One of the proudest achievements last year via our ‘Future Talent Programme’ was Giulia D’Aquila, and here is her story.

The first edition of our annual Future Talent Programme was launched in 2020. Its objective is to provide a platform for students in the UK to gain practical experiences during their studies, as well as to testify and actualise their research informed ideas. The programme lasts one year from every September. The organisation supports their initiatives via our opportunities, network and resources. We are looking for individuals who have ideas and who are brave to put them into experiment. Any initiative or expertise is welcome, as long as they all follow the organisation’s missions and that your service, like the nature of the organisation, remains non-profit.

8 members were selected for the first edition of the programme and 12 members were selected for our second edition. Giulia D’Aquila was one of 8 members from our first programme.

Her proposed project to participate in the programme was to develop a PhD proposal on the topic of Chinese cinema. During her time with UK-China Film Collab, she gained experience from organising a film festival (Chinese Cinema Season), hosting a panel discussion as well as using social medias for audience engagement. Her original PhD proposal was titled ‘A call for Chinese environmentalist films: could focusing on sustainability be the next strategic move for Chinese cinema?’ This is a unique and original topic that has not been explored by academics before. It marks a new paradigm on how Chinese cinema can be researched and for what reasons, departing from common methodologies such as aesthetics analysis or audience reception studies. Its approach is more pragmatic with element in advocacy. The topic is forward-looking and closely related to current affairs. Giulia has now started her PhD studies at the Lau China Institute, King’s College with Professor Kerry Brown and Professor Astrid Nordin as her supervisors.

In October 2021, Giulia delivered a keynote speech related to her PhD research as part of the ‘China Week’ event at the King’s College, before a special screening of Stephen Chow’s film – The Mermaid (2017). While the whole week’s programme was dedicated to topics on the environment and China’s role in the world, Giulia’s talk was the only one that uses film to join in this important discussion. It provided an alternative perspective which was different from other speakers such as policy makers.

Giulia’s success exemplifies one of the missions of UK-China Film Collab, which is to use film as a medium to orchestrate cutting edge debates between the UK and Greater China, to open new spaces for dialogue, discussion and imagination.

Follow Giulia on LinkedIn here.