The “American Film Showcase,” a program collaborated between the U.S. Department of State and USC (University of Southern California), came to Shanghai University recently and brought my longtime friend and award-winning documentary filmmaker Mark J. Harris, best known for his Oscars winning films Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000) and The Long Way Home (1997), to the university campus. It was exhilarating to see Mark in a different setting. Mark was accompanied by Jim Bigham, director of For Once in My Life (2010), a documentary that was shown at the 2012 Guangzhou Documentary Film Festival and has already won several prestigious prizes.
I chaired the morning session, during which Mark and Jim spoke on a variety of issues concerning documentary filmmaking and answered questions from an enthusiastic crowd, mostly Shanghai University’s MFA students. Mark also showed a student documentary on autism collaborated between a USC and a CUC (Communication University of China) film student.