Studio Salford and Chinese Consulate General in Manchester bring Engels’ story to life in films

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

To mark the 200 year anniversary of the birth of Friedrich Engels, one of the founding fathers of socialism, the Chinese Consulate General in Manchester has commissioned Studio Salford, the University of Salford’s in-house creative agency, to produce a series of films to mark his remarkable life. 

A colourful 12-minute documentary, focusing on the time Engels spent living in Salford and Manchester, played first at a special event on 26 November. The event, organised by the Chinese Consulate General, was supported by The University of Salford, Chethams School of Music and The International Association of Marx-Engels Humanity Exchange. The film was then broadcast with the event summary on the Chinese Consulate General in Manchester Subscribe Account to a captive audience of over 5,000. The event was also covered by overseas media including China Media Group reaching an even bigger audience,

The film featured interviews with the University of Salford’s history experts Professor Alaric Searle and Professor John Callaghan, who explained the impact living in Salford and Manchester had on Engels’ life. Edited by Studio Salford’s talented Media Production Manger Luke Dudley, it also featured contributions from the Working Class Movement Library and The Science and Industry Museum.

Coordinated by the Chinese Consulate General in Manchester, the team also produced a series of four short three-minute films for social media with China Media Group (CMG) in Beijing and CMG Europe , to be shared both in the UK and China. Narrated by current University of Salford students, each video examines an aspect of Engels’ life, from how he continues to inspire people in the UK to if the Communist manifesto still lives on.

The films were overseen by the School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology’s Yibing Wang and Beth Hewitt along with Danny Hua Bai from CCTV EU, edited by Matthew Robinson, and translated by Yuhong Song, Choufei Chen, Xiaowei Lu and Yanzhen He and proof-read by Tingting Wang. The first was shown in China over the weekend and has been viewed an impressive 250,000 times (by 30 November).

Professor Allan Walker, Dean of the School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology, said: “This project truly embodies the spirit of co-creation. The University has forged a strong relationship with the CCGM and on a personal level I am delighted to have formed a valued alliance with the Consul General and his wife."

I am pleased that 13 of our talented students have contributed to the making of this exciting content. Being part of this fast-paced collaboration has given them fantastic experience which they will undoubtedly benefit from going forward.”

Sam Ingleson, Associate Dean of Enterprise & Engagement, added: “It was exciting to see talent from across Studio Salford come together to work on this exciting project, with worldwide appeal. The result was a collection of engaging films that I’m sure will educate and inspire. According to Yibing Wang, the bilingual project coordinator, the Chinese Consulate has given a positive feedback about the work and were impressed about the flexibility and efficiency shown by the team from Studio Salford.

“The work builds on a film we produced earlier this alongside industry producer Sunny Kang and German production company Bilderfest, with support from colleagues in the School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology. As you might imagine, the challenge of creating an international film amid lockdown restrictions was no mean feat, but the finished work was a real success.”

The two-part documentary, commissioned by China International Television Cooperation (project manager Liu Zi’ang), edited from 2000 minutes footage taken in Manchester, London, Berlin, Barmen, Bremen, Cologne, France, Netherlands, and Belgium was shown on Chinese television networks CCTV-1, CCTV-4 and CCTV-9 (China Central Television, former name of CMG) on 28-29 December 2020.

The University of Salford was also honoured to be invited to attend the online Chinese New Year Celebration hosted by Chinese Consulate General Manchester on 8 February. Thanks go to CCGM for their work with the University and their contribution to maintaining the strong friendship between China and Britain.

Watch the Friedrich Engels documentary

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