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COM Students Commended at TVB Documentary Competition

A group of eight students from the Department of Media and Communication (COM) won the Commendation Award at the 2017 TVB Inter- Collegiate Documentary Competition for their short film Back and Forth (不進則退).

Back and Forth is about a five-year-old boy's struggle with cerebral palsy, which is sometimes described as “brain paralysis”. The condition was first noticed when he was only eight months old and greatly affected his growth and development. So far, there is no effective cure, and the story centres on how his parents, especially his mother, work hard to give him a better life.

The student crew followed and recorded the life of the family for around six months. The cameras were rolling during regular school days, home visits and medical therapies. The filmmakers also had the chance to document the family's therapy routine in Taiwan, an opportunity they really valued. To give a fuller perspective on the condition, the crew also interviewed Dr FONG To-sang Dawson about his extensive experience in neurosurgery.

The documentary delivers a positive message about being positive and not giving up. Instead of using traditional voice-over techniques to present the story, the students opted to link the scenes with sound bites from different interviewees. This approach is quite difficult to pull off without very comprehensive research and a carefully thought-out framework to connect everything.

Mr KWAN Wai Peter and MA Wang-wai were the teachers responsible for supervising the project. They discussed the best approach with the students, listened to their ideas, and gave pertinent advice. They appreciated the efforts the filmmakers put in and believe COM students will be even more proactive when participating in future competitions.

The winning group who took home the Commendation Award included Johnny CHAN, Frankie CHAN, Kelly CHAN, CHAN Yan Ming, Eunice KWAN, Kylie KWAN, Hayley LAM and Charles WONG.

A Grand Jury Prize plus two Commendation Awards are presented each year. Participants from local tertiary institutions are required to produce a documentary of around nine minutes on social issues in Hong Kong. This has to comply with the Generic Code of Practice on Television Advertising and Programming Standards set by the Communications Authority. The full version of the COM students' winning work was aired on September 2, 2017 on TVB Jade.