MFA(CP) graduate scoops awards at Asia Pacific film festival

Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) (MFA(CP)) graduate Miya Wang’s short film The Other Side of the World has taken out eight awards at the Asia Pacific International Filmmaker Festival in Indonesia, including awards for scriptwriting, directing, and editing.

Miya Wang with her cast and crew
Miya Wang (centre left) and the cast and crew of The Other Side of the World

Before joining the MFA(CP) Film programme, Miya was an experienced creative writer in the Chinese advertising industry. She was drawn to explore production and directing after the success of her mini-movie for Pepsi Cola, The Monkey King Family. Miya decided to look outside of China to study, exploring programmes in the United States, France, and New Zealand.

She narrowed in on New Zealand not only because of its reputation as a peaceful, naturally beautiful, and culturally diverse country, but because of the growth the film industry is experiencing here. “I predicted I could get more opportunities in New Zealand than in other saturated markets elsewhere,” Miya says. She was drawn to Wellington because of Peter Jackson and his companies being here.

Miya’s journey to the  MFA(CP) was not straightforward. After completing Victoria University of Wellington’s English Proficiency Programme, she returned to China to await the next MFA(CP) intake. Despite the period between programmes and that many people close to Miya couldn’t believe she was giving up her successful advertising career to study in Wellington, she was determined. “The initial Skype interviews caught my attention. I’d never seen any other interviewers like these three teachers. They were patient and cherished students’ talent, regardless of their language ability,” she explains.

Miya studied the MFA(CP) Film programme at the University’s newest facility, the Miramar Creative Centre, situated amongst the Weta Group buildings in Miramar, Wellington. She found the support from both students and staff at the Miramar Creative Centre integral to the completion and success of her film. Her film crew and cast included many of her classmates, as well as other students and graduates of the University. “Although The Other Side of the World was my project, the success belongs to my whole crew and cast ,” she says.In addition, the MFA(CP) programme provided practical advice on submitting films to festivals.  One assignment asked the students to prepare press kits for their films, while supervisor Dr Paul Wolffram offered guidance on finding the most appropriate festivals.

As for Miya’s future, she is looking for writing and directing opportunities in Wellington to continue with cross-cultural and China–New Zealand collaboration projects. She is also hoping there is more good news to come for The Other Side of the World from other international festivals.