A documentary that centers on the cross-cultural experience of China's "parachute students" sent by parents to study at U.S. schools has begun its nationwide rollout and immediately won hearts of Chinese students and community.
The Maineland, directed by award-winning filmmaker Miao Wang, is a multi-layered coming-of-age tale that follows two affluent and cosmopolitan Chinese teenagers as they settle into a boarding school in blue-collar rural state of Maine.
"I like it very much, it raises awareness among the community as how to provide language, culture and consulting services to Chinese students," David Chen, a resident in New York, who was among the first to watch the film Friday evening. Chen himself was a "parachute student" 50 years ago.
"It made me cry. My friends and I have all came across many difficulties when we started our study here," said Linda Huang, a senior from a liberal art college in New York state. "Life in the U.S. is not like the one we read about in China. We got lots of pressure. But we are hesitant to tell our parents back in China about the frustrations and challenges. We do not want to let them down."
The Maineland is part two of Wang's trilogy of films looking at the changing sociocultural environment of contemporary China as well as engendering mutual understandings in U.S.-China relations.
"I was born in Beijing and moved to the U.S. at age 13. I seek the balance between pushing boundaries of the form through poetic and lyrical story telling, and illuminating the larger context of contemporary social issues," Wang said of her documentary films in an interview with Xinhua.
Wang left with the audience at the end of the film many important questions concerning Chinese students in the United States.
Shot over three years in China and the United States, the film won a Special Jury Award for Excellence in Observational Cinema at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference & Festivals in 2017.
Over 370,000 students from the Chinese mainland are enrolled in American high schools and universities -- six times more than a decade ago -- with 11.4 billion U.S. dollars contributed to the American economy.