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Students gain unprecedented insight into Hong Kong media industry

Exclusive film screenings, access to internationally-renowned auteurs, and behind the scenes of the Hong Kong media industry for students at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), thanks to a recent #DMUglobal trip.

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Organised by Dr Pierluigi Ercole, recently awarded a research grant by the British Academy to map 1950s cinema-going in Europe, and jointly led by Subject Group Leader Dr James Russell, the trip spanned the history and heritage of Hong Kong cinema to the latest in Asian film and TV production.

Centred on the 40th anniversary of the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) – showing 300 films in 11 venues across the city – the trip gave Film Studies students the chance to attend Q&A sessions and seminars with filmmakers, including the widely-respected Wong Kar-Wai and Bela Tarr.

Students also learned about Hong Kong’s wider media industry through bespoke and rare visits to film, broadcast and screen heritage organisations.

At Shaw Movie City, founded by internationally acclaimed Chinese movie mogul Sir Run Run Shaw, students were treated to a demonstration of the latest sound technology in the Dolby studio and learned about the quirky and creative job of being a Foley special effects artist.

A highlight of the trip was a unique visit to TVB City, Hong Kong’s first wireless commercial television station and one of the largest Chinese programme producers in the world.

Ordinarily closed to visitors, the students were invited onto the set of a yet-to-air soap opera and toured the amazing backlot which boasts an ancient Chinese city complete with its own temple.

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Dr Ercole said: “Students had a unique opportunity to engage with Asian cinema, to visit film and TV studios, industry leaders in film heritage and production and companies who are not generally open to the public.

“They also learned about a wide variety of aspects of the film and television industry, from sound engineering to film restoration.”

First year Film Studies student, Asif Vehvaria, described the trip that allowed him to meet his filmmaking hero as ‘spectacular’.

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The 22-year-old said: “Not only did I get to visit all the hot-spots from films shot in Hong Kong, I got to meet Wong Kar-Wai, whose films sparked the passion in me to study film at degree level.

“I also learned a lot about post-production, which will help me with my future career as I now have a view of the work that I would like to get into and a glimpse behind the scenes of what it involves.” 

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The latest developments in 3D filmmaking were the focus of a visit to award-winning Digital Magic production company.

Students delved into the world of film preservation and restoration at the state of the art Hong Kong Film Archive and L’immagine Ritrovata Asia, the Asian headquarters of one of the world’s leading film restoration labs.

For second year Creative Writing and Film Studies student, Kelly-Mae Matt, the trip has made her ‘crave more travelling and experiences’. 

The 23-year-old said: “Familiarising myself with Hong Kong culture has really broadened my mind and enabled me to experience more than I could ever imagine. The trip has given me so much more insight that I could gain from only watching films.

“I also really enjoyed visiting the film archive and seeing how films are preserved, especially the effort involved in keeping the history of Hong Kong film alive and safe.”

Dr Ercole added: “This exceptional trip benefitted hugely from local support.

“I would like to thank Tiffany Lee and Roger Garcia at HKIFF, Erik Stark at Shaw Movie City, Sy Tam and Stephanie Wong at TVB City, Percy Fung at Digital Magic, Bede Cheng at L’immagine Ritrovata Asia, the staff at the Hong Kong Film Archive and Nigel Watson at Asys International.”

Posted on Thursday 19th May 2016

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