“Guarding the Future with Childlike Innocence” – Adding Color to the “Canvas”  Healing Documentary Film “The Starting Line On The Canvas” has its Guangzhou Premiere

On May 30, 2023, “The Starting Line On The Canvas”, a documentary film about children with special needs produced by Guangzhou Radio and Television under the guidance of the Propaganda Department of the Guangzhou Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, and directed by famous director Xiang Yimin, held a “Premiere in Guangzhou” event at Guangzhou Qing Gong Cinema City, announcing the film’s warm release on June 1 Children’s Day.

The film’s director Xiang Yimin and Guangzhou Children’s Palace teacher Guan Xiaolei, along with the film’s protagonists Zhuo Jun, Yi Zhe and Le Tong, were present to share the touching story behind the film. Professor Zou Xiaobing, Director of the Child Development and Behavior Center of the Third Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University; Cui Songdong, Secretary of the Party Committee and Director of Guangzhou Radio and Television; An Yong, Deputy Chief Editor of Guangzhou Radio and Television; Yang Lu, Deputy Director of Guangzhou Radio and Television, as well as a group of caring enterprises, invited guests and media were present to support the film with love and warmth.

The event was conducted by the Propaganda Department of the CPC Guangzhou Municipal Committee, the Guangzhou Committee of the Communist Youth League and the Guangzhou Civil Affairs Bureau, organized by Guangzhou Radio and Television, Guangzhou Radio and Television Media Group and Guangzhou Film Association, co-organized by Guangzhou Charity Association, organized by Guangzhou Film and Television Industry Service Center and Guangzhou Volunteer Association, co-organized by Guangzhou Children’s Palace, and supported collectively by Guangdong Liao Bingxiong Humanities Art Foundation, Guangzhou Weibo Children’s Welfare Foundation, Shenzhen Huayan Agricultural Technology Co. Ltd., Guangzhou Dongzhao Film Co., Ltd., Guangzhou Juzhi Palace Cultural Development Co., Hong Kong Krystal Institute, Guangzhou Yang’ai Special Haizi Jiazhang Club, Guangzhou Xinyou mental handicapped service association, Guangdong Artists Association, Guangzhou Children’s Park, etc.

Three Lives Intertwined,Playing a Tribute to Love

“The Starting Line On The Canvas” is another film masterpiece of Guangzhou Broadcasting Station after the Golden Rooster Award-winning best children’s film “Starry Road”. The film is shot in 4K UHD technology and follows the growth stories of three children, Zhuo Jun, Yi Zhe and Le Tong, whose destinies are transformed into remarkable lives with the help of the Guangzhou Children’s Palace – Zhuo Jun and Yi Zhe are both autistic, and the inclusive education at the Children’s Palace allows them to find their specialties. Yi Zhe continues to improve in music and painting, while Zhuo Jun actively prepares for the Guangzhou Marathon and eventually wins a medal in addition to working as an assistant teacher at the Children’s Palace. Le Tong, who was previously a Children’s Palace student, unfortunately suffered from bone cancer. With the company of her parents and the encouragement of her teachers at the Children’s Palace, Le Tong was actively treated and fought hard, and gradually recovers. …… The group portrait of teachers and inclusive education students at the Children’s Palace constitutes a unique humanistic landscape in Guangzhou. In addition, Guangzhou Children’s Palace‘s “Rainbow After Rain” Fusion Art Troupe sings the song “I love you, Mom” in the film, delivering strong raw emotions with their clear and pure voices, touching audiences with an emotional climax.

According to the film description, “The Starting Line On The Canvas” adopts the unique narrative structure of WeChat, in which the Children’s Palace teacher Guan Xiaolei, the three children’s parents, and the director’s Internet chat records permeate the whole film, allowing the film to carry more information outside the daily narrative. The daily growth of Zhuo Jun, Yi Zhe and Le Tong is organically combined with a cross-montage technique, interspersed with vignettes and interviews of educational groups. The unique narrative rhythm gives the film a modern rhythmic beauty. On the basis of true records, the film uses family, friendship, teacher-student bonds to play a symphony of joy and love. At the same time, the patience and love of the teachers at the Children’s Palace become a warm background for the events of the protagonists. The film also showcases the demonstration and exploration of social education equity and dignity for special groups in Guangzhou as a leader in reform and opening up, while pursuing economic development simultaneously.

True emotions move people’s hearts,Warmth for Special Needs Children

The event officially kicked off with the energetic song “Chasing Dreams” by Guangzhou Children’s Palace’s “Rainbow After Rain” Fusion Art Troupe. As a mainstream media and a propaganda body of the Party, Guangzhou Radio and Television, guided all walks of life to pay attention to and care for special groups through the filming of the film, helping public welfare and promoting positive energy, which is not only a duty and mission of mainstream media to promote mainstream values, but also a vivid practice of education on the theme of doing practical things for the people. In this regard, Cui Songdong, secretary of the party committee and director of Guangzhou Radio and Television Station, said that “The Starting Line On The Canvas” channels the most touching emotions in the form of real and natural life, “The film focuses on the daily life and perseverance of special needs children’s educators over the past forty years, and is also the most solid foundation, the most realistic depiction of Guangzhou’s special education career and inclusive education innovation “. Cui Songdong also mentioned that for Guangzhou Radio and Television to do a good job in creating literature and art, it is necessary to first “forge the soul” and take the people as the center of creative orientation; second, it is necessary to “take root”, be based in Guangzhou, and select and excavate the topics that best represent the spirit of Guangzhou; third, it is necessary to “learn from each other”, discover the highlights around us, and present the local spiritual and cultural connotation through emphasizing the extraordinary in the mundane.

Mai Wenhui, the first rank researcher of the Municipal Committee of the Communist Youth League and the head of the propaganda department, gave his heartfelt congratulations to the release of the film. He said that the protagonists of the film are all special needs students of the Guangzhou Children’s Palace, and that inclusive education allows them to feel the calling and radiance of art, and to walk with warmth at the starting line of life. Mai also said that the national release of “The Starting Line On The Canvas” will usher in the high-quality development of inclusive education for children with special needs in Guangzhou, and continue to promote the Guangzhou model of inclusive education for children with special needs.

Light and shadows record every moment, Life deserves to be remembered

Subsequently, Director Xiang Yimin of “The Starting Line On The Canvas,” along with producer and director of Guangzhou Radio and Television, Xu Bin, teacher Guan Xiaolei from the Children’s Palace, and the main cast including Zhuo Jun, Yi Zhe, and Le Tong, went on stage to share their experiences. Xiang Yimin stated that through this heartwarming film, he documented the little details of Guangzhou and completed his understanding of inclusive education. Xu Bin also shared his feelings as a producer. Guan Xiaolei expressed the hope that this film would allow everyone to appreciate the lovable aspects of these children and love one another under the same blue sky. Yi Zhe, Zhuo Jun, and Le Tong presented their artwork to Xu Bin, Xiang Yimin, and Guan Xiaolei as a way of expressing their gratitude.

Improving the education and growth environment for children with special needs also depends on the care and support of loving individuals and volunteers. They have never been stingy with their efforts and have selflessly dedicated themselves over the years. Dai Rong, the Chairman of the Parents Club for Special Children at the Children’s Palace, and Lin Lijuan, the Captain of the Guangzhou Xinyou Volunteer Service Team, are representatives of these individuals. Dai Rong stated that the Children’s Palace has benefited 25,000 special needs children, and the protagonists of “The Starting Line On The Canvas” represent a microcosm of these 25,000 children. She believed that stories that impact lives with life deserve to be remembered. Lin Lijuan believed that this group of children with special needs deserves more love and hoped that everyone would “cross barriers with love” and become ordinary yet warm-hearted philanthropic volunteers.

Spreading love and blessings, Illuminating the path of children’s growth

Next, leaders, directors, and representatives of the production team conducted the premiere launch ceremony, expressing their wishes for the film to receive wide attention from various sectors of society after its release. They hope the film continues to spread the warmth of philanthropy, drawing more attention to children with special needs and illuminating their path of growth.
Six caring enterprises and organizations, including Guangdong Liao Bingxiong Humanities Art Foundation, Guangzhou Weibo Children’s Welfare Foundation, Shenzhen Huayan Agricultural Technology Co., Ltd., Guangzhou Dongzhao Film Co., Ltd., Guangzhou Juzhi Palace Cultural Development Co., Ltd., and Hong Kong Krystal Institute Co., Ltd., organized screening activities through practical actions. They aimed to promote the film to a larger audience, expressing their care and blessings for children with special needs. Yang Lu, Deputy Director of Guangzhou Radio and Television, and Wei Jinjian, Deputy Director of Guangzhou Civil Affairs Bureau and Executive Vice President of Guangzhou Charity Federation, signed an agreement to pass on love. They pledged to donate the film’s box office revenue to the Guangzhou Charity Federation to support children with special needs, fulfilling their small wishes. They also hoped that the combination of humanistic documentary art and inclusive education in philanthropy would continue to expand its influence, allowing the beauty of philanthropy to blossom on the big screen.
Finally, the audience had a sneak peek and watched “The Starting Line On The Canvas.” In the film, the three main characters perceive the world through music and painting, their emotions quietly converging at their fingertips. The world unfolds gently through art and music, always accompanied by warmth on the starting line of life. Many viewers expressed deep emotions after watching the film, feeling that it injected new energy into their own lives.

Creating Cultural Masterpieces, Showcasing the Spirit of the Times

In recent years, Guangzhou Broadcasting Television Station has been tirelessly spreading positive energy and creating many outstanding works that “illuminate the hearts of children” and have gained recognition. Among them, the children’s inspirational film “Starry Road” independently produced and presented by Guangzhou Radio and Television is based on a true story. It tells the story of Lai Xuanzhi, a physical education teacher at Qixing Elementary School in Huadu, Guangzhou, who leads a rope skipping team of young boys to practice rope skipping skills. They go from skipping on the small playground to the world stage, cultivating 33 world rope skipping champions, breaking more than a dozen world records, and changing their destiny and connecting with the world only with a skipping rope. The film won the “Best Children’s Film Award” at the 33rd China Film Golden Rooster Awards, the excellent work of the 12th Guangdong Province Spiritual Civilization Construction “Five One Project,” the “Most Beloved Film by Elementary School Students” at the 2019 China International Children’s Film Exhibition, and multiple international honors. It was also selected as a public screening film for the “Celebration of Hong Kong’s Return 25th Anniversary Film Carnival” in 2022.

At the recently concluded 13th Beijing International Film Festival, the documentary film “Silent Music,” produced and presented by Guangzhou Radio and Television and directed by Yi Min, was awarded the honor of “Special Attention from the Jury.” The film centers on the life of “genius” painter Chen Yuanpu. He had intellectual disabilities since childhood and later suffered from schizophrenia and lower limb paralysis as an adult. However, he used his soul to write and opened the door to art. Chen Yuanpu left his unique understanding of music on the canvas of starry seas and everyday fireworks, and a life scroll full of creative vitality and the will to live unfolded from there. The film adopts a multi-perspective and multi-character visiting format, allowing the audience to follow the camera, track, participate in, and restore Chen Yuanpu’s life trajectory. Each shot carries real power and abundant emotions, making it deeply moving. The jury’s comment on the film was, “The strong Lingnan flavor in the work makes the documentary realistic, and the appropriate music gives the documentary a more charming interpretation.”

In terms of public service short films, “A Hand Spins Dreams” is based on a true story and uses artistic expression to tell the story of Zhang Jiacheng, a one-armed young man from Guangdong who smiles at his fate and gives his all to “spin” the basketball dream with one hand. This work won the Silver Award for “Public Service Character Advertising Works” at the 2021 China Advertising Awards Huanghe Awards, as well as the TV work of the “2020 Annual Radio and Television Public Service Advertising Support Project” by the National Radio and Television Administration. In the future, Guangzhou Radio and Television, together with Guangzhou Broadcasting Media Group and Guangzhou Film and Television Industry Service Center, will continue to fully utilize the important role of artistic works in conveying urban humanistic care, creating more cultural and artistic masterpieces that delve into real life, showcasing the new era style of contemporary Guangzhou, and writing a new chapter of high-quality development.

Inclusive Education “Making a Difference”, “Guangzhou’s Warmth” Touching Hearts

Guangzhou has always attached great importance to the growth of these children and has worked diligently to ensure the well-being of children with special needs, aiming to bring tangible benefits to them. At the same time, Guangzhou is one of the cities that has long advocated and practiced inclusive education. Through special needs children’s art integration education, it has achieved remarkable results, becoming a benchmark for exploring and implementing unique inclusive education practices in China. Today, with the support of various levels of government agencies and environmental resources, Guangzhou not only demonstrates the city’s inclusiveness towards special needs youth but also showcases its forward-looking approach in the field of special education.

Earlier this year, the “Caring for Special Needs Children and Providing Free Inclusive Education Courses and Public Classes” project, led by the Municipal Youth League Committee and implemented by the Guangzhou Children’s Palace, was selected as one of the “Top Ten Livelihood Projects of Guangzhou in 2023”. This action plan consists of five major parts: the “Inclusive Education Growth Program” for special needs youth, the “Inclusive Education Mutual Assistance Program” for parents of special needs youth, the “Inclusive Education Seed Program” for special education practitioners, the “Inclusive Education Partnership Program” for enterprises, institutions, and nonprofit organizations, and the “Inclusive Education Service Program” for enthusiastic public welfare citizens. It aims to build a platform for sharing, collaboration, and mutual benefits, establish effective models for inclusive education for special needs children, and promote the inclusive development of special education in Guangzhou.

According to the relevant person in charge of the Guangzhou Civil Affairs Bureau, Guangzhou is at the forefront of the nation and  provinces in safeguarding the rights and interests of children with special needs. It has successfully established the “National Comprehensive Rehabilitation Practice Research and Training Demonstration Base,” “National Demonstration Zone for the Protection of Minors,” and “Provincial Pilot Project for Standardized Information Construction of Child Welfare Institutions.” The city’s basic living guarantee standards for orphans and children without anyone to care for them rank among the highest in the country and the first among provinces, further enhancing the heartwarming “warmth” of Guangzhou.

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