On April 12th, the Youth Science Film Section of the 9th BJIFF & the 1st Beijing International Youth Science Film Selection and Screening Activity -- Science Films Sharing Session Presented by the Organizing Committee of the BJIFF was successfully held at Beijing Science Center. The cast and crew of Skyfire, China’s first visual-effects disaster film, were invited to attend the activity. The leading roles Ma Xinmo and Li Yiqing, associate producer Wang Shan, visual effects artist Wu Haoyun, sound director Liu Xiaosha and others were present at the scene of the activity, sharing and exploring the stories behind the creation of science videos with more than 130 students from the Czech Republic, Russia as well as Hong Kong and Macau.
Skyfire shares equivalent quantity of special effects shots to The Wandering Earth with visual effects in volcano that have never been seen before
Skyfire tells a story that the Chinese shows great love and courage in face of abrupt volcanic eruption: a haven of peace is turned into an extremely dangerous place at the moment, and the fate of geologists, travel explorers and all locals is tied together. A thrilling rescue and escape begins.
As China’s first visual-effects disaster film with the subject of volcano, Skyfire shares equivalent quantity of special effects shots to The Wandering Earth. According to the visual effects artist Wu Haoyun, at the moment of the volcanic eruption, the process of lava flows is the biggest challenge we faced, because the scenes like ours are rarely seen and the information is also very scarce. It can only be studied through repeated observations of precious videos. “Created in partnership with some of the world’s top special effects companies, it is believed that Skyfire will present the audience unprecedented visual effects in volcano.” The sound director Liu Xiaosha demonstrated the simulated sound effects of volcanic eruption on the spot, shared the analog audio produced by herself, and guided the audience to guess what the sound was, thus pushing the atmosphere of the activity to a climax.
Non-physical performance is the biggest challenge in the extremely difficult shooting process
As a super visual-effects film, many of the scenes in Skyfire were filmed against the backdrop of blue screens or green screens, which is an acid test of the performance ability of actors. “A number of non-physical performing scenes during the filming process completely relies on imagination, representing a good opportunity for an actor to grow,” said Ma Xinmo. Li Yiqing, the youngest nominee of The People’s Hundred Flowers Awards for Best New Artist, is a young “veteran” actor. A crying scene in Skyfire impressed her deeply, where the role she plays is rescued by an unacquainted man from a sea of fire when she is in a desperate situation. She said: “This scene even makes me feel very moved now.” But in fact, the filming process was completed depending on non-physical performance. She moved to tears long after preparing her mood, and could not stop tears for a long time.
There were also various difficulties during the process of shooting Skyfire. “The shooting scene often ran over with a lot of cinerite, which flied into the eyes of the actors to block their sight. And the staff could only work with a hat and mask,” said the associate producer Wang Shan who expatiated the difficulties in the shooting process. “When the scene of car crash for the first time was shot, the wire rope was broken and the car fell off the cliff.” As for the quality of the film, Wang counted Skyfire as “a movie full of futurism”.
Youth science film achievements have been made, along with admired fancy originality
Youth representatives from the Czech Republic, Russia as well as Hong Kong and Macau also took the stage to showcase their own science videos, including The Birth of Mandarin Duck, a scientific research documentary filmed through 12-month careful observation, Storm, a scientific micro-movie about the friendship between Sima Zijin and Shangguan Yunque and The Story of Li Shizhen, a scientific animation from Macau.
The cast and crew of Skyfire, who were inspired by their novel ideas and innovation, commented on their works from the aspects of storyline, cinematography and music, and made practical suggestions for improvement, which made these little filmmakers on the site agog. After that, the students were inspired to learn more, saying “We have learned a lot this time and hope to become a real filmmaker in the future.”
Youth Science Film Section of the 9th BJIFF & the 1st Beijing International Youth Science Film Selection and Screening Activity is guided by the Beijing Association for Science and Technology, organized by the Beijing Youth Activity Center and the Beijing Municipal Youth Science and Technology Education Association, and co-organized by the Beijing Science Center and QC Maker Education Research Institute. This activity, themed “Explore Science and Chase Dreams”, aims to encourage young people to have a dream about science and technology, improve their scientific literacy, and enable them to show their youthful spirit and cultural self-confidence with Chinese style and capital emotion. The related activities gave teenagers the opportunities to get close to the cutting-edge technologies in the film industry, feel the scientific charm and artistic beauty of film and television works, and tribute to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China by creating outstanding youth science videos.