Like any good left-leaning, open minded, modern American, when it was announced that the Confucius Institute at Miami-Dade College would be pairing up with the Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), I broke out my changshan, checked to make sure my chi was in balance, and made reservations at my favorite Dim Sum restaurant to celebrate (South Garden on Sunset Drive, if you were wondering).
The Confucius Institute, headquartered in MDC's Wolfson campus, is according to Director Jim Yu, "a three party collaboration between Miami Dade College, our sister sister university in China, Shanghai University, and global organizaiton Confusius Institute Headquarters, located in Beijing." The purpose is to "promote Chinese language and education resources."
Previously, they've been involved with the Miami Book Fair, put on several Chinese festivals around the city, and have arranged nights of visiting Chinese performers. All to improve better Chinese cultural understanding in Miami.
"[Confucius Institute] supports our local community to support China," Yu adds.
Their involvement with the Miami International Film Festival is a particularly exciting event, because of the cross cultural involvement of South Florida colleges and universities and that of schools in China.
This year's pairing between Confucius Institute and MIFF, called Close-Up On China, lasts from Saturday, March 8 to Sunday, March 16, and features three different events to celebrate Chinese culture through film: film screenings, a student film competition, and a special Master Class about promoting education through film.
The Chinese films will screen at various theaters across Miami and includes American Dreams in China, Trap Street, and Bends. Visit MIFF's event page for more information.
On Monday, March 10, at the Regal South Beach Cinemas starting at 6:45 p.m., film students from South Florida and China will face off against each other in Miami + Shanghai Cineslam 2014. The seven competing South Florida schools include Barry University, Florida International University, Miami Dade College, Miami International University of Art & Design, New World School of the Arts (University of Florida), St. Thomas University, and University of Miami. The local students are pitted against six Shanghai film schools, including East China University, East China Normal University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai Theatre Academy, and Shanghai University.
"It's a great opportunity for our students," Yu said. "There will be three finalists whose works will be screened at the Shanghai Film Festival in June 2014 ... the largest [film festival] in China."
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Following the Cineslam, on Tuesday March 11, there will be a master class seminar on "Learning Language and Culture Through Cinema" held at the MDC Wolfson Campus. The event will feature a group of six panelists who are veritable heavyweights in their respective fields, including several guests from China. In attendance will be Dr. Xinxun Wu, Executive Director of Chinese Academy for Cultural Industries and Professor at the School of Film/TV Arts & Technology at Shanghai University, China; and Flora Lau, Film Director from Hong Kong (MIFF 2014, BENDS).
Local panelists include Barry Gordon, Director of the School of Entertainment & Design Technology at Miami Dade College; Dr. Li Ma, Assistant Director of Chinese Language & Culture Programs at Florida International University; Monica Rosales, Executive Director, DocMiami International Film Festival; and Nathaniel Styles Jr., Executive Director, Osun's Village Miami & African Caribbean Cultural Arts Corridor.
For more information visit miamifilmfestival.com.