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'Richmond lets you keep it company' says film producer about city's peaceful nature

The city inspired Jason Lin to bring back his love for film, and to share his expertise with more people here
Jason Lin moved to Richmond in 2022 and said the city has a special power that calms you down and invites you to enjoy the beauty around it. Photo submitted

What does Richmond mean to you?

Maybe it’s a home. Maybe it’s a food heaven. Or it could just be another suburban city near Vancouver.

For Jason Lin, Richmond has a special calming quality that invites you to enjoy the beauty around it.

The environment inspired him to bring back his love for film, and to share his expertise with more people here.

His film audio-visual language class opened in June at the Royal Academy of Film and now has around 10 students – they could spend five hours discussing details in a film on a Monday night, or 30 hours in total to analyze a film.

“I want to help people who love and appreciate beauty to feel the beauty. It is there – we just need to find and explore it,” said Lin.

From TV production company owner to cameraman

In 2007, Lin graduated from Beijing Film Academy, which is the most prestigious film school in China. However, it was boom time for China’s TV industry.

So, like many of his classmates, Lin put aside his love for film and worked for China Central Television before opening his own TV production company.

“We were really busy at the time and could film 100 events in a month, so we were always on the go,” recalled Lin.

He moved to Richmond last year with his family and found a job as a cameraman for a local Chinese-language TV station. Lin said he was amazed by the tranquility of the city.

“I think Richmond is the most peaceful city. It’s a city that allows you to keep it company and enjoy the beauty of it,” said Lin.

“After I moved to Richmond, life has slowed down, and I saw the mountains, water…and people and children’s faces were filled with happiness. It reminded me of the pictures we see in films.”

He said sometimes after work, he would stay in the car outside his home in South Arm, to watch the leaves falling and appreciate the moment. He also likes to film the sunset in Steveston.

“Cities are like a mirror - they can let you see the self you might not see before. In Beijing, I was too busy to think what I really wanted but here, I had the time and I wanted to do things that I really love because life is short.”

Opening film audio-visual language class

When Lin was in university, his favourate class was the film audio-visual language class taught by a famous teacher in China. He decided to teach this class here so more people could learn about the aesthetics in films and in everyday life.

“Many people thought they knew how to watch a film but they don’t necessarily,” said Lin.

“Film has its own language. From the audio perspective, for example, it has the objective sound and the subjective sound. It also has its intrinsic and extraintentional meanings… Every frame is a collective effort of many different people.”

He said in his class, students are encouraged to share their opinions and join discussions. Although many students have a full-time job and attend class part-time, Lin said his class is not just for fun, but aims to gather film lovers and do something “serious.”

“There are many people who love and pursue beauty here. I hope students in my class will have an improved aesthetics and understanding of the film language, and together, we can create some great film work in the future,” said Lin.

“There is so much beauty in life and we don’t need to create it, we just need to explore it with discovering eyes.”