Supply and Demand
The good news is that there is a growing market for foreign and English-speaking child actors in China. “There will be more co-productions in China and more English-language films happening in the next couple of years,” says AuYeung.
AuYeung outlines the methods she uses to find talent in Beijing: “When I have a casting call, I contact all the schools. The drama teacher can tell you who would be the right fit for that particular role, so they [essentially] do the pre-screening. When [the recommendation] comes through a teacher, it legitimizes the whole process.” Case in point: Luke Carberry first heard about the casting call for The Karate Kid through his drama teacher at the Western Academy of Beijing (WAB).
Many filmmakers believe their art to be as valid as any piece of literature, but movies are often perceived as culturally less significant than other forms of media. While there are plenty of modern cinematic classics such as Up, it is true that many blockbuster films aimed at children depend too heavily on technical wizardry, action sequences and merchandising rather than highlighting positive messages or depth of characterization. Back in my school days, dimming the lights and firing up the movie projector was an infrequent treat, a lazy way for harried teachers to keep the kids amused while they took a breather or caught up on grading. It is little wonder that films in school have historically gotten a bad rap.
For the movie issue, beijingkids visits two classrooms in which teachers treat film as a legitimate art form by integrating cinema into the curriculum and enthusiastically exploring movies with their students. We observe a film appreciation club at the British School of Beijing and a film studies class at the Western Academy of Beijing.
Weekend Warrior: Lost with the Phoenix - A window into ancient life in one of China’s most beautiful towns
Mainly inhabited by Miao and Tujia minorities, Fenghuang (凤凰) lies at the western border of Hunan province. It is a well-preserved ancient town that takes visitors back to the China of hundreds of years ago.
Cross the stone bridge over the Tuo River, stroll down the paved roads, and meander through alleys filled with the fragrance of handmade ginger candy. Stay in one of the suspended houses built on the riverbank at the bottom of mountains; you will feel like staying forever.
Fenghuang is Chinese for “phoenix,” the mythical bird that returns to life by rising from its own ashes. The town’s history can be traced back to the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) but it only got the name “Fenghuang” during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). According to legend, two phoenixes flew over the town and found it so beautiful that they hovered over it and were reluctant to leave.
When you think “ice hockey,” the first country that comes to mind is Canada, where it enjoys a fervent following as the official winter sport. Hockey is also a national obsession in other northern countries like Finland, Sweden, and Russia, all of which consistently produce top-notch Winter Olympics teams.
It was European immigrants who first brought hockey-like games to North America, where the sport was adapted for the continent’s icy winter conditions and eventually evolved into its modern form. Ice hockey in the mid-1800s was often played on frozen rivers, lakes or ponds, with players improvising protective gear by strapping cheese cutters onto their boots.
China has not traditionally been a contender in what has been nicknamed “the fastest game on earth.” However, the sport is gaining traction in Beijing thanks to a combination of expat initiative and growing interest from local kids.
Family Travels: Euro Trippin’ - With many of Europe’s sights so close to each other, why visit just one?
The Paschke Family
Travelers: Carrie Paschke, her husband Dan, their sons Micah (age 9) and Cameron (age 6), and their daughter Kinley (age 2). Micah and Cameron both attend The International Montessori School of Beijing.
Destinations: Breda and Amsterdam, Netherlands; Brussels, Belgium; Prague, Czech Republic.
Dates: September 26-October 6, 2013
Travel plans: The family flew from Beijing to Amsterdam via Frankfurt with Lufthansa. Afterwards, they took a train to Breda and rode in a friend’s car to Brussels. From Belgium, they flew to Prague with Brussels Airlines before catching another Lufthansa flight back to Beijing (with an unexpected stop in Seoul due to “fog”). The family booked and planned everything themselves with help from friends and travel websites.
Cost: Approximately RMB 67,000 in total. Flights to and from Beijing (and from Brussels to Prague) cost around RMB 10,000 per person. The hotel worked out to RMB 1,000 per night for the family and overall spending money came to about RMB 12,000 (including food, entrance fees, local transportation, and souvenirs).
What's Fun In: Peeking at Beijing’s Universities - There is more to autumn in the capital than Xiangshan
One of the most striking features of autumn in Beijing is the changing of the leaves. From now until mid-November, we can expect to see the city’s foliage turning bright shades of yellow, orange, and red. Fragrant Hills (Xiangshan) might be the most popular destination to appreciate the changing of the seasons, but it also tends to be one of the busiest.
Tantalize your tastebuds for American Thanksgiving on November 28 by gobbling up traditional dishes like roast turkey and pumpkin pie at dining venues including Aroma’s, Grand Millenium, The Filling Station, and The Grand Hyatt.
We have a confession to make. Except for our Shunyi Correspondent, none of the editors at beijingkids have kids. For the most part, we're able to make up our lack of experience through research, interviews, and getting to know families in Beijing. However, there are times when research only goes so far. For instance, we can't possibly understand what it's like to bring a child into the world. So, we turned to the people who know best: our readers. For the maternity issue, we spoke to eight families about their experiences of being pregnant and giving birth in Beijing. In addition, we asked mothers and parenting experts about the best way to have an intervention-free birth. We hope that you'll find guidance and encouragement from their stories.
At first, having a natural birth in Beijing can seem like a daunting task. Living in a foreign country can be intimidating enough, but when you add potential language barriers and unfamiliarity with the Chinese healthcare system to the mix, fear and worry will inevitably emerge. Expectant mothers and their partners want nothing short of a “perfect” birth. For many, this means giving birth naturally. The good news is that this isn’t as difficult to accomplish in Beijing as one might think.
Shangrila Farms has run beekeeping programs in Yunnan for low-income farmers for several years, but July marked the first time that it offered workshops for city-dwellers in Beijing. We recently met up with Co-Founder and CEO Sahra Malik (pictured below) to learn more about the humble honey bee.
At Shangrila Farms’ head office on Xindong Lu, we stepped through a window to find a covered atrium with two large bee boxes. Hundreds of bees buzzed through the air and around our heads but Sahra assured us that Chinese bees are much milder than some of their foreign counterparts. “We have protective gear available, but most people don’t end up using it,” she said.