In the fall of 2019, our partners at the University of Kentucky Office of China Initiatives (formerly the University of Kentucky Confucius Institute) approached us about creating a 10 year anniversary documentary to commemorate a decade of the UK Confucius Institute and it’s invaluable contributions the university both at home and abroad. After an initial bid and pre-production phase, Media Collaboratory geared up to produce a documentary style video that hit upon not only the UKCI’s impact from an academic, cultural, diplomatic, and economic standpoint, but also from an emotional, personal story-driven one as well.
As main production started in early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic quickly changed our approach to the production and the video as a whole. We quickly switched to a virtual format that allowed us and the client to retain the core message while also recording interviews from a broader and more diverse group of interviewees that really expanded up the broader emotional story of the UKCI. Media Collaboratory was also able to flesh out the full post-production phase with both our and the UKCI’s extensive archival of primary source media materials (Media Collaboratory had originally produced and co-directed a marketing video for the UKCI in 2014 that led to them being recognized as the Confucius Institute of the Year out of 470 institutes worldwide).
The closing of the UKCI and reorganization of its staff to the UK Office of China Initiatives further presented challenges by changing the scope and final narrative, but we keep the fundamental underpinnings of the story and approach the same, much to the satisfaction of the client. We successfully completed a film that underscored all the successes and tribulations after 10 years of UKCI/OCI to a premiere on campus and various prominent administration. The film will serve as a long stand oral/video history of the UKCI and will also be shown in China.