SAE Student's Short Film Accepted for UK Festival


18 Aug 2016

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SAE Student's Short Film Accepted for UK Festival

18 Aug 2016


SAE Creative Media Institute Bachelor of Film Arts student Nicole Chen has been invited to show her short film Jianjie at the inaugural Norwich Radical Film Festival.

The festival, which runs from August 26th – 28th in the UK city, has been launched to support filmmakers “who produce works that are politically subversive and/or unique in form and that challenge the status quo”.

North Shore resident Nicole wrote, produced, directed and acts in Jianjie (the Chinese version of “Jane,” pronounced “zhjen-zhjear”), which is her first short film, developed as part of her Diploma in Filmmaking at SAE last year.

“The film is set within the world of Jianjie, a young Chinese women facing alienation and mortality,” says Nicole. “I wanted to deal with the contemporary cultural issues a young Chinese woman faces - a point of view so often neglected or misrepresented. Jianjie is a product of the 80s Chinese reforms and one child policy – she is lost, anxious and spiritually empty.”

Nicole’s inspiration for the film was very personal - she was born in China in the 1980s under the one child policy.

“We are a special generation. The 80s were also the first time China opened its doors to the western world. I was born in the city of Shenzhen – it’s full of immigrants. You don’t find your own roots there, as it’s very transitory. My generation has interesting ideas about what freedom is. We became selfish in a way compared to parents – we stopped obeying and became more stubborn, wanting to form our own roots. So this is where my idea for the film grew from.”

Nicole names Hong Kong director Wong Karaai as another source of inspiration for the film.

“He played with language and lighting, and the pace of movies, using wording and voices to link everything together,” she says.

Nicole shot the film during August 2015, and recruited a small number of extras and crew, including people she found at Auckland airport speaking Shanghaiese. Fellow SAE students were recruited to help with the camera work and soundtrack.

SAE audio engineering student Donna Kavanagh composed the music for the film, as she and Nicole share similar musical tastes.

“It took a while to find the inspiration – eventually I played a piano piece for Nicole that I wrote when I was younger, but hadn’t finished.

“I never recorded it because it was too emotional, but 20 years laterI finished it and recorded it for this film,” says Donna, who split her song into two different variations, which she then rearranged
for the film.

Donna and Nicole will both travel to the UK to see the film play at the Norwich Radical Film Festival at the end of the month.

SAE Auckland campus manager Dr Suzette Major says the institute is very proud of the two students, adding that “[being] accepted into an international film festival whilst still completing your degree is exceptional. It demonstrates that high level that our SAE students are working at. We are super proud of what Nicole has achieved, and thrilled that other SAE students, including Donna, were involved.”

SAE delivers creative media education to more than 10,000 students at 54 campuses in 28 countries. SAE New Zealand offers the Bachelor of Recording Arts, Diploma of Audio Engineering, Certificate in Electronic Music Production, a Diploma in Film Arts and a Bachelor of Film Arts.