The Coventry University East Asian Film Society (CUEAFS) was awarded the ‘Best Society Award’ at the Student Union Award Ceremony. With all the work they have put in, it is not a surprise they received the award.
“Last year we came third for best society and we were grateful for that, but obviously everyone wants to be a winner so we pushed it a bit more and we finally seemed to get the top award. I don’t think we expected it but we hoped that finally our hard work would pay off,” said Michelle Bailey who also won the award for Best Female in a Society.
Michelle was in Italy with the society at the Udine Far East Film Festival and couldn’t collect the award her self, but she said: “It was the best place to find out, when your working so hard in Italy, it gives you that extra push when your low on energy for being recognised for what your doing but it also gives us extra to push ourselves to the next level; this year we’re going for gold again.”
The past year for the society was filled with trials and tribulations, Antoniya Metodieva, secretary and Editor for the CUEAFS online newsletter, explained: “It was definitely a struggle because obviously we lost an important member, and a very vital member of the society and I think that kind of pushed us to work harder in order to honour her.”
The society not only have their film screenings once a year, they also take part in film festivals around the world. Michelle Bailey said: “The Udine film festival is the biggest one out of the South East Asian region. It’s a huge festival to go to and for us to have the opportunity to go there and continuously do so is huge but also great because once you’re there, you’re working in a professional platform.”
Written by Natasha De Silva – Third year student
President of the society Andreea Dascălu added: “we go out there with media accreditation, we’re not actually students there, we’re working alongside media professionals in the press room, we get interviews with actors, directors and producers and screen play writers. We film the interviews, we photograph, and we know most of the people there now because it would be the third year we have been there.”
Taking part in such film festivals are a great way of networking, especially for students who rarely get that opportunity. And if you’re planning a career in the industry it’s a great way of learning: “You’re sitting there and working, but the great thing about it is that you‘re hearing first hand, all these great experiences by these great film makers and they are giving you the most solid advice that you wouldn’t get sitting in university,” said Michelle.
The society will be organizing their own film festival this year, East Winds in partnership with Third Window Films, and plan to invite the contacts they made at the Udine Film Festival.
This will be the second series of the East Winds Film Festival, with the first one been held last year in memory of one of their members, at the Warwick Arts Centre. Andreea said: “ It was quite successful, on the opening night we screened ‘Confessions’ which was Japan’s entry to the Oscars.”
“People were literally at the back of the room standing because we had sold out but people still wanted to see the film so they stood up for two and a half hours to see this amazing film, which was a great way to start the festival. We were showing films that haven’t been on the big screen before from Third Window, so it was an opportunity for people to see these hidden gems that are so rare in the UK film industry,” added Michelle.
Film Festivals of this kind usually will be seen in London, but the CUEAFS is bringing them to Coventry.
“This year we’re trying to get the members of the society more involved in the whole organizational aspect so that we will get the proper idea of how to organize a festival. I think that’s a great opportunity for those who are in the society,” added Antoniya.
The society is currently recruiting new members, the roles include: The front of house team (stewards and duty managers), the journalism team, the AV team (filming and editing) and the Marketing and PR team.
“There’s a huge demographic of people in our society that isn’t just film buffs. There are producers, writers and journalists,” said Michelle.
Antoniya who is a Journalism student has been published many times on Cineview, a professional website who is in partnership with the society: “It’s a great way for us students to develop our skills in the field we’re trying to learn in. It provides a great platform to develop journalism, production or photography skills,” said Antoniya.
Furthermore, she added: “We’re not looking for people who are complete enthusiasts only about Asian film, because we learn the basic skills that every person in our industry needs regardless of what they want to do.”