Standing Room Only for 'Imported from China' Premiere

Posted on: September 17, 2013

1239702_166098430249507_492129784_nNearly 300 people packed into three Communication Arts and Sciences rooms for the premiere on Sept. 16 of "Imported from China," a half-hour documentary created by a team of Media Sandbox students led by Journalism associate professor Geri Alumit Zeldes and Media and Information(TISM) instructor Troy Hale.

The documentary follows several Chinese international students as they navigate college life at MSU and within the United States. The film demonstrates how relationships are nurtured and shaped across cultural boundaries.

"In my head, I've been pulling quotes and paraphrasing from last night the panelists and audience members," Zeldes said. "The night was rich in anecdotes, like when a Chinese student suggested that a question that jump starts a conversation with an American student is 'What is...?,' and when an American grad student likened Americans to a 'peach' and the Chinese to a 'coconut.'"

Zeldes opened the event by giving some background information on the increase of the Chinese student population on campus.

In 2006, only 96 undergraduate students at MSU were from China. Today, out of eight MSU undergrads are from China.

"The film captures a change in our ecosystem that is causing small and big adjustments," Zeldes said. "The documentary covers just some of these transformations, but it's a good snapshot of this ongoing breaking story."

Following the film, there was a panel discussion made up of individuals featured in the documentary, an MSU professor studying second-language education, as well as those who were involved in creating the film.

The documentary will be screened again during the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs at the Kellogg Center Oct. 25-27.

Currently, the filmmakers are working with MSU Technologies to copyright and license the film so it can be distributed as a download and DVD. They want to send the film all over the country to various film festivals and would like to get it into university international departments and the library system.

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