Euroasia Short Film Panelist

EuroAsia Shorts Film Festival Event Recap


The CIUS Center was happy to join ten other cultural organizations representing nations from all across Europe and Asia in celebrating storytelling and filmmaking through the EuroAsia Shorts Film Festival from June 3 to June 7, 2019.

The film chosen by the Center to represent China was screened alongside the films representing France at the Alliance Française de Washington on Thursday, June 6. Prior to the screening of the films, guests were treated to a French-style reception featuring various wines, beers, cheeses, breads, and meats served in the library area. Guests were invited to enjoy the feast as they mingled and discussed what they had heard about the films.

The first film to be screened was Yiyu Wang’s Home Swim Home (游泳回家), selected by the CIUS Center to represent China. The film’s story followed a young swimmer named Rou as she struggled to find both her self-identity and her place within her family. Gasps and giggles were heard throughout the room as the audience watched Rou interact with her family and teammates. Viewers were left with feelings of empathy and tenderness by the end of the film. The two French films, Amour Toujours and L’aventure Modern, both directed by Victor Hachby, were screened directly following Home Swim Home. Raphaël Chiche’s film Entendue was shown as the finale to the evening.

As the two panelists for the evening, local documentary filmmaker Yi Chen and Agenee France-Presse correspondent Agnès Bun Agence gave their thoughts on each film before opening the conversation to audience members. Yi spoke about the high expectations many Chinese parents set for their children, which was reflected in the relationship between Rou and her family during Home Swim Home. Yi also noted the film’s success in using both child actors and underwater shots—two components of film which are notably difficult aspects of the craft.

While Agnès grew up in France, she is also the daughter of Chinese immigrants. She admitted to the audience that while many of her cousins in both the United States and China group up with the pressure to learn a competitive sport or perfect a musical instrument, she was not pushed into these activities. She speculated that perhaps her family had adopted a more French approach to enriching her childhood. The conversation between the audience and the panelists expanded to consider some unexpected connections between Chinese, French, and American culture, creating a sense of unity shared by each member of the crowd that night.

The following evening, on June 7, the EuroAsia Shorts Film Festival concluded with a celebration and screening of featured short films from each participating country, with an additional film representing the United States. Despite each of the films being vastly different in a variety of ways, each explored the festival’s theme of “youth.”

Following the screenings, guests were invited to participate in a question and answer session with Agenee France-Presse correspondent Agnès Bun Agence and entertainment lawyer, producer, and filmmaker Lisa Thrasher. Both Agnès and Lisa remarked that often, during our youth we must confront mature and uncomfortable events as a part of growing up; life presents different challenges at every stage, and a theme of youth does not necessarily suggest simplicity. Each film revealed concerns of societal pressure on youth in different situations. In some countries, the youth were confronting societal pressures as it pertained to their social lives, while in others, they were to confront a more structural pressure.

The evening’s close featured another film from Spain. The film featured an elderly man, apparently reminiscing from the future and recalling the “good old days” of dubstep, Tinder, and Facebook. As the feature came to an end, the audience was asked to consider what stories we as a society will decide to share with future generations.

Following the final film, guests were treated to a buffet featuring foods from each of the different participating nations. The CIUS Center contributed to the buffet with some egg custard pies and friend pork wontons. Other foods included Korean friend chicken, Austrian strudel, German pretzels, Italian caprese sandwiches, Japanese sushi, and an assortment of cookies from France. Guests were invited to enjoy the feast while chatting with one another about the highlights of the festival and all of the benefits of cultural exchange through fine arts.