Budget constraints and a busy production schedule originally led Millersville University’s Dr. Changfu Chang to forgo attending any film festivals. But when his recently co-produced project was nominated for two major festival awards, he changed his mind. That decision was made about a week before the first festival.
The project, which has been well received since its completion in July 2016, is “The Confucius Village.” This documentary chronicles the lives of a branch of Confucian descendants who emigrated to remote mountainous areas in Fujian, revealing their dedication and pride for the Confucian tradition despite challenges from more modern ways of life. Chang, a communications and theater professor at Millersville University, served as executive and co-producer of the feature, his most recent production with Jiandong Huang, his long-time collaborator.
“Even though I hadn’t planned to attend the premiere because of my work at hand, I immediately knew that it was a top priority for me to go,” Chang explains. “I made the travel plans the second day after being informed of the situation.”
As both festivals took place at the same time in two different locations across the world, the production team had to split up. Director Huang was accompanied by members of the crew at the Asia Rainbow TV Awards on Nov. 26 and Nov. 27 in Macau, China. Chang represented the production team at the Monaco International Film Festival, taking place from Nov. 28 through Dec.1 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
When Chang, Huang and their crew wrapped up this three year project a couple months ago, they immediately entered the film festival circuit. Nominations and honors began to reveal the excellence of their documentary on a global scale.
The Monaco International Film Festival selected “The Confucius Village” to kick off opening night with a world premiere. A party in the documentary’s honor followed the screening, titled a “China Night Party” and held in the prestigious Pacific Lounge Club. These tributes suggested that “The Confucius Village” was a favorite to win the festival’s Angel Film Award.
Chang’s late decision to travel to Monaco seemed to be the right one as he took the stage four times to receive the Best Feature Documentary, Best Feature Documentary Director, Best Produced Feature Film and Angel Peace Award Feature Film awards.
“It was so gratifying for me to represent our crew, to show the life of the lovely people in the Confucius village and to share with the enthusiastic audience about the production experience Jiandong and I, as well as the rest of the crew, had in the course of the production,” says Chang.
The documentary was also selected for the Asia Rainbow TV Awards, taking place at the same time in Macau. This film festival, the Chinese equivalent to the Emmy Awards, screens and awards the best television programs, including documentaries, from countries across the Asian continent. Director Huang represented the production team as “The Confucius Village” won Best Cinematography in the documentary feature category.
After the first round of the festival submissions, Huang, Chang and their team plan to update and shorten the 115-minute long documentary to begin screening across North America. One such screening of “The Confucius Village” will take place at Millersville University during an upcoming semester.