International students love to "Look Winter Olympics" and tell China's story
Remember the trumpet player Zhu De'en from the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics? On February 16, he played the trumpet again at the Beijing Nanshan Ski Resort. But this time he played in front of the camera of Obebe Antonio Ovie, an international student. In the event of "Looking China, Look Winter Olympics", Antonio further explored the story of the trumpeter, and recorded his understanding and love for the Beijing Winter Olympics. At the same time, international students Hwang Woo Seng and Park Donghyun also "look Winter Olympics" through their lenses. By creating short documentaries, they showed their understanding of the "Green Winter Olympics" and the volunteer groups behind the scenes.
What is "Looking China, Look Winter Olympics"?
So far, Looking China Youth Film Project, organized by the Academy for International Communication of Chinese Culture of Beijing Normal University, has been successfully held for 11 years and is an important platform for international communication. As for now, 804 international university students from 74 overseas universities in 91 countries on five continents, as well as over 1,400 Chinese university students from 37 domestic universities in 26 provinces, autonomous regions and cities, have participated in the project. About 400 Chinese and international teachers are engaged in teaching and instruction. 779 documentaries in over 20 languages have been created, wining 138 international awards.
At the beginning of the Spring Festival 2022, thanks to the advantage of the project, the project Looking China, Look Winter Olympics" was added to the Looking China Youth Film Project. It is hoped to seize this opportunity in the background of international communication, with the core narrative of "peace, unity and progress". It also highlights the Olympic spirit of "faster, higher, stronger - together" and the slogan "Together to the future", showing China's "People, Society, Nature" to the world through international youth. This is also a supplement to the international communication narrative of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Currently, three international students from Beijing Normal University are participating in the project "Look Winter Olympics": Obebe Antonio Ovie (Nigeria), Hwang Woo Seng (South Korea), and Park Donghyun (South Korea). Let's go into their creative world and see the stories of the Winter Olympics.
Wonderful musical journey
Main creator team
Directed by Obebe Antonio Ovie (Nigeria)
An undergraduate student from the School of Arts and Communication, Beijing Normal University.
"Look Winter Olympics" Keyword: Olympic Games
Producer: Guo Xinwei Henry
A PhD Student from School of Arts and Communication, Beijing Normal University
"Look Winter Olympics" Keyword: Friendly
Obebe Antonio Ovie, a young Nigerian director, tells the story of the trumpet player Ju de’En in the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics from his own perspective. Anthony visited the trumpet family of three generations, and recorded the harmonious and loving family atmosphere that nurtured the wonderful performance of Ju De’En, the good family education environment, and the understanding and persistence of the family towards music. All of these have provided many philosophical thoughts for this music-loving family. In the daily life outside the splendid stage, En and his brother Dian play Ultraman cards, draw pictures, play Lego and piano together ...... The ordinary life is also wonderful and interesting. They feel the charm of ice and snow sports together with the Olympic athletes playing in the arena to the future.
Antonio when filming En
"I actually didn't pay that much attention to the Winter Olympics before. But during the opening ceremony, I remembered that there was a kid playing the trumpet. What I thought at that time was that it was so amazing that he could stand on that stage, representing all the young people, and play the trumpet and bring hope for the future. It's so amazing that a child can have such a precious opportunity to stand in front of President Xi and play the trumpet." said Anthony, using "amazing" twice to explain his inspiration for the video. "From my perspective, although he had such an opportunity, he was still a young kid. So what I want to film is the life of a normal kid. For example, he likes to draw, and sometimes he will search for airplanes on the Internet and paint them. I also recorded his daily life with his father and grandfather. I wanted to put these three generations together and tell their stories."
The event "Looking China, Look Winter Olympics" gave director Antonio a special journey. Anthony was born and nurtured in a musical family. When first met En's family, Anthony saw the African drums in his house and played them immediately. En also joined in and played the trumpet. The two worked so well together and had so much fun that they didn't even need to warm up. They just went directly into a state of deep communication through the music.
Antonio playing the drum; En playing the trumpet
En's father Zhu Guang is a famous trumpet player in China, grandfather Zhu Yaozhou is the first generation of trumpet players in New China, and grandmother Shang Chengsong is a famous pianist in China. The "musical family" not only provides a good environment for En's music education, but also provides a happy and joyful environment for him to grow up. This left a deep impression on Antonio's team. Producer Guo Xinwei recalls the touching moment during the filming process, "On Valentine's Day, we were honored to be with En's parents, and we felt like we are witnessing PDA all day, because they were always praising each other, not mincing their words of praise and compliments. I think this is very important not only between couples but also between people. This passion of love is worth learning, which also cultivates good characters for En and Dian." Because Antonio doesn't eat meat, En's mother, Zhang Yanan, also prepared sumptuous vegetarian food at noon.
Three generations playing trumpet.
Right: Grandfather Zhu Yaozhou.
Left: Father Zhu Guang.
Middle: En (Zhu De’En)
During the shooting, Anthony also filmed En's younger brother, Dian. "When a lot of people interview En, they only focus on him and usually forget Dian. Dian is also a very interesting little kid. He's very lively and very energetic. He is also the strength of En. When someone tries to 'bully' En, Dian will stand out. They two are very close, the older brother can't live without the younger one, and vice versa. They play together, sleep together, and do everything together."
En together with Dian
Through music, Antonio and En's family have formed a deep friendship. "I want them to be healthy. That's the most important. When you have health, you have hope. And then whatever they do, I hope they will be successful. I hope all the wishes inside their mind could come true." Antonio wished fondly.
The photo of Nanshan Ski Resort
The unique connection between the five elements and the five rings
Main creator team
Directed by HWANG WOO SENG (Korea)
A PhD student from Beijing Normal University, School of of Arts and Communication. He has more than 15 years of experience working in media such as film, TV series, animation, commercials, M/V, and documentaries in Korea.
"Look Winter Olympics" keyword: Green Olympics
Producer: Yang Erkang
A master student from School of Arts and Communication, Beijing Normal University
"Look Winter Olympics" Keyword: Learning
The documentary introduces the low-carbon green theme of the Winter Olympics from the small torch in the opening ceremony, and extends the five Olympic rings to the five traditional Chinese elements: "gold, wood, water, fire, and earth". It explores the environmental significance of these five elements in the Winter Olympics through interviews with experts, and then extends to the overall environmental protection measures and achievements of China, allowing viewers to see China's efforts in environmental protection through the eyes of Korean director Hwang Woo Seng.
The 2008 torch left a deep impression on numerous Chinese people, and the people of Beijing could see the burning flame on the Bird's Nest from hundreds of meters away. However, 15 years later, at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics, also directed by Zhang Yimou, the big torch was gone. It was replaced by a small torch, a "micro-fire", which was not only an aesthetic innovation, but also showed the world China's low-carbon and green environmental concept. This detail deeply impressed the creative team, and the idea of telling the environmental story of the Winter Olympics as well as China was emerged.
Hwang Woo Seng when filming
"Compared to the Summer Olympics in 2008, I strongly feel that China is stronger and better at the 2022 Winter Olympics. At first, I wanted to make a film about the technical aspects of the opening ceremony and conduct interview on the scientific and technological aspects. But then I saw a news report that the torch for this year's Winter Olympics was 'micro-flame' due to low-carbon and environmental concerns, which is exactly the kind of topic I will be interested in. I hope my documentary can draw people's attention to environmental protection." Director Hwang Woo Seng is an old friend of "Looking China", and this "Looking China, Look Winter Olympics" event is the fourth time he participated. Last year, his film "Common Sense" won the second prize in the "Jinmu Award". "Most Koreans are interested in the five elements, and I have heard about its relevant ancient Chinese study. I just suddenly associated the five elements with the five rings of the Winter Olympics. Plus, their colors are similar. I’m going to connect the five elements with the five rings and talk about environmental protection." Hwang Woo Seng associated the five elements of "gold, wood, water, fire and earth" with mining, Forests, Water, Energy, Coal, Soil respectively, and use them as clues to explore the relationship between the five elements and the Winter Olympics. He then extended to China's efforts in these areas.
Interview with Wang Zhi’Ou, Director of Visual Effects for the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics
The team has been preparing for the "snowflakes" of the Winter Olympics since 2019 and has encountered difficulties several times. However, they still manage to overcome them by unremitting efforts. The hard work and dedication behind the scenes touched Hwang Woo Seng: "Many people don't know what they were doing in these past three years. I think they should be noticed and we should be grateful to them." Likewise, Hwang Woo Seng's team has also encountered quite obstacles in the filming, like limited time, poor communication, especially the contact issues of the interviewees. "The production was on tight schedule with heavy tasking, and one of the biggest challenges they had was how to contact and communicate with the interviewees.
Because previously, our understanding of environmental protection is still quite intuitive, this time we need to contact five environmental experts respectively. This requires us to do a lot of preparation, find the experts in each field, and research and design the interview outline according to their research areas." Said the producer Yang Erkang. When contacting the interviewees, only two out of five experts expected were able to make contact with, so that the filming was once stalled. So Hwang's team decided to ask help from the teachers of the "Looking China" project. They spared no effort to negotiate, and finally Mr. Huang Huilin helped to get in touch with Shen Zhenyao, secretary of the branch party committee of the School of Environment of Beijing Normal University, and Cheng Hongguang, director of the Institute of Water Science. After that the interview went smoothly. "The shooting was stopped for one day, but of course we didn't waste that day and still went to capture some of these empty shots." Yang Erkang added. The spirit of active communication and cooperation has always been shown in the "Looking China, Look Winter Olympics" project.
Interview with Professor Feng Chenghong, Beijing Normal University
Interview with Professor Liu Shiliang, Beijing Normal University
Interview with Professor Ding Aizhong, Beijing Normal University
Interview with Professor Shang Jianying, China Agricultural University
Interview with Associate Professor Song Tao, Beijing Normal University
From the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics to the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, China has undergone radical changes in these 15 years. In these 15 years, from the government to the public, they all have paid more attention to environmental protection, and China has also achieved many environmental results worth to be proud of. This filming also motivated Hwang Woo Seng to continue to create: "If I had the chance in the future, I would like to make a documentary about environmental protection, and I also want to create a script."
Volunteers "behind the Scenes"
Main creator team
Director: PARK DONGHYUN(Korea)
A PhD student from School of Arts and Communication, Beijing Normal University
"Look Winter Olympics" Keyword: Satisfaction
Producer: Yue Tianshu Rachel
An undergraduate student from the School of Arts and Communication, Beijing Normal University, leader of the Beijing Normal University pacesetter team for the closing ceremony of the Beijing Winter Paralympics
"Look Winter Olympics" Keyword: Opportunity
The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics started in a joyful and peaceful Spring Festival atmosphere. However, the volunteers preparing for the Winter Olympics had to stay on campus because of the need for the Winter Olympics and epidemic prevention. Among this group, there are volunteers who work to ensure the life of volunteers. The Korean director Park Donghyun experienced all little things happened in their work and life in the background of Chinese New Year, epidemic prevention and the Winter Olympics through the contact of a special and indispensable group, the volunteers of volunteers, who hardly get any attention. He also observed how they have enjoyed themselves in their boring and complicated work.
The shooting site of Park Donghyun’s team
On his first day in the volunteer office, Park felt a comfortable atmosphere. When communicating with them, he found that whether it was communicating with people or work, the volunteers were doing it with a more caring attitude and frankness, and that's the reason for this comfortable atmosphere. "I felt at first that my entry was like an intrusion of a stranger, but then soon they got acquainted with me the next day. They also talked about a lot of fun things, too, which I felt very surprising."
After seeing the documentary on the Winter Olympics, Park became very interested in the behind-the-scenes volunteer group. But unlike what he imagined to be boring, hard and uninteresting, the work and life of young volunteers of the Winter Olympics were very positive. They were able to be joyful by themselves in the work. Even for the dull work like fetching supplies, they were happy, too. "The job sounds and feels like I'm there to help pick up the delivery and buy things. But when I was following them to film, I found that they would jump around to pick the supplies. After they came back, they would happily go and distribute them to their classmates, and I would often laugh out when I was shooting."
Picking the supplies
Unlike other groups, the main subject director Park Donghyun chose was Yue Tianshu, who was also the producer. "Tianshu is not only my producer, who gave me a lot of help, but also my main subject. Whether as a producer or as a subject, she showed me the real and honest part of her."
Park Donghyun's team at work
The selfie of Park Donghyun and Yue Tianshu
To Yue Tianshu, the four, five days of shooting was also an opportunity to experience and communicate more deeply with the working team. In one interview, Yue Tianshu sat down with her volunteer friends. In a casual chat like that, everyone talked about different stories of their mental journey. But there were also common theme, that is, the attention, understanding, tolerance and love among friends.
Park Donghyun’s shooting of Yue Tianshu chatting with her volunteer friends
This chat had brought a big change to Yue Tianshu: "After the shooting that day, I actually had a very big mood swing. Because after talking to them so deeply, I felt that my work was so valuable. Although they can be on stage, I can not. But after repeated in-depth communication, after I witnessed their continuous growth, hard work and progress, I can feel that all my work, all my efforts are proved through their final perfect presentation. This is a two-way, not to be disappointed state. This also made some of the confusion, some of the things I had felt aggrieved about, in my previous work all disappear. I was completely reconciled with myself. After this filming, when I faced my work again, it was totally 200% involvement and enjoyment"
On February 17, the Beijing Winter Olympic Organizing Committee (BOCOG) expressed its high praise for every volunteer and hero behind the scenes of the Winter Olympics in its regular press conference. Yan Jiarong, a spokesman for the Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee, claimed that these "silently moisturizing" volunteering habits and social civilization are the intangible legacy left by the Winter Olympics, giving birth to the hope and future of the Olympics. As "behind-the-scenes" volunteers, Yue Tianshu and her friends have always been responsible for their work firmly and seriously, "Respecting each other, understanding each other, and then cooperating together to complete the Winter Olympics is the most important thing to me."
The photo of Park Donghyun’s team
Words from the instructor
Yu Ming, teacher and documentary director from Beijing Normal University
Documentaries: "Childhood in China", "The Post-00s Generation", "The Secret of Growing Up in Primary School", "China through the Eyes of the Film", "The Battle: Xibaipo 1948 Chronicle", "Witness Chengdu: A Complete Record of Post-Disaster Reconstruction", etc.
"Look Winter Olympics" Keyword: Connection
Each of our international student directors not only found their own connection with the Winter Olympics, but also found a "connection" with the main characters in the films with a suitable way for expression. Whether it is from theme selection or presentation, these three works have their own characteristics. This is very important for documentaries, and we are looking forward to seeing them. As they go deeper into theme selection and the filming of the main characters, as a leading teacher, I also have a stronger "connection" with the Winter Olympics.
Another is the connection of the entire "Looking China" team. It was my first time participating in this project, and because of the timeliness of the Winter Olympics, the project started early, but I was able to fit in without much adjustment. The cooperation of every teacher made the project go smoother than expected. Although there were some difficulties in the process, teachers were able to solve them quickly. What is particularly touching is that Mr. Huang Huilin, the founder of "Looking China" project, was always the first one to contact all parties, turning many impossibilities into possibilities. When the director of one group wanted to give up the film because he couldn't contact the interviewees, Mr. Huang still helped to contact until 11 o'clock at night and save this precious film making.
Therefore, the "connection" between the international student directors and producers, them and me, and the whole team, ensures our "Looking China, Look Winter Olympics" run smoothly.
Words from the Project Manager
Fa Sutian, a postdoctoral fellow from School of Arts and Media, Beijing Normal University, Project Director of 2022 "Looking China, Look Winter Olympics"
"Look Winter Olympics" keywords: innovation and integration
"Look Winter Olympics" is in fact a part of project "Looking China, Watch Beijing". Because the Winter Olympics started at a very special time point, the project "Watch Beijing" is also moved up. This is actually very challenging for young international directors, Chinese producers, filming subjects and many behind-the-scenes staff. The Winter Olympics overlaps with the Chinese New Year, so all the people who worked hard for this project gave up on their own festival. They worked overtime, and even temporarily put aside their important studies to devote themselves to this project. So we well understand how hard and difficult it was for all of you, and we are very touched and grateful to you, too.
Although this is not the first time I participated in the "Looking China, Youth Film Project", I still feel very fresh this time. Because every international director and Chinese producer has different personalities and cultural backgrounds, the angle they chose to film was also totally different. Each film is actually an integration of the young international director's own culture, personal experience of growth and preferences with the Chinese family, society and culture. This kind of integration is actually based on empathy. It’s an integration of empathy and close cooperation between our international youth and Chinese producers and their Chinese interviewees during the filming and communication. So this kind of integration is also very natural and pleasant. Based on this, we believe that we can surely "together to the future"!
On February 20th, the Winter Olympics will close and De’En will also go to school soon. But the next Winter Paralympic Games will still be as exciting and worth expectation. The Olympic torch is still emitting light and the volunteers are still standing firmly at their positions.
The Winter Olympic Games provides new opportunities and perspectives for global youth dialogue, and "Looking China" has been putting remitting efforts for decadea in the spirit of dialogue for global youth exchange. "Looking China" sincerely invites more international students to join the practice of "Look Winter Olympics" as well as "Looking China". Focusing on the Winter Olympics and "Looking China" is also focusing on the global cultural exchange and youth communication.
This year, under the theme of "People, Society, Nature", the main project of "Looking China, Youth Film Project" will be conducted as scheduled: " Looking China, Foreign Youth in China" project will be carried out in seven provinces and cities in the east, west, north, south, and center; meanwhile, "Rice, the Chinese element that influences the world" project will be implemented at home and abroad. We plan to invite the directors who have participated in "Looking China" to reunite in China this summer.
"Together to the future", the spirit of the slogan of the Winter Olympics will continue. We will always be on the path to be "Faster, Higher, Stronger - Together".
Wechat: Looking China Youth Film Project