Editor’s forward: "Looking China" International Youth Film Project is co-organized by the Academy for International Communication of Chinese Culture (AICCC), Beijing Normal University and Huilin Foundation. The program focuses on the young participants’ personal experiences of Chinese culture and encourages them to discover and tell Chinese stories from their own perspectives.
As of the year 2018, students from 35 countries were invited to participate in the "Looking China" project. They were stationed in 11 municipalities, provinces and autonomous region here in China. Every filmmaker has worked out a 10-minute short film about Chinese culture around the topic of "Ecology, Biology, Lifeology."
The documentary short film, Lover of Light, directed by Jo Capralou and produced by Becky Zhang, follows a middle-aged man who gathers tea leaves and takes them to a local tea distiller.
The entire documentary is shown without anyone speaking and accompanied with haunting music playing in the background during the latter half of the film. Yet for those who love drinking Chinese tea, many of them hold a strong admiration for solitude.
People who drink tea believe it gives them more peace of mind, as well as receiving added health benefits. Hence, the concept of producing a documentary about tea-making with people not talking represents real Chinese tea culture.
The documentary also features the step-by-step process of tea making. From the moment, a man harvests tea plants with his bare hands and delivers them to the tea distiller, where factory workers work alongside a conveyor belt that shreds tea leaves and dries them before they are ready for package and delivery.
By watching the documentary, viewers get a better understanding of how tea leaves are grown and cultivated and how they are prepared for consumers.