Behind-the-Scenes: The Annual YCIS Beijing Film Festival

The Yew Chung International School of Beijing Film Festival has been a highlight of the school calendar for many years, and this year is no exception. Featuring a handpicked selection of films from dozens of student- and teacher-submitted entries, the afternoon promises to be another entertaining and dramatic spectacle full of exceptional film work.

Chelsea Lee, head student organizer of this year’s festival, explained what the event means to her and the creative opportunities it provides her and her peers.

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Chelsea Lee. I’m in Year 12. I’m from Korea and I’ve been at the Yew Chung International School of Beijing for three years. 

Please introduce the YCIS Beijing Film Festival.

The Film Festival happens every year and features student and teacher submissions from across Secondary School. It’s a great way for students to express their creativity and express themselves in a way other than academics. This is a new and different way for students to express themselves creatively beyond the typical visual arts and drama.

How have you participated in the Film Festival in the past?

I was also one of the leaders to organize the event last year, where I did most of the video editing and putting the films together to be presented during the event. I also entered a film with my friends in the form of a music video!

What inspired you to take on the role as organizer of this event?

Besides taking over for the organizer from last year who had graduated, I’m very passionate about films. First of all, I love movies, but this form of expression also lets me think in another way outside of academics. Since I don’t participate in visual arts or do drama, it gives me a chance to think creatively and express that side of myself.

What are your primary responsibilities as organizer of the film festival?

I’ve done a bit of everything, from designing the posters around school and the banners to hang in the auditorium, to announcing the event at assemblies, to coordinating with Mr. Collins on various aspects of the event, to organizing the promotional videos in advance of the event. It’s kept me very busy!

What are the biggest challenges you faced during the organization process? How have you surmounted these challenges?

Keeping the other three leaders together and navigating our busy schedules to find time to meet is tough as we all have our own academic and extracurricular commitments. We’ve been able to solve this by setting specific dates and times to dedicate to talking about the film festival, during which time we brainstorm and ideas on how to make it better than last year’s.

What do you like most about the film festival?

What I enjoy most is seeing all the films and who they come from. Oftentimes, the filmmakers are kids I’ve never met before, so it’s a great chance to see the other sides of people that I only see in passing around campus.

How have YCIS Beijing teachers and staff supported you during the process?

Mr. Collins was a big supporter. He’s given us lots of ideas and when I’ve made the posters and designs, he helped give feedback and to print them. Ms. Sun also helped to organize a Valentine’s Day Mufti day to collect money for trophies and other expenditures for the festival. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to put on such a great festival without them!

How do you think this experience has helped you grow as a person? What skills have you learned through this experience?

This event has really honed our organizational skills. I’ve never organized a whole school event before, so it’s been a learning experience for me. I’ve also learned how to be creative in other ways. I had to use my creative skills to make posters and videos of my own. This was a great opportunity for me to express myself.

Organizing the festival was also another opportunity for us to work collaboratively and hone those skills. While we have plenty of opportunities for collaboration at YCIS Beijing, the people I’m working with are different, so having to match their schedules and personalities has been a new and unique challenge that I’ve enjoyed.

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