Tag Archives: China

Lights, camera, international action!

Producer Pan Zhengyu (Shanghai University) with actress Zhang Beiqin of BLIND LUCK, which is one of three film chapters in DESTINY, FORTUNE, LOVE shot in Shanghai, China June 2011.

College students at UH Mānoa’s Academy for Creative Media (ACM) and across the Pacific Ocean at Shanghai University’s School of Film and Television Arts have discovered that filmmaking is truly an international art.

In June and October for the past five years, student filmmakers from both universities have traveled to and from Shanghai and Honolulu as guests of each other’s campuses. In Mānoa, participants in the Student Media Art (SMART) Exchange Program have had their films shown at either the Shanghai International Film Festival or the Hawai‘i International Film Festival, further enriching their experiences as the next generation of career professionals behind the camera.

“This is the only program internationally where students from both programs make films together in China and Hawai‘i,” said ACM Chair Tom Brislin. “Just as important is the fact that both film festivals have a dedicated program for student films.”

For senior Lana Dang, one of six ACM students who participated in the program this past summer, the exchange program experience was life-changing. On first enrolling at UH Mānoa, Dang thought she’d follow in her father’s footsteps as an engineer, since she was particularly strong in math and science and her reasoning skills were impeccable. After her fifth semester, however, Dang had a change of heart and enrolled in ACM.

For three weeks, Dang and her classmates worked alongside counterparts from Shanghai University to produce three short films. “The exchange program forces participants to stretch personal boundaries and, in many cases, opens a student’s eyes as an artist,” she said.  “Shooting a film is a very stressful yet invigorating experience. Now add the element of filming in a different country where the majority of the crew speaks a different language and you can multiply that experience by ten.”

During their stay in China, the Hawai‘i students also learned that “filmmaking in Hawaii is not that different from filmmaking in China—especially when it comes to working on a student film.  Everything is so chaotic and disorganized, but at the same time very freeing and liberating,” added Dang.

ACM Professor Anne Misawa glows with pride at her students’ progress in 21 short days.  “These are transformative experiences for the students,” said Misawa.  “I have seen them blossom, not only as filmmakers, but as individuals who gain greater confidence and self-knowledge about what they want to do with their talents and how they want to contribute and interact with their global community.”

For more information, visit the ACM website at http://www.hawaii.edu/acm/ or contact ACM Assistant Professor Anne Misawa at 956-0752 or amisawa@hawaii.edu.

Top photo:On the set of BLIND LUCK–Zhengyu Pan and actor Dongqing Su from Shanghai University from check out the video with director Laurie Arakaki (center)  and cinematographer Reynolds Barney, both from ACM.

Public Health collaboration

Officials from UH Manoa and Wuhan University are all smiles after signing an agreement initiating student and faculty exchanges.

A unique exchange program between the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Office of Public Health Studies (OPHS) and Wuhan and Fudan Universities – two of the most prestigious Schools of Public Health in China—is helping to foster groundbreaking research on a variety of topics covering public health and environmental sciences.

The program, which started in 2007, provides an opportunity for graduate students from the three institutions to perform research either in Hawai‘i or China two or three times a year.  More than 50 percent of faculty members from OPHS have also gone to teach or perform research in China.

Yuanan Lu, a professor of environmental health, and Jay Maddock, director of OPHS, co-founded the expanding program, which now has a long waiting list of high-caliber candidates eager to participate.

Patent-worthy research such as genetic analysis techniques used to perform quick spot checks on water supplies to detect disease causing pathogens, which came out of Lu’s lab last summer, contributed to the eight peer-reviewed articles that have been published or pushed into pre-press since the program began four years ago. Other published papers include the impact of the Three Gorges Dam, sexual behavior in Chinese college students, stress in the workplace and environmental health.

Students spend four to six weeks at the respective universities conducting research that includes laboratory and data analysis, study design and gathering results. “The UH-China Public Health Partnerships program has had a positive impact on all three schools increasing the ability of faculty and students to work in multi-country settings to address global health issues,” said Maddock.

Maddock and Lu expect the thriving program to produce more promising research that will benefit and enhance the Hawaii-China connection.

For more information, visit the Office of Public Health Studies website at http://www.hawaii.edu/publichealth/index.html.

Top photo: Exchange students from Wuhan and Fuhan Universities in China visit the State Capital.

Feature: Taiwan’s seafaring history

Bamboo raft
Modern bamboo raft on the coast of Fujian, China.

An interest in the origins of Polynesia impelled University of Hawai‘i at Manoa archaeologist Barry Rolett to dig deep into the Earth’s core at one of China’s famous hot springs: Fuzhou Basin.  What was the quest of the Department of Anthropology professor so far from home?  To prove the theory that colonization of Polynesian and all Austronesian cultures can be traced to Taiwan.  Rolett and his team found convincing evidence that not only strengthens this belief, but also showed that seafaring played a huge role in shaping both Taiwan and the nearby coast of China.

Their research, reported in the April 2011 issue of Quaternary Science Reviews, indicates that rapid sea level rise in Fuzhou Basin on the southeast coast of the Fujian Province in China 9,000 years ago made it impossible for villagers to make a living from growing rice, the primary agricultural crop harvested by farmers in most other regions.  Since the lack of land needed for rice paddies in Fuzhou Basin prevented this type of food production, villagers took to open-sea voyaging—a type of seafaring associated with Austronesian origins.  They eventually made contact with Taiwan, located about 80 miles across the coast from the Fuzhou Basin.

This presumption contests the popular view by scientists that villagers in northern China spread the popularity of rice farming southward to the Fuzhou Basin. Sediment cores collected by Rolett and his team near the Tanshishan archaeological site, the center of a Neolithic culture that inhabited the Fuzhou Basin between 5,000 and 4,300 years ago, showed that sea-level change has dramatically transformed the landscape since then. The sites are located today on hills that are 50 miles from the coast, which once were little islands in the upper estuary.

Large amounts of shellfish remains indicate that the Tanshishan people relied heavily on maritime resources for their livelihood.  “They may have been the greatest navigators of their day,” said Rolett. Artifacts that were found, such as pottery and stone tools, were also discovered in Taiwan, suggesting that people from the Fuzhou Basin may have crossed the Taiwan Strait and ultimately established farming villages in Taiwan.

In combination with other genetic, linguistic and archaeological evidence found throughout the years, Rolett’s research also boosts the belief by experts that seafaring originating in the Taiwan Strait may be linked with the earliest Austronesians, whose populations include the people of Polynesia, Indonesia and the Philippines.  Robert Blust, a UH Mānoa professor of linguistics who also studies the origins of Austronesians, agrees that Taiwan was likely first settled by speakers of Austronesian languages.  “The archaeology of Neolithic settlement in insular Southeast Asia has supported this scenario completely, since pottery, animal domestication and agriculture make their appearance in Taiwan about a millennium earlier than they do in areas further to the south where Austronesian languages are spoken today,” said Blust.

Rolett’s research team members included Zhuo Zheng of the Department of Earth Sciences at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China, and Yuanfu Yue of the Institut de Sciences de l’Evolution at the Université Montpellier in France.  “This research helps us learn more about China’s rich history and culture, and also to understand how sea level change can transform our coastline,” said Rolett. “As our team had discovered, this can have a dramatic impact on the way we live in the future.”

For more information, contact Barry Rolett at (808) 956-7546 or rolett@hawaii.edu.

Top photo: A drilling rig was used to collect sediment cores documenting 10,000 years in the evolution of the Fuzhou Basin in Fujian, China. UH Mānoa Anthropology Professor Barry Rolett, at right, prepares to hand off one of the drill bits.

The modern city of Fuzhou, capital of Fujian Province in east China, is built on recently formed land. 6000 years ago, during the Neolithic era, this area was submerged as part of a large estuary that fostered the development of early seafaring in the Taiwan Strait.
UH Mānoa archaeologist Barry Rolett, at right, with Sun Yat-Sen University Geologist Zheng Zhuo and St. Andrew’s University student Landon Clay.
UH Mānoa archaeologist Barry Rolett does coring field work in the Fuzhou Basin of China.