A documentary by International School of Beijing (ISB) high school students about an iconic local snack won three awards at the Across Asia Youth Film Festival (AAYFF) in Singapore and Shanghai last week.
Jian Bing in Beijing, a short film exploring the cultural and culinary significance of jian bing (a savory breakfast crepe), was awarded Best Film in the 13-15 age group and Best Documentary in Singapore on March 24, 2017. It also won the award for Best Sound at the AAYFF awards ceremony in Shanghai.
This year's AAYFF attracted 274 films from students at 51 schools in 13 countries and regions.
Jian Bing in Beijing's directors, tenth-graders Keith L and Tony H, typically pursue their passion for filmmaking by vlogging on YouTube. They began taking their craft more seriously last semester when they took a filmmaking course taught by ISB visual arts teacher Mike Dawson.
Other students involved in the award-winning film were Jed H (grade 10, lighting); Hiro W (grade 9, interviewing); Naime G (grade 12, editing); and Stanley L (grade 12, casting).
As part of their award, Jian Bing in Beijing will air on cable network HBO Asia. Tony has also been invited to tour the company's regional headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.
In the film, jian bing vendors nearby ISB's campus discuss the popularity of the Beijing breakfast staple and how it sustains their livelihoods.
"Initially, the women were shy, but they eventually opened up and shared their stories with a lot of pride," said Tony, whose love affair with cameras began with photography in middle school.
"We knew we were nominated, but didn't know we would win. It was pretty unexpected."
Keith was similarly in awe upon finding out the good news.
"I was watching via livestream and literally screamed at the computer when I saw we had won," he said.
The AAYFF awards were judged by Tom Batchelor, general manager of Disney Studios South East Asia; Steve Burton, executive vice president of HBO Asia; and Meet CheeK, chief content officer at Mediacorp.
"It seems like you guys have been making documentaries for a very long time. You really know what you are doing," Mr. Batchelor told the ISB students in awarding them the festival's top prize.