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I came to the United States from the People's Republic of China with an international award-winning background in television, including the Chinese equivalent of an "Emmy" award.
While pursuing my MFA at Temple University in Philadelphia, I was privileged to have my first documentary, Alice Liu's Adventures in America, screened at the 56th Cannes International Film Festival as part of the Kodak Emerging Filmmakers Showcase in 2003. Two others made during this period- an experimental film, Memory (16mm), and my thesis fiction, When I was Young (Super-16mm)- received prestigious awards and were screened at national and international film festivals, including the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. All three films were broadcasted on PBS. When I was Young (2004) won a UFVA (University Film and Video Association) Faculty Media Award and has been included in the textbook Voice & Vision: A Creative Approach to Narrative Film and DV Production by CUNY professor Mick Hurbis-Cherrier.
Being the producer, writer, director, cinematographer, and editor for most of my projects gives me the opportunity to embrace filmmaking thoroughly, which in turn informs my teaching. My classes at Champlain expose students to a range of international cinemas. Filmmaking thus becomes a means for students to be better connected both to their immediate communities as well as to the broader international community. I try to adopt a comparative and transnational perspective to the classroom, often pairing canonical works with its alternatives that help to situate them within broader international conversations.
Emphasizing not only the "look" but also the "soul", I encourage my students to think of film as a valuable means of self-expression and not merely as glossy entertainment. I steer them to tell genuine stories about their own backyards. On topics ranging from struggles through teenage in a divorced family to doubts of faith in the Bible Belt, student films produced in my classes have garnered both regional and national awards.