2005 Inaugural Film Competition Winner Tony Mosher
My trip to Beijing was my first trip to China as well as my first trip to anywhere in Asia. Everyone I spoke to prior told me that it would be like traveling to another planet. I suppose in a way they were right, but it was a different planet too from that which they described. The city was like a story being written as I watched. A story about ancient life meeting the future head-on. If it's been even a few years since you've been, you don't know Beijing anymore. The hutongs of old have given way to a forest of cranes. They, in turn, will give way to a mountain range of skyscrapers. Bicycles and pedestrians now fight for space amidst streets and highways choked with cars. There's a McDonald's near Mao's tomb, a Starbucks down the street from the Forbidden City, and more smoky, all night internet cafes than you could ever need. But if China is becoming more familiar to the Westerner on the surface, there is still plenty that remains mysterious. Of all the things to see and do, photograph and eat, climb or walk through, it was the interactions, the discussions, stories shared, even the misunderstandings with the people we met along the way that were what made the experience so special and influential. And that was, after all, the point. Rose Chen and her Rose Group couldn't have been more effective at accomplishing their goal--to cultivate cross cultural understanding. I am unable to do justice to nor thank them enough for the opportunity to explore, experience, and ultimately, come a little closer to understanding the place and the culture that is China.