Below are our finalist videos for 2017 — theme of the contest was “Discover Your China,” where contestants were asked to tell us why they wanted to travel to China.


  1. On the left are the Finale SHOWCASE videos — new, polished up versions of the finalists’ original submissions, which were edited with tips from our 2017 Youth Voices coaches.— inspired by our favorite show, “The Voice.”  Showcase winners were awarded DJI Phantom III drones.
  2. On the right are the ORIGINAL video submissions, which our YVOC national & regional awards were awarded to, based on the merits of the ORIGINAL video submission

Open & College Division Finalists  |  High School Division Finalists  |  Middle School Division Finalists


OPEN DIVISION 2017 – Finalist Showcase Videos

 Showcase Video After Coaching  Original Video Before Coaching



By: Mick Wang  (Butler University grad, 2014 | Los Angeles, CA)

Coached by: Corey Tong

Description: Rediscovering the family history through pictures and interviews with family members. I truly began to know my family’s history when we lost my Nai Nai to breast cancer in 2010. I knew I had so many questions left for her to answer but it was too late. My intuition led me back to China but little did I know that it would be a renewed relationship with both my Dad and Yeh Yeh that would be the real result of rediscovering my past.

What was updated from the original submission: I wanted to give more of a voice to my Dad reflecting on what my Yeh Yeh did for him growing up as well as add some more reflection of my own.

About my coach: My Coach was super helpful in giving me insights about what worked and what didn’t. Corey’s enthusiasm and interest were huge in the next steps for my video.

COLLEGE DIVISION 2017 – Finalist Showcase Videos

 Showcase Video After Coaching  Original Video Before Coaching



Alex Fisher-Wagner (UC-Davis | Oakland, CA)

Coached by: Sabrina Chen-Louie

Description: A film about my dreams of traveling to China to follow my passion of food and discover my culture and heritage.  In this video I focus on what Chinese Cuisine has done for me in allowing me to understand what it means to be Chinese, growing up without that heritage common in my life. Chinese food has allowed me to discover my family and culture, without ever touching foot in the country, and how I am discovering WHO I AM through food.

What was updated from the original submission: In this video I’ve updated my focus on what Chinese Cuisine has done for me in allowing me to understand what it means to be Chinese, growing up without that heritage common in my life. I’ve focused on why Chinese food has allowed me to discover my family and culture, without ever touching foot in the country, and how I am discovering WHO I AM through food.

About my coach: Sabrina was a wonderful help in making sure I knew I was able to make the video a more personal account, less of a show and tell. I wanted to tell you what cooking and cooking Chinese food specifically meant to me, and I wasn’t sure if I could be that personal. But she guided me so I knew I could!

What I learned in the process:   There is so much good food I have never even heard of! …It’s amazing how a community can rally behind you to help push you to be the best.

A final note:  I would like to thank the 1990 institute,  Youth Voices on China judges, and all other organizers of this Film Festival. I’d like to thank my family and friends for supporting me in this endeavor and allowing me to constantly continue filming 24 seven.  I hope that everyone is feeling a little hungry after watching this video!

 Showcase Video After Coaching  Orginal Video Before Coaching



(also, congrats to Cecilia — her Showcase video was selected as a Documentary short for the prestigious 2018 Slamdance Festival…until the festival ends, the Showcase version cannot be seen).

Xizi (Cecilia) Hua  (USC | Los Angeles, CA)

Coached by: Anthony Tao, Corey Tong

Description: This video is an autobiographical experimental film uses footage and photos from the filmmaker’s personal memories from traveling back to China, exploring personal memories, real lives of Chinese people, and current states of mind of today’s young generation abroad. The video shows the most personal feelings being an international student as a “Parachute Kid” today. In the western value dominant world, coming to America at a very young age makes many of us feel ashamed of being Chinese. We gradually realize our lack of understanding in Chinese history and culture to respond to how western public and media often generalize China and Chinese people in their skewed perspectives. This video raises questions of originality, identity, cultural background to encourage more thinking in what it means to be a Chinese person and an international citizen and more understanding in what China is today.

What was updated from the original submission: I included the idea of “memory” into my identity search. The tone of the video shifts from the sense of “shame” to pride. However, at the same time, the tone of it not only stays within the quest of my identity or questions about one specific culture or country I am from, but it also highlights the new discoveries I found from these “unfamiliar memories.” I hope these memories could layer up for me to find new possibilities in the hometown that I have missed and lack the knowledge of. As I narrated in the video itself, I want to “make this film” to reflect on my experience and invite my audience to also think and reflect through my past and present memories, together to create our own connections with China and tell more stories of the Chinese people.

About my coaches: The advice and suggestions that I got from both Anthony and Corey were very helpful and inspiring. I was very grateful to have the opportunity sharing my stories, background and intent for making this video to both coaches.

From Anthony, who is currently living and working in China, I knew that I need to pinpoint my message out even more bluntly on both the personal narrative and the China story level. I was also very glad to receive notes from him — a writer and poet himself —  especially some constructive notes on the rhythm, theme and narrative structure.

At the same time, Corey gave me very insightful opinions from a film producer, distributor, and curator’s point of view. He helped me understand how to build the film more richly while adding more nuances to my identity and personal experience. I learned that I could make the film appealing and more understandable to the audience.

What I learned in the process:  The way I understand about myself and my experience as a “parachute kid” really changed throughout the making of the video, the sharing and the editing of it (the showcase video). The way different people responded to it really helped me look at the subjects in different perspectives about China and also about filmmaking. The public vote campaigns are very great ways to learn how to publicize myself and to communicate my ideas more clearly and out there.

A final note:  I’m really grateful to be part of 1990 Institute’s China Video Contest. It has a been a very humbling, inspiring and rewarding experience to have the chance to make a video about my most personal experience growing up in the US as a parachute kid and receive many advice and mentorships from peers, family and professionals. Thank you, 1990 Institute for your educational programs encouraging the young generation to learn more about China, which really makes people think more, broadens our perspectives and connect with each other. I simply hope my experience could offer a different lens for people to learn about China in new angles. In my original submission, I wanted other people to know about us “parachute kids”  and look at us differently, while literally shouting out my anger and poignant feelings, but with my showcase version, I’m not angry anymore but grateful being who I am.


 Showcase Video After Coaching  Original Video Before Coaching

Chandler Toffa & Modupe Thompson  (USC | Los Angeles, CA)

Coached by: James Chan

Description: A short film by Chandler Toffa and Modupe Thompson about 学‘s adventures in China. We hope others see the awesome places you can visit in China, making them want to expand their horizons and visit a place they maybe never thought of exploring–again helping to bridge that gap between China and the rest of the world. I hope it makes people open their eyes and want to pack up and travel today.

What was updated from the original submission:
1) more movement in between shots
2) new footage for beginning/ending + animation
3) made it more personal (added Chandler’s backstory)
4) composed new music to fit the mood better
5) added more character to 学 by creating more visual “scenes” in which he moved around in/explored

About our coach: Very helpful and specific! We tried to implement all of his notes in our newest version.

What we learned in the process:   Together we learned that we make a pretty good team; mistakes can turn into happy accidents (size of pictures came in handy); fresh eyes are important when judging your video;  and if you ask your mom to help you she WILL send your voting link to EVERYONE she knows, and I mean everyone!….and learned Chandler’s going to China next spring, and that he can hold a good conversation in Mandarin.

A final note: Thank you to everyone that made the Youth Voices on China Festival a possibility. Thanks to our mentor James Chan for taking the time to tell us what we did right and wrong in our first video, because it has come a long way since then. Like Chandler said in our video, we both hope to one day be the pioneers to bridge the culture gaps between China and the rest of the world, and this video and festival were both a huge step in that direction.

Open & College Division Finalists  |  High School Division Finalists  |  Middle School Division Finalists