I had the honor of serving as a jury member for the Documentary category at the 29th Shanghai TV Festival. This festival, renowned for its prestigious Magnolia Awards, is a significant event in the Chinese television industry, attracting talented professionals from around the world. The experience was truly enriching.

The hospitality was next-level. Five-star hotels, 11-course meals that left no taste bud unturned, self-opening toilets with warm seats, and even cleaning robots that jumped the queue for the elevator. The Chinese were incredibly kind and welcoming, ensuring every moment was memorable.

Red carpet with hundreds of journalists taking pictures

Magnolia Award Ceremony live on Chinese television 

Press Conference
Still battling jetlag it was quite intense waking up at 3 a.m. Dutch time for a big press conference. We were met by a swarm of eager journalists, all keen to learn everything about us, the jury members for the documentary and animation categories. The session was dynamic and engaging, underscoring the significance of our roles. Documentary Jury: Jury President: Vikram Channa (Director, Producer, India) Jury Members: Xiao Han (Director, China), Ton van Zantvoort (Documentary Filmmaker, Netherlands) Animation Jury: Jury President: Frederic Puech (Animation Producer, France) Jury Members: Chen Liaoyu (Animation Director, China), Mari Okada (Animation Scriptwriter, Director, Japan)

Screening and Q&A at the Shanghai Jiushi Art Gallery
My documentary film a WORLD to SHAPE was screened at the Shanghai Jiushi Art Museum (上海久事美术馆), followed by an interesting Q&A session. It was a fantastic opportunity to discuss the film and its design and environmental themes in depth with Chinese individuals. To my surprise, I even found myself signing autographs – a funny and unexpected twist.

Red Carpet Awards Ceremony
How much fun this was, with an over the top red carpet (actually white) with hundreds of journalists filming and making pictures of me and the other jury members for the categories documentary, animation, Chinese drama and foreign drama for the Magnolia Awards ceremony. With: Chen Liaoyu, Mari Okada, Frederic Puech, Vikram Channa, Xiao Han, Ton van Zantvoort, Wang Xiaoqiang, Han Zhong, Hai Qing, Yan Jiangang, M Davies, Andy Friend, Li Yuesen, Yang Lei, and You Yongzhi


Documentary Masterclass at the University
We hosted a Masterclass at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Alongside Mike Gunton, producer of BBC’s Planet Earth II and III, and fellow jury members Vikram Channa, Vice President of Warner Bros. Discovery Asia, and Chinese director Xiao Han, we engaged in a lively discussion. We encouraged Chinese aspiring filmmakers to delve deeper into personal and emotionally resonant documentary storytelling. This session provided students and emerging filmmakers with invaluable insights into the art and craft of documentary filmmaking.

Awards Ceremony live on Chinese television
Here you can see a glimpse of the Magnolia Awards Ceremony of the 29th Shanghai TV Festival 2024. What a whirlwind experience, meeting gracious Chinese hosts and talented international directors and producers. The ceremony, broadcast live on TV, was truly unforgettable. The Chinese flair for spectacle was evident in every detail, making it a dazzling event. Witnessing the joy and emotion of both international and Chinese winners was a highlight. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners! 🏆

#STVF #MagnoliaAwards #Shanghai #TVFestival #Documentary #Jury

5 star hotels
During my stay, I was treated to exceptional hospitality by our Chinese hosts. I had the pleasure of staying at the iconic 5-star Grand Hyatt Shanghai and the newly opened 5-star Shanghai Lingang Jinjiang International Hotel. These establishments provided unparalleled luxury, complete with cutting-edge amenities such as cleaning robots and self-opening toilets with heated seats. The culinary experience was equally impressive, with exquisite 11-course meals featuring a variety of exotic dishes. Each day brought delightful surprises, making this trip truly unforgettable. I look forward to returning soon.

The very famous actor in China, HU GE (Hugh Hu 胡歌), won the Magnolia Award for the second time.


From left to right: Vikram Channa, Hu Ge (Hugh Hu 胡歌), Xiao Han, and Ton van Zantvoort

Jury Member for the Documentary Category at the Shanghai TV Festival