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Film Studies Programme Attracts Student From China

Film Studies Programme Attracts Student From China

Reprising the Beatles’ Abbey Road cover, Jiangyan Chen on camera and, from left, James Surgeon, Jacob Sanders, Michael Weaver and Hayden Haliburton on the pedestrian crossing. (Photo by Kevin Bridle.)

Having left his homeland of China for the first time this year, Jiangyan Chen is happily settled in Hawke’s Bay and loving his filmmaking studies at EIT.

The first-year screen production diploma student is from Xiantoa in Hubei province. After studying post production in Shanghai and working in Beijing, a city of 21 million, for more than three years he prefers living somewhere quiet.

Jiangyan worked for Gvitech Technologies, one of the biggest 3D Geographic Information System providers in China, and had planned to further his studies in Singapore but friends suggested he consider the clean, pure air of New Zealand.

“I hadn’t really heard about this country before then, but I checked it out on the internet and there was more choice here. I chose the Eastern Institute of Technology because Hawke’s Bay looked very nice and EIT’s screen production programme had excellent facilities and was practical and project-based.”

Handled by his agent in China and EIT’s International Centre, the process of enrolling and moving went very smoothly for Jiangyan. Early this year he farewelled his parents and older sister and flew out to New Zealand.

“I am really thankful to my family,” he says. “They have faith in me and are supporting me to do what I love here on the other side of the world.”

The 25-year-old says he’s not homesick and finds New Zealanders very friendly and kind.

Describing himself as adaptable, he is enjoying living with his Taradale host family – Donna and Garry Fitchett and their teenage son Kyle – and making friends on campus. Most Saturdays he works as a volunteer for Red Cross to help his English and because it assists in making his life in New Zealand more meaningful.

Jiangyan’s spoken English has already improved during his first three months in Hawke’s Bay.

“English is a compulsory language at school in China but many students drop it because they find it too hard. I have learnt most of it by myself and by doing an English training course.”

With few opportunities for speaking English in China, he loves being immersed in an English-speaking culture, using the language every day, watching movies and TV, using facebook and listening to Kiwis talk.

At EIT Jiangyan is most interested in hands-on camera work – composition, lighting and staging or, as those in the business call it, mise en scene. In a recent class exercise, he had an opportunity to polish his skills directing an ad for a camera which was modelled on the Beatles’ Abbey Road cover.

Fellow students played the parts of John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and George Harrison in striding out on a pedestrian crossing.

“The best aspect is working together with classmates to get things done,” Jiangyan says. “Everyone knows their job. And the tutors are very nice. They are always ready to help because sometimes the language gets in the way.”

Once he has completed his two-year diploma, Jiangyan hopes to find work in the New Zealand film industry.


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