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American Teachers in Chengdu

American Teachers in Chengdu



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One-Hour HD Documentary (2022)

Located in central Sichuan Province, Chengdu is home to over 20 million people.  Included in that number are two American teachers who have made the capital of Sichuan Province their home. Through their weeklong journey they explore some of the city’s amazing sites and share their feelings about living in one of China’s most diverse and economically important cities in Southwest China.

Both teachers, Michael from Nebraska and Wesley from Connecticut, discuss similar experiences about living in China and America.  From shopping at a local farmer’s market, to exploring the city on a full moon bike ride and playing on a softball team, there are many commonalities between their lives in Chengdu and their lives in America.

And there are many differences as the teachers become students traveling to Chengdu’s historical and modern sites including the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding outside of the city center. As the only research facility in the world located in an urban area, the park is a rare opportunity for people to view pandas and understand efforts to conserve wildlife.

At each historical site they visited they learned more about the history of Chengdu. At the Wuhou Temple in Southern Chengdu they viewed ancient stone scrolls dating back to 808 AD. They saw traditional and modern architecture at the Huanglongxi Ancient Town. And a stunning prefab building with a figure eight rooftop juxtaposed to the Daoming Bamboo Craft Village where they learned basket weaving. At the Wide and Narrow Alleys, they watched classical ear cleaning.  And the insights they share about viewing artifacts at the archeological site of Sanxingdui dating back to 12th to 11th Century BC are interwoven with historical facts that provide a history lesson for the viewing audience.  Tasty treats at an old teahouse that featured a traditional face changing performance and a traditional hot pot meal round out their weeklong adventure.

The journey of American teachers in Chengdu provides a glimpse into what it’s like living and teaching English in the busy city.  More importantly are the connections they’ve made and the teachable moments they share as part of a global community.





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One-Hour HD Documentary (2021)

A rare travel documentary shot in China during the Covid-19 pandemic. 2020 was an exceptional year as the world experienced a global health crisis. In the midst of quarantines and countries shutting down their borders two American women found their way back home to China.  Alden McDonald, an actress and Gina Falzon, a photographer, consider Shanghai their home.  The two friends traveled to Yinchuan during the pandemic with certain restrictions that gave them the freedom to move safely through the city.

Yinchuan, the capital of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, has remarkable historical sites from Helan Mountain to the Baisikou Twin Pagoda and the Great Wall Ruins.  However, within the city is a modern-day facility fast outpacing Hollywood studios. Zhenbeibu Western Film Studio is a converted castle from the Qing and Ming dynasties that has produced over 200 films.  Walk through the studio with the pair as they discuss how it differs from American movie sets.

Then visit a family from Minning Town, a development 20 plus years in the making and home to immigrants in the region.  Minning Town is China’s example of how the country developed a town in the Gobi Desert into a model for “poverty-alleviation.”

As foodies, their gastronomic adventure went from hand rolled noodle soup, to traditional handheld mutton to wine tasting at the Lansai Winery.  Perhaps compared with Napa Valley, wine making in this region of China is fast becoming a world competitor in the industry.

Another import into the country is graffiti art. Meet Ma Xiao a well-known artist in Yinchuan as he paints a picture of modern-day Chinese artwork.

For many, the global health crisis was a shock to global economies as people were restricted from travel and the norms of the past.  For Alden and Gina turning tragedy into an opportunity fueled their exploration of one of China’s unique and enterprising cities.

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