International Documentary Workshop is the first bilateral exchange program established between SFSU and China. The workshop will be conducted in Shanghai, China, one of the fastest growing metropolitans in the world.

This cross-cultural program was created and directed by Prof. Weimin Zhang since summer 2010. The uniqueness of this program is designed with the emphases on REAL cross-cultural experience and community team collaboration, which provided the students an unique opportunity to explore, participate and experience the different culture and the political economical environment in the real world through the medium of documentary filmmaking.

In summer 2010, there were total twelve students from SFSU including nine undergraduate senior students and three graduate students, together with twelve students from Shanghai Normal University (SHNU) participated this three-week intensive workshop from June 4 to June 25. After in-depth research and strategic selection, we decided to focus on four film projects and students were divided in 4 groups. Each group were consists of 6 students, 3 students of SFSU and 3 students of SHNU. They worked extremely hard and successfully presented four high quality short documentary films in Chinese/English. MADE IN CHINA, one of four documentary films was selected into the Official Selection and will be screened at 2011 San Francisco Int’l Asian American Film Festival (March 10-20, 2011).

In summer 2012, there were four excellent short films were made by 9 SFSU students and 11 Chinese students. The documentary film screening were presented in both Shanghai and San Francisco. BEI YAO WAN, a short film directed by Shiyan Feng has just been selected and will be screened at SFAAIFF 2012 and it coming March (March 10-20, 2012).

Program learning objectives and outcome

The learning experience of this course enabled students to:

1. Demonstrate the understanding, sensitivity of social awareness and critical thinking skills through documentary filmmaking in cultural context, and the role of the filmmaker in social environment.

2. Students will learn to use the medium of documentary film to observe, interact and interpreting the life of reality in different cultural environment. Students will blend cultural, environmental and social issues, convey and articulate the meaning and messages through the themes and prototypes of documentary filmmaking.

3. Trough research, target messaging, content selection, form and production strategy to address the creative, ethical, and conceptual problems and choices that arise as they make documentary films.

4. This course will provide the student an opportunity to explore and research the life of reality through documentary filmmaking as a medium under different cultural contexts. The form of the international community collaboration will provide the students an opportunity to broaden the ways of thinking, to learn the complete process of filmmaking from each other.

Weimin Zhang
Program director
Go to Weimin’s Site

Our Partners

Xiejin Film and Television College, Shanghai Normal University
Go to SHNU Site