America, France, India, Singapore, Korea and the UK.

The group’s visit was led by the University of Lincoln’s Professor Brian Winston, the Lincoln Chair, who is also a Guest Professor at Beijing Normal University. He said: “The Looking China programme has been an amazingly valuable experience for our students; they were engaging with representatives from higher education institutions around the world, were experiencing a culture which is, despite its Western trappings, still very different, and were coping with the demands placed on them by this society.

Dr Sarah Barrow, Head of the School of Film & Media at Lincoln added: “We are extremely proud of what our filmmakers have achieved. They had just two weeks to plan, research, film and edit their documentaries, and their final productions are beautifully shot. They are a credit to the University of Lincoln.”

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