International student Jiangyan Chen has joined a select group of cinematic achievers honoured with a Pania statuette.
The 27-year-old from China was presented with the coveted Pania trophy at a premiere of EIT ideaschool screen production student movies staged this week at Napier’s MTG.
The gold-leaf statuette, inspired by the landmark statue of Te Pania in Napier’s Marine Parade gardens, is awarded annually to the diploma programme’s top achiever. The award, which includes camera equipment sponsored by Auckland companies Staples Productions and Photogear, celebrates the winner’s overall output, team work and performance.
“Winning the award was like an Oscar for me,” says Jiangyan, who chose New Zealand for further study because of its “pristine” environment.
From Xiantao in Hubei province, he progressed from post production film-making studies in Shanghai to working for Beijing-based Gvitech Technologies, one of the biggest 3D Geographic Information System providers in China.
After three years in Beijing, Jiangyan says opting to study in New Zealand was a good call. His spoken English has improved and he has enjoyed Hawke’s Bay’s sunny climate and relative quiet after the clamour of one of China’s most populous cities.
Currently flatting in Pirimai, he anticipates Auckland or Wellington will become the base for building his career. “I’m very interested in camera work and lighting too. Actually, becoming a director of photography is my career goal.”
And, finding New Zealanders a sharing and helpful people, he hopes to become a kiwi himself.
Screen production programme coordinator Claire McCormick says opportunities are opening up for film industry graduates like Jiangyan as a result of the Government’s co-production agreement with China.
Signed last year, the treaty provides incentives and subsidies that makes film-making more attractive for companies in both countries.
Jiangyan, who hasn’t been back to China since arriving in New Zealand, admits to occasional bouts of homesickness. With parents and an older sister very excited about his Pania success, he is all the more keen to see them again and may return to his homeland for a holiday next year.
He says he is very appreciative of the support he has had from them as well as from tutors and classmates at EIT.
“I will miss Hawke’s Bay, but I can always come back.”