2005 Inaugural Film Competition Winner Caryn Waechter

The first week of May, I was one of three lucky filmmakers flown to China by means of The Rose Group. My film "God is Good" was chosen because it dealt with cross-cultural diversity in America in a narrative and artistic medium. The film was screened as part of the Beijing Student Film Festival along with other films by Kit Hui and Tony Mosher. Before a packed theatre of Chinese-film lovers, I was also an American delegate to talk about the cultural impact of Pulp Fiction and Easy Rider.

While it was fascinating to see how the Chinese truly appreciate film, I was also thoroughly focused on experiencing as much of the people and culture outside of the movie theatre as I could during my limited stay. Early each morning, I would explore new territory with three other filmmakers: Kit, Tony, and Tony's producer, Mitch Larson. We were eager to attack the city of Beijing with force and vigor; Our cameras ready to aim and shoot. Carrying around five cameras during my daily excursions, I was a filmmaker on a mission to document. After a week-long stay in Beijing, I continued on my own to the fantastic modern city of Shanghai.

From start to finish, it truly was an enlightening and spiritual journey for me and it was the best birthday gift ever! (I celebrated my birthday on arrival in Beijing.) Traveling on my own is one of the best experiences. I met wonderful new people and learned a lot about Chinese life and culture by just roaming the non-touristy alleys. Traveling to Asia for the first time, I learned how vast the world is. The world we live in can be very narrow and many luxuries can be taken for granted. Let's just say that I am already thinking of when I will return to Asia. Always intrigued with other cultures, this trip has brought inspiration and vigor to my art. This trip to China truly made me realize that I want to continue to make films that explore foreign cultures. Perhaps, I would embark upon developing a script to take place in China.

Many friends and family members keep asking me, "How was your trip to China?"

"It was fabulous. No, scratch that. It was OUT OF THIS WORLD!" I know that words cannot recreate the amazing experience that has enriched my life forever, therefore I had to tell my story through 150 pictures from a collection of 1,500. Rather than retelling my story again and again, I told my story by means of a photo journal including detailed captions describing what I learned, witnessed, and felt during my ten-day stay in Beijing and Shanghai. The new friends, memories, and experiences will forever remain in my mind. And with my photos, I am able to share this unforgettable journey with others.

Thanks to Rose and her hard efforts to bring people together across the world simply by what is captured on celluloid! She made a special mark in my growth as an artist and as an individual. Many thanks to The Rose Group! I look forward to my return to Beijing...

Caryn Waechter

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