2020-08-07 11:51:35

Judges with Magnolia Award: Focus on story’s quality & energy

On the morning of August 5, the meeting of judges for Magnolia Award of the 26th Shanghai TV Festival (STVF) was held, including Chinese judges for Dramas, Documentaries and Animations. Due to COVID-19 epidemic, the selection of the Magnolia Award was conducted in a way that the Chinese judges concentrated in Shanghai and the international judges participated online for the first time. Zheng Xiaolong, chairman of the jury said at the meeting that the Magnolia Award judges are under heavy pressure this year. He said, “As this year's TV series first broadcast on major video website also joined the selection of Chinese TV drama, the Magnolia Award considers more works with various subjects. Obviously, the overall shows a higher level. So, Judging TV series this year is a difficult thing, which is a test for our judges.”

Feel energy from works as audience

The 26th STVF has collected more than 800 works from 48 countries and regions, among which, 60 works or dramas won the Magnolia Award, including 15 series from China and 10 from other countries. The five judges of Chinese TV series have won the Magnolia Award at previous STVF, even including the chairman of the jury. Zheng Xiaolong, who has served as chairman of the Magnolia Award TV series jury for the third time, said that Shanghai is a modern and fashionable city, with the spirit of contract and responsibility of Shanghai residents, as well as their warmth and tolerance. He added, “So I am willing to come to Shanghai, to cooperate with my friends here, and to do something for the development of Chinese films and TV series.”

For determination of selection criteria, Director Shen Yan said that the review is a process of discussion, learning and communication among the judges. “I believe everyone has their own criteria and feelings”. While according to Liang Hong, a judge for documentary held her principle that “it should be interesting first and then meaningful and valuable”. Wang Lei, judge of the animation, said that animation is in a changing era, which is no longer designed only for our children. This year's works winning Magnolia Awards reflect the characteristics of the Times, and both children's animation and adult animation are selected. This is also a challenge for our judges.

Actors He Bing and Yin Tao served as judges of this year's STVF Magnolia Award for Chinese drama. He Bing said that his transition from actor to judge will inevitably be stressful and his judging criteria is whether the work has touched him. He said, “When I watch a drama or any actor performing, firstly, I will adjust myself to the mentality as an audience to feel whether the performance really infected me and conquered me.” While Yin Tao admitted that her attendance as a judge for Magnolia Award is a study experience for her. She believed, “To improve the quality of a drama, you should watch a whole production process from a judge's point of view in a more comprehensive manner, including how to combine together by the cooperation of each creative department.”

Web dramas should be more defined

Some TV dramas firstly broadcast on major video platforms has been included in the selection of this year’s Magnolia Awards. THE LONGEST DAY IN CHANG'AN, QING YU NIAN and WINTER BEGONIA are the topic of hot discussion among audiences. Zheng Xiaolong confirmed and welcomed the inclusion of web dramas. He pointed out that with the selection of Magnolia Awards, web dramas should develop into defined works by focusing on content production. Mr. Zheng expressed, “To tell good stories, discover appropriate actors, and discover humanity and characters can sustain the development of web dramas in the long run.”

As web dramas develop rapidly, the accompanying double speed viewing and short video clips also bloom on the Internet, for which judges also made their comments. Li Xiao, judge and producer of this year's Chinese TV dramas, said that while the script-writers had their own control and imagination when writing the script, the multiple speed broadcast on online platforms broke the plot rhythm. As a result, the original creative ideas cannot be reflected. In this regard, Mr. Zheng humorously responded that some people watch TV series at double speed, which is very funny. At double or triple speeds, our audiences just cannot understand what the characters say. He said, “If so, I don't think it would be worth that trouble.”
Xi Xiao cannot agree with it more when it comes to the shock from short videos. “Our many excellent dramas which follow the growing and changing fates of a group of people, needs the patience of our audiences to feel these ups and downs. However, the short video attracts their attention quickly.” Li said. From her point of view, in the Internet age, the distraction of the audience and the loss of patience are inevitable, but the two should find complementary space rather than competing against each other. Shen Yan believed, “What we should do is to make long videos better and better, and get more people back to focusing on our long videos.”

An excellent story never choose a certain of type or subject

At the meeting, Liang Hong, documentary judge and director and producer of CCTV Documentary Channel, talked about her feelings of participating in this special form of judging. Due to the epidemic, international judges could only judge with her in a virtual mode by connection, but she did not feel lonely. She expressed, “Because documentaries bring us closer together as human beings, including our hearts.” In 2020, some webcast documentaries were selected for the Magnolia Award, which Liang believed should be encouraged. “Many young people are becoming more and more enthusiastic about documentaries. In the past two or three years, documentaries on new media have been particularly popular, which is good for the documentary industry. It allows a cultural work, which discloses a little ivory tower meaning, to access to the public”, she said.

Wang Lei, director and screenwriter of the animation, mentioned that the selected works this year featured rich and diverse themes. He pointed out, “Some works are made for our children, extremely warm and educational; while some are for adults, including some animations featuring cutting-edge and experimental art, and some popular works on the Internet by our young audiences.” In spite of the variety, Wang believed that the core of animation is still the story; after all, a good story never considers types or subjects. He said, “For an animation, the most important is telling a good story other than a visual spectacle.”


Host Units: State Administration of Radio and Television   China Media Group   Shanghai Municipal People's Government

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