Film shows Xinjiang youth studying in cities across China

By Xu Fan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-09-17 08:26:42

During the past 15 years, nearly 70,000 ethnic teenagers from Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region have been recruited to study at inland city high schools.

Now, a coming-of-age film inspired by the project, a national program, will be ready for moviegoers in the upcoming months.

A Place Where the Dream Begins, produced to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the autonomous region, will be released in cities involved with the educational program.

The premiere date has yet to be decided.

Opening with a class of Uygur youngsters eager to pursue better education in Shanghai, the feature-length title chronicles their campus life, interwoven with the youngsters' friendship and their readiness to face challenges.

One of the most impressive scenes features a family in Xinjiang that paves a road with planks overnight for the visiting Shanghai teachers, after a heavy rain destroys the dirt alley.

"The plot is based on reality," says the scriptwriter, Su Lei.

"Schoolteachers accompany ethnic students going home during the summer vacation. The longest trip sometimes takes one week."

Su tells China Daily that the crew interviewed students and teachers in 45 cities around the country in nearly 90 high schools, which have set up the special programs for teenagers from Xinjiang.

"We've heard many touching stories and adapted some of them into the script. It's a grand theme, but we seek to narrate the storyline from a personal point of view."

He says the movie will showcase modern Xinjiang as a backdrop with its picturesque scenes and economic development.

For Gao Huanggang, president of Tianshan Mountain Film Studio, which is producing the movie, it is "an artistic form to transfer dreams regardless of borders and ethnicities".

"We want to show the world through the film the tremendous changes in Xinjiang and the prosperous and harmonious lives of locals," he says.

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