Wednesday, 4 November 2015

CIS hangzhou Mid-Autumn celebration

Filmed by Arif Chu

2015-2016 Students orientation week!

Hi, this is CIS Hangzhou TV, stay tuned for this year's amazing events and activities!

First, let's see what happened during the orientation for 2015-2016 students!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Signing off....

I have had GREAT FUN establishing and maintaining this blog over the past 15 months, but... I have to say, I feel disappointed in it: by the aims I initially set for it, this project has been a failure

It was my hope that this 'TV Station' might be curated largely or entirely by students; but in fact 80% or 90% of the posted videos have been produced by me - and most of the student-produced ones have originated from my Film classes. With the packed schedule we create for students at CIS Hangzhou, they simply don't have the time for many self-initiated projects of this sort.

Perhaps that may change next year. Perhaps my very capable successor as Head of Film, Zhu Gesha, who I introduced on here yesterday, will be able to energise and inspire some of her students to take over this blog and develop their own content for it.

However, it is not reasonable to expect that Gesha herself will be able to curate the blog, as she is on a part-time contract with us, paid only for the small number of hours she will teach... whereas I have often been devoting 5-10 hours a week - and occasionally a lot more!! - to this enterprise.

I fear it is quite likely that this blog will be mothballed from here on. If this proves to be the case, I hope it will have some lasting value as a record and a celebration of the remarkable things that the students and staff here at CIS Hangzhou achieved during the school's first two years of existence.

So long, and thanks for watching.   

Paul Murphy
Outgoing Head of English and Film
CIS Hangzhou

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

My successor

A Hangzhou local, Ms Zhu Gesha, is taking over my Film classes from me next year. She is a very bright and capable young lady, and she is far more technically knowledgeable about the medium than I am, having completed a Master's degree in documentary filmmaking at the University of Belfast a few years ago. 

This is one of the most impressive of her student projects, a prize-winning short feature called Reflection. Gesha sat in on a few of my classes towards the end of the year, and I persuaded her to show this film to my current students - who were duly impressed by her creative sensitivity, displayed here not only by the beautifully composed pictures but by the poetic simplicity of the narration. 

I think I'm leaving my legacy in good hands.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

More on China Grassroots Football

The best of this year's Film class documentary projects was this profile of our collaboration with China Grassroots Football - around ten of our students regularly leading football coaching sessions at a local primary school in a special 'Little Teachers' programme they have created with us as one of our Community & Service activities. CGF founder Trevor Lamb displays his passion for 'the beautiful game' and explains the impact he believes it can have on children in China.

This film was made before Christmas, and I had meant to post it some time ago... but we seemed to have had rather too many posts about CGF (!!), so I kept putting it off...

Filmed by Daniel Carolan and Austin Lam; edited and sub-titled by Jasmine Savage

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Project Week trip to the Fawang Temple

The Songshan region of Henan province is famous as the home of the Shaolin style of martial arts. For CIS Hangzhou's 'Project Week' in May this year, twelve of our students and three members of staff visited Da Fawang Si, one of the few Buddhist temples there that still runs a traditional kung fu school for its young trainee monks. It is also the only temple school which admits outsiders to study.

This trip was originally conceived and planned by Pierre Biret, our French teacher and also a keen martial artist; however, when he had to return to France at the start of the year, I inherited responsibility for organising it. Unfortunately, a serious foot injury prevented me from accompanying the trip; after seeing all the video shot of the experience, I am even more sorry to have missed out on it!

The participating students were Ingrid Tsang, Lauren Justice, Katherine Ye, Natalie Chak, Flora Xiao, Samantha Koo, Frances Amos, Andy Ji, Fenton Garvie, Timothy Chan, Yew San Cheah, and Vinay Hirani; the accompanying members of staff were Mark Tang, Eric Vallone, and Kuang Wen.

A short film of our group's shifu for the week demonstrating a sequence of fundamental practice movements can be seen here.

Filmed by Ingrid Tsang and Mr Tang; edited by Mr Murphy

Friday, 17 July 2015

Another musical treat

Jean-Sebastien Héry, the multi-talented French musician and composer who visited us for our end-of-year 'Arts Festival' week a little while ago, has played in many different musical styles over the years. One of his most successful ventures came when he suddenly rediscovered his teenage fascination with rock music a few years ago, and got together with a couple of Beijing friends, Dutch bassist Maikel and Chinese drummer Mao Mao, to found AIS (their full name was The Amazing Insurance Salesmen [he went through a phase of calling all of his many musical collaborations The Amazing Something-or-other... a bit of a private joke!!], but as the group became successful, fans soon started to referring to it by the initials only).

As always with Jean-Sebastien, the music drew on a range of different influences: blues, psychedelia, folk, and even a little bit of jazz and classical music, as well as classic rock. It became a signature feature of AIS gigs that they would close their set with an extended free-form improvisation on Caravan, a Central Asian tinged instrumental jazz standard composed by the great Duke Ellington. This, I think, is one of their earlier live renditions of the tune, and is quite restrained by the standards that later evolved: it lasts barely 8 minutes, whereas on occasion, when they were feeling particularly exuberant, they were known to spin it out to 15 or 20 minutes!! (This was filmed at Dos Kolegas [两个好朋友], which unfortunately closed down last year, but had been for several years the greatest of Beijing's cheap, divey music bars - a place run by musicians, for musicians: grungy, chaotic, but always great fun!!!)

The band won the China and Asia rounds of the 2010 Global Battle of the Bands contest, but then lost momentum - as Jean-Sebastien, in his usual restless way, began to move on to other areas of musical interest - and have only played a  rare reunion gig in the last three or four years.

You can listen to the whole of their one-and-only album, Escape, for free on Bandcamp.

We are very privileged that this guy came down to Hangzhou to play just for us.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Kung Fu demonstration

During one of our 'Project Week' excursions this year, twelve students and three members of staff stayed at a kung fu school run by the Buddhist monks of the Fawang Temple in the Songshan area of Henan province. Here, their shifu demonstrates the basic sequence of practice movements their studies were focused on. 

 A fuller account of the stay at the temple will appear on here shortly.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Keeping it 'real'

Our culminating practical project in our Film class study of the 'Reality TV' phenomenon this semester was to produce a season trailer for a new show of the students' own devising. We did not have enough time to create 'genuine' shows, so the various scenarios had to be carefully scripted and staged for the camera (this in itself was one of the most important elements in this unit of study, demanding that students pay attention to questions of how much manipulation and fakery goes into many of the actual 'Reality' shows they enjoy, and what the ethical implications of this are).

There were two really outstanding productions. This one, The Sweet Life of Stacey and Tracey, a 'real life soap' concept depicting the tense relationship between a pair of pregnant middle-class teenagers, was filmed and edited by Tiffany Ng; her teammates Yew San Cheah and Vrithik Metha provided logistical support, and produced the voiceover narration and some other additional sound recording. Vital input also came from Emily Duncan and Frances Amos who improvised most of the script in playing the two leads.

And then there was P-Ranked, a competitive prank show that is intended to pit friends against each other in an escalating series of tit-for-tat practical jokes. This was created by Tristan Wong, Fenton Garvie, and Lauren Justice - with a lot of help from various of their dorm mates. This one, I fear, was at times a bit too 'real' for comfort, with some of the pranks being staged without the victim's prior knowledge or consent to capture genuinely surprised - and annoyed - reaction shots.

Other groups' efforts also achieved much of merit, but were compromised by a failure to get to grips with the extreme time pressure we were under: they just didn't get enough footage to present their concept fully and coherently.

Dominic Law, Hugo Chan, and Tippy Pei came up with Hell's Dorm, an 'extreme makeover' style of show focused on the occasional chronic untidiness of our dorms - but unfortunately they didn't get around to shooting the crucial mentor intervention/successful transformation scenes.

Jae Lamb, Ethan Chu and Kevin Ho produced Rap Wars, a talent show format in the style of American Idol, which boasted a few very stylish lighting effects, but omitted to include any actual rapping, or an introduction of the judges. 

And Daniel Carolan, Constance Lam, and Samantha Koo created a piece called A Couple of Wheels, which was intended to be a challenge competition for couples - something in the style of The Amazing Race, but involving goofy physical tests like bubble-wrap wrestling. They underestimated the difficulty of arranging shoots with large numbers of actors and failed to shoot many of the scenes they needed to complete the trailer. Daniel, in the final edit, came up with the ingenious idea of padding out this patchy footage with a lot of explanatory captions, now trying to pass the piece off not as an actual trailer but as a jokey film school re-enactment of a long-forgotten Vietnamese (?!) TV show.

Content advisory:  'Reality TV' has an unfortunate tendency to concentrate on some of the less attractive aspects of human behaviour, and our students embraced this dark side of the genre rather too enthusiastically. There is quite a lot of swearing in all of these films (one key skill students learned was how to 'bleep out' offensive dialogue!).

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

More musical magic

In the mélée that was our final week of the year, much of the video footage I'd shot of various events around school got mislaid. I had thought this was the greatest of those losses... but happily I have just rediscovered it. Beijing-based French musician Jean-Sebastien Héry joined us for the week as part of our farewell 'Arts Festival'. His main performance for students was on Thursday evening, but the day before he dropped in on our choir rehearsal - a rather fraught final preparation for the performance at the upcoming Parents' Weekend - and entertained students afterwards with this pyrotechnic improvisation on his acoustic guitar. 

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Monday, 22 June 2015

Looking back....

The end of our school year was even more hectic than usual this time around, with two visiting artists in residence during the Arts Festival leading up to the final Parents' Weekend, French musician Jean-Sebastien Héry and German photographic artist Juliana Borinski.

And then there was a feast of music, sport, drama and farewell speeches over the weekend itself. 

I've already posted some highlights from Sunday's Closing Ceremony, and from the contributions of Jean-Sebastien and Juliana - but here is a further montage of some of the best bits of those busy few days. It hardly seems possible that it was little more than a week ago......

Filmed by Mr Murphy

The visits of Jean-Sebastien Héry and Juliana Borinski were generously supported by the school's Annual Fund.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Farewell to another year

Our second year drew to a close last weekend with a formal Closing Ceremony held in the school theatre on Sunday morning. As last year, the principal guest of honour was the General Manager of our Chinese partners, the Greentown Education Company, Mr Chen Hai Ke.

It was a difficult task whittling down nearly 90 minutes of humour, emotion, and music into just 9 minutes - but I've managed it! For those of you with more stamina, the entire ceremony can be viewed here.

Filmed by Mr Murphy

The individual elements of the ceremony can also be viewed as follows:

Choir & Orchestra  -  Vivaldi's Gloria

Speaker  -  Joy Koo (Parent)

Speaker  -  Adam Guo (Student)

Speaker  -  Sharon Lam (Teacher)

'Sing Thing' a cappella group  -  The Beatles' In My Life

Speaker  -  Hugo Chan (Student)

Speaker  -  Ingrid Tsang (Student)

And a complete film of Saturday evening's drama performance History Rewritten; Our Stories Retold can be seen here.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Sing Thing sings a thing

My, we're getting all Dr Seuss on here today, aren't we?! Sing Thing are a student vocal group who performed in the middle of Sunday's 2nd Year Closing Ceremony. Sherson Ng took the lead on In My Life by Lennon and McCartney, while harmonies were provided by (from left to right) Kate Bradley, Isabella Boyne, Georgina Savage, Karis Tao, Jasmine Savage, Adam Guo, Simon Chen, Enrique Chuidian, Tippy Pei, and Adrian Lee.

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Another artist-in-residence

I was particularly pleased to be able to arrange a visit to our school last week by the extremely talented French musician and composer Jean-Sebastien Héry, as he has been a close friend of mine since we first met in Jianghu, a quaint little hutong music bar in Beijing, about 8 or 9 years ago. Jean-Sebastien stayed with us on campus for four days, led a series of workshops on electronic composition with our two classes of music students, sat in on one of the final choir rehearsals for the upcoming Closing Ceremony, and...  played this mesmerising concert for us in the theatre on Thursday evening.

In his time, Jean-Sebastien - now mostly promoting himself under the stage name Djang San (or Zhang Si'an, in Chinese) - has played almost every musical style imaginable, but in recent years he has become especially interested in using technology to build up multi-layered, largely improvised compositions that fuse electronic and acoustic music and have a strong influence from Chinese folk music. In addition to the guitar (and numerous effects pedals!), he also played his favourite zhongruan and, in the encore, a pipa which he has electrified with a guitar pick-up. [I'm afraid I missed that final part of the performance because my camera battery ran out - sorry!]

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Jean-Sebastien's visit was generously supported by the school's Annual Fund.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Closing Ceremony Finale

Last Sunday morning's Closing Ceremony in our theatre was brought to a rousing conclusion by a performance from the whole-school choir (with assistance from Mr Pratt on his trusty sax and Camille Chiang and Jean Yap on their guitars), conducted as always by Director of Music Tama Karena. They sang Turn The World Around (by Harry Belafonte and Robert Freedman) and Fields of Gold (by Sting).

The choir (and orchestra) also performed Vivaldi's Gloria at the start of the ceremony.

A complete video of the ceremony (and, possibly, one or two short 'highlights reels') should also be appearing in the next few days.

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Monday, 15 June 2015

Farewell to Tongzhou

One week ago today.... we were on Tongzhou island again for our final IDE of the year, led by the PE department. On Sunday, students had criss-crossed the island on bikes, tracking down various 'Important Places' where a Tongzhou local or a Chinese member of the CIS Hangzhou staff was waiting to share unexpected stories about their lives with them. These encounters then became the basis for an art exhibit of photos and postcards, which we left in the village's 'Cultural Hall' as a memento of our visit.

On Monday, students could choose from a number of activities, including tai chi, farming (didn't manage to get any photos of that - sorry!), sewing soft toys, cooking, dancing, and kayaking. Zhejiang's notorious early summer 'plum rains' could not dampen our spirits - rather the reverse, if anything!

We rounded our trip off with a very big dinner in the 'Cultural Hall' on Monday evening.

Slideshow by Mr Murphy

The music is Incident at Gate 7 by Thievery Corporation, part of the iPhoto music library licensed by Apple for royalty-free use.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Kind of blue

German-Brazilian art photographer Juliana Borinski came up to join us for our end-of-year 'Arts Festival', after spending the previous week at our parent school in Hong Kong. 

She showed us a slideshow of some of her work, gave talks on her fascination with the history of photography, and led some workshops in which Art and Film students had an opportunity to play around with some long-exposure contact development processes to create collages. A technique using albumen (egg white), similar to the silver nitrate process used by pioneer photographers in the 1800s, producing sepia-coloured images, was a limited success; problems with 'fixing' the images meant that most of them soon faded and disappeared. These pictures created using cyanotype paper (long used to copy architectural drawings and engineering diagrams - 'blueprints') worked much better.

And she concluded her week with us by leading a small group of volunteers in creating this fun little stop-motion animation.

Juliana's visit was generously supported by the school's Annual Fund.

Slideshows by Mr Murphy

The music in the first slideshow is Endless Summer (artist uncredited) and in the second Skating (by Vince Guaraldi), both part of the iPhoto music library licensed by Apple for royalty-free use.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Design IDE Fashion Show - another look

Hangzhou Motu Creative, the events company which helped us to stage the Fashion Show that was the climax of our Design IDE week in mid-April, has just shared with us their professionally shot film of the event, which is naturally a rather slicker affair than the short and long records of the event which I produced (well, they had high-quality cameras - and a crane!). It's amazing that this was only 7 or 8 weeks ago; it feels as though years have gone by since - such is the frenetic pace of life here at CIS Hangzhou.

We have a lot of events planned to greet our parents as they visit for this Farewell Weekend - but nothing quite as grand as this!

Not filmed by Mr Murphy

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Yet more highlights from the Shanghai Ultimate tournament

In addition to the extended highlights (and complete films!) I posted a few days ago of the quarter-final (in which CIS Hong Kong beat CIS Hangzhou, but got a bit of a scare early on) and the final (which CIS Hong Kong won in style - yay!) of last month's Shanghai Open Ultimate Tournament for youth teams, I've also made a short film of highlights of the first day's round-robin games, featuring both CIS teams.

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

More frisbee magic!

Although our Hangzhou Ultimate team were disappointed to lose out to the parent school's team at the quarter-final stage of last month's Shanghai Open Youth Tournament, they took consolation from the fact that CIS Hong Kong then went on to even more convincing victories in the semi-final and final. The final was a tough test for them, though, as they found themselves re-matched with the very able Nanmo side - the only team to have managed to beat them during the previous day's round-robin games. Above are the highlights of an excellent game. (Our own Abigail Smith was loaned to the HK team for the weekend, and made a valuable contribution in this final.) 

The CIS Hong Kong team - most of whom learnt the game with us here in Hangzhou last year - has now become truly formidable at Ultimate; their movement and passing is often quite breathtaking to watch. Here are a couple of my favourite moments from the Shanghai semi-final.

A complete film of the final can be seen here. [Well, nearly complete. I'm afraid missed a few things, as the majority of the points were scored at the end of the field furthest from me, and the crowd on the near touchline often obscured my view.]

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Monday, 8 June 2015

Parents' Weekend Choir Performance - November 2014

Since our parents are about to descend on us for the second and final time at the end of this week, this seems an apt time to post this film I made of one of the key entertainments at our first parents' weekend back in November. During Saturday morning break our whole-school choir, conducted by our Director of Music Tama Karena, greeted their parents with a performance of the Zambian hymn Bonse Aba (accompanied by our African drumming troupe), and followed up with sentimental Chinese folk song Mo Li Hua (茉莉花). Andy Ji played the erhu.

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Another first: our very own MUN conference

Our MUN Club here in Hangzhou has been exceptionally active this year, largely thanks to the energetic leadership of Emily Duncan. Together with other leading lights Enrique Chuidian and Flora Xiao she decided to round off the year by staging a full one-day conference, CISMUN, on our campus last Sunday. 

Unfortunately, they were not able to entice other Hangzhou schools to join in the event as they had hoped, but very nearly half of our own student body participated as committee chairs, delegates, or administrative assistants - and for the majority of them, it was their first experience in that role. What we learned from the day was that pizza and cookies can secure world peace... unless Enrique is chairing the Security Council.

Slideshow by Mr Murphy

The music is Skating by Vince Guaraldi, part of the iPhoto music library licensed by Apple for royalty-free use.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Ultimate showdown!

Two weeks ago a large party of frisbee enthusiasts, led by their coach Wang Lu, went to Shanghai to compete in the 3rd Shanghai Open Ultimate Tournament for youth teams, hosted on the Pudong campus of the Shanghai American School. As Fate would have it, after grabbing a couple of wins in the first day's group games we found ourselves drawn against CIS Hong Kong in Sunday morning's first quarter-final. The match-up gained additional poignancy from the fact that most of the Hong Kong team were members of last year's inaugural Hangzhou cohort who had learnt how to play Ultimate here from Coach Mentors Wang Lu and Eric Vallone.

Our energetic defense knocked the HK team out of their stride for the first 20 minutes or so, and we were well in the game until half-time, but then superior experience made itself felt. It was a fantastic game from both sides.

The complete match can be seen here.

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Friday, 5 June 2015

TEDx Music (3)

At the climax of our inaugural TEDx event last Thursday former Coach Mentor and now Chinese teacher Wang Lu rounded off his talk about his passion for African drumming by inviting some friends from the Drum Circle he founded a few years ago at Zhejiang University to join him on stage for a performance. This piece is called Kassa, a traditional harvest celebration song from north-east Guinea. 

 Filmed by Mr Murphy

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

TEDx Music (2)

Another of the musical interludes in last week's TEDx event was this group improvisation by Karis Tao (keyboards, vocals), Austin Lam (guitar), and Jasmine and Georgina Savage and Enrique Chuidian (vocals).

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

A day out in Shaoxing

To celebrate the end of regular classes and assessments, yesterday our Chinese department led a day trip to nearby Shaoxing, one of the quaint Jiangnan water towns, famous for its 臭豆腐 and its dark brown wine. In the morning we visited the ancestral home of the great writer Lu Xun, and in the afternoon went to the beautiful Shen Garden, celebrated as one of the most romantic places in China through its association with Song Dynasty lovers Lu You and Tang Wan.

Slideshow by Mr Murphy

The music is called Soft, apparently by a group called Washed Out - part of the iPhoto music library licensed by Apple for royalty-free use.

Monday, 1 June 2015

TEDx Music (1)

One of the highlights of last week's inaugural TEDx Youth event at CIS Hangzhou was this performance of The Cranberries' Linger by Emily Duncan and Jae Lamb.

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Saturday, 30 May 2015

TEDx highlights

This Thursday afternoon in our theatre we staged our first TEDx conference, an event entirely organised by students: Jasmine and Georgina Savage and Enrique Chuidian.

Coach Mentor Jean Yap arranged the technical support, with assistance from Lauren Justice, Jennifer Chan, Shanyu Hou, and Celeste Yau.

Tristan Wong co-ordinated the filming, with additional camerawork by Jae Lamb, Samantha Koo and yours truly.

Tristan will try to prepare one or more official commemorative films of the event, bringing together bits of the best of all four camera angles. But for now, here is a 'rush' of my footage. Watch out for more over the next week or so.

Filmed by Mr Murphy

You can see all the contributions to our inaugural TEDx event at the following links:


Mia Kriegel  -  Embracing change

Tiffany Ng  -  Celebrating your weirdness

Tippy Pei & Dominic Law  -  Hong Kong public schools

Sabrina Chan  -  Falling in love with a city

Katie Eu  -  Being nice on social media

Wang Lu  -  The magic of African drumming


Emily Duncan & Jae Lamb  -  'Linger' (by The Cranberries)

Karis Tao, Austin Lam, Jasmine Savage,
Georgina Savage & Enrique Chuidian  -  group musical improvisation

Wang Lu and friends  -  African Drumming: 'Kassa' - a traditional harvest song from Guinea

Friday, 29 May 2015

The Big Match: doing battle with GYS on the football pitch

Here are some highlights from Monday's re-match against the football team of our Chinese host school, Greentown Yuhua. When we played them near the start of the year, it was an exhausting 0-0 draw. They got a rather better result this time. (I'm afraid my camerawork wasn't the best on this, and I missed to capture one of our goals altogether. The final score was 4-2 to GYS.)

A (very nearly) full film of the match can be seen here

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Thursday, 28 May 2015

TEDx is here!

As promised, here is a trailer for this afternoon's TEDx Youth event here at CIS Hangzhou, which has been organised by Jasmine and Georgina Savage and Enrique Chuidian.

A film by Tristan Wong

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

TEDx draws nigh

Students are staging a small TEDx conference on Thursday afternoon. Here is a very short promo Tristan Wong made to advertise the event. He promises me he has a more substantial trailer nearly ready too.

A film by Tristan Wong


In this video Anthony Lauderdale and his team used a parody of the Wiz Khalifa song Black and Yellow to illustrate the trigonometry mnemonic SOHCAHTOA for their final presentation in the Maths IDE back in March. The other members of the team were Tippy Pei, Adam Guo, Kate Bradley, Shanyu Hou, Constance Lam, and Lauren Mok.

A film by Anthony Lauderdale

Monday, 25 May 2015

Maths is REAL (oh, yes it is!)

Adrian Lee led his team's demonstration of why "Maths is REAL" in this film made for their final presentation in the Maths IDE activity at the end of March. The other members of his team were Tiffany Ng, Jennifer Chan, Vivian Gu, Angela Zhang, Vrithik Mehta, and Will Baxter-Bray.

A film by Tiffany Ng

Friday, 22 May 2015

'Science Week' revisited (4)

For her 'Science Week' project, Jasmine Savage chose to freeze things with liquid nitrogen - and then SMASH them. 

It looks very pretty. And very cathartic!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

'Science Week' revisited (3)

Ingrid Tsang and her GYS study partner Chen Jun Lei (陳駿磊) chose to investigate the physics of skateboarding for their 'Science Week' project. They were able to enlist the help of one of Hangzhou's top skateboarding enthusiasts, Feng Zi (風子) to demonstrate a couple of crucial moves. [This film runs twice: first in English, then in Chinese.]

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

'Science Week' revisited (2)

In our 'Science Week' last month, Jennifer Allardice and Ariana Beaver, together with their GYS partners Jackie and Tony, decided to use liquid nitrogen to make a super-quick Green Apple Sorbet. Looks yummy! 

It would have been more economical if they could have used some of the apples that Adrian smashed in his martial arts demonstration (the first film in our 'Science' series this week) - why didn't we think of that?

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

'Science Week' revisited (1)

A number of student teams prepared short videos as part of the final exhibit for their 'Science Week' projects last month. This week I'll be sharing a few of the best. Here we start with martial arts enthusiast Adrian Lee (assisted behind-the-scenes by his GYS study partner Martin Yang) analysing the physics of nunchuks, etc....

Monday, 18 May 2015

Driven to abstraction!

I shot so much video during our Science Fair a few weeks back that much of it had to end up "on the cutting-room floor" (as we used to say in the good old days). Here's a montage of some of those previously unused clips, some visually arresting little oddities I got distracted by while out and about with 'Marty' that day. [I've recently given all our cameras the names of famous film directors. The one I usually use with our 'Fig Rig' is named in honour of the legendary Mr Scorsese.]

A film by Mr Murphy

The music is Surf Rider by The Lively Ones (perhaps best known as the end credit music from Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction).

Friday, 8 May 2015

Three weeks ago today....

Gosh, was it as recently as that?! It seems like... months ago.

I have already shared a highlights reel of the Fashion Show with which we concluded our 'Design Week' IDE, but here is the full event.

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Let's go fly a kite!

Yesterday Wang laoshi and our Chinese Department led an afternoon outing to the West Lake Kite Museum, where students enjoyed painting their own traditional kites. 

Flying them afterwards was a bit more of a problem.... in a high-walled courtyard full of trees! Getting our creations airborne required some ingenuity, and quite a lot of legwork.

[Special thanks to Jasmine Savage for the line of the afternoon!!!]

Filmed by Mr Murphy

The music here is.... er, well.... I don't know. Can anyone help me? It's a traditional Chinese (western Chinese, Central Asian...) piece, I believe. I've owned it for ages; but, although I bought it in China, the track information is displayed in Japanese (and is strangely insusceptible to Google Translate)!

Friday, 1 May 2015

Caught Reading!

The Library Committee has been running a photography competition for the past few weeks on the theme of being "Caught Reading" in somewhat unusual circumstances. Several students and a few members of staff (although they can't be "in competition") have given their creativity a free rein on this. Here are some of the best examples. 

The results are due to be announced in Assembly next Monday. 

Slideshow compiled by Mr Murphy; photographs by numerous members of the CIS Hangzhou community

The music here is an adaptation of Pharrell Williams' Happy by Youtuber Adreanna Pankow.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Another MUN event in Shanghai

We have a very active MUN Club in Hangzhou this year, largely thanks to the vigorous leadership of Emily Duncan. Last weekend we visited Shanghai again to attend a one-day conference hosted by Dulwich College Shanghai, the inaugural Shanghai International MUN (SHIMUN), organised by two outstanding young Dulwich students - Pan Ling Wan and Johnnie Yu. 

Many thanks and congratulations are owed to Pan Ling and Johnnie and their admin team for setting up such a great event inside the space of barely three months!

And we are naturally rather chuffed that our Adam Guo (prominently featured in the middle of this slideshow!), the representative of Djibouti, was acclaimed as the 'Best Speaker' in the General Assembly.

The other members of our delegation were Emily Duncan, Flora Xiao, Enrique Chuidian, Natalie Chak, Katherine Ye, Lauren Mok, Tippy Pei, Dominic Law, and Sabrina Chan. MUN newcomers Chee Ling Wu and Stephanie Wu helped out in admin roles, and Jacky Tam took photographs for the conference press team.

There are also some pictures from Sunday, when we took advantage of some spectacular early summer weather to stroll around the French Concession (ending up at the delightful Garden Books) - after having a very big lunch

Slideshow by Mr Murphy

The music is generic iTunes/iPhoto "slideshow music", so hopefully not infringing anyone's copyright.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Science Fair

Here are some images from our recent Science Fair, held just over a week ago on a gorgeously sunny day which felt like the cusp between late spring and early summer. 

This impressive exhibition was the culmination of a week-long Science-led 'Inter-Disciplinary Experience' in which our students had buddied up with an opposite number from our Chinese host institution, Greentown Yuhua Middle School, to work in pairs on self-devised projects which combined science with another subject discipline - such as music, art, maths, or English literature.

Filmed by Mr Murphy

The music here is Birdland, composed by Joe Zawinul and performed by his band Weather Report. 

(And in the first half of the film there is an unnamed groove laid down by our very own African drumming troupe.)

Monday, 20 April 2015

Fashion Show

Last Friday, students put on their own catwalk fashion show in the theatre, as the climax of our week-long Design IDE. Hangzhou Motu Creative Company staged the event for us, and modelling consultant Ms Annie Jiang coached our models in the art of the flouncy walk and the moody pose. [Some fun stuff from rehearsals the day before can be seen here. And the whole show is now posted here.]

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Saturday, 18 April 2015

The art of the catwalk....

On Thursday afternoon, students took over the Library to practise strutting their stuff for the catwalk show of self-designed clothes that would be the climax of our week-long Design IDE the next day. Modelling consultant Annie Jiang put them through their paces. 

[If you are narcissistic - or masochistic - enough to want to see even more of this, there is a 'complete' version here.]

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Mr Murphy - caught reading

To publicise the 'Caught Reading' photo competition my Library Committee is running at the moment, I made this little slideshow of pictures of myself reading a number of books during the recent Easter vacation. I really will read pretty much anywhere! In a cafe, in a bar, in an ornamental garden, in the shower.... in the middle of a marathon?!

A slideshow by Mr Murphy

The music is Hey Now by the jazz pianist Red Garland and his Trio

Friday, 3 April 2015

Maths in the open air

On our last two days before this year's Easter break, students went out to two nearby scenic spots in Hangzhou, the Xixi Wetlands Park and the Bagua Tian, to practise their maths with a number of practical challenges. We were lucky that Spring was just blooming... although the weather did turn a bit grey and drizzly on the second day, down at Bagua Tian (it was difficult to work out the height of the adjacent mountain using trigonometry when its upper half was completely obscured by low cloud!).

There was added motivation for these tasks this year, because our Maths teachers had threatened to quit teaching and find new jobs if students couldn't reassure them that mathematics is useful in the real world!

A slideshow by Mr Murphy

The music is Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

Oh dear - it was rather naughty of me to use the Dave Brubeck piece! It is of course still under copyright, and thus the slideshow is blocked by Youtube in some countries.

Here is a revised version with a classical Chinese erhu piece, 蝉院鐘声, accompanying it (which I am pretty sure is not copyright-protected - or not aggressively so).

You can see a film made by some of last year's students during the same activity here.

Friday, 27 March 2015

It's all about the journey...

This is the best project completed by last year's Film class students on their final study unit on 'Journeys': the simple subject of a student running a few laps around our sports field becomes a rather broader and more resonant evocation of our campus life.

I was particularly impressed by the range of different shots in this short film; there was a lot of clever dolly work, improvised using one of the wheeled chairs from the Library.

A film by Brian Lau, David Zhang, and Jasper Ng (the runner)

The music is Techy by Marcus Neely

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Maths teachers in crisis

There's something amiss with our Maths teachers... they seem to have lost their faith in their subject... 

Perhaps our Maths IDE this week can save them???

An Alan Smithee film

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Fat Chance

This was one of the best of last year's Film class efforts on their unit of study on Reality TV. They were asked to produce a series trailer illustrating a new Reality TV concept of their own devising. This scenario was a makeover challenge for an overweight youngster. This year's Film students have just embarked on the same task, so I shared this with them as an inspiration.

 A film by Joe Littler, Kameka Herbst, Hayson Chu, and Amy Hopkins

Hayson was the narrator/personal trainer, Joe the compulsive eater, and Vanessa Wat was his would-be love interest.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The sun always shines on CGF!

Well, it hasn't for the last few weeks! We've had a grim run of weather in Hangzhou lately, but this week the sun has reappeared and it has started to feel as though Spring may be just around the corner at last. This made for a particularly jolly outing for the China Grassroots Football crew yesterday, and Mr Pratt couldn't resist making another slideshow.

Slideshow by Mr Pratt

The music is Soul Machine by Manu Dibango

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Hogwarts in China?!

There were many great moments in our Chunjie skit show just before the last vacation, but many people's favourite was this little 'Harry Potter' clip in which Coach Mentor He Guannan and his boys from dormitory S.202 compared certain of our staff to characters from the famous Hogwarts school. 
[I am flattered to be 'played' by the great Alan Rickman, though I really don't see the Snape connection!!!]

Thursday, 5 March 2015


Last Friday, CIS Hong Kong, our parent school, held its annual dinner for its support staff. Our IT Manager, Edwin Chan, represented CIS Hangzhou at this event, and gave a talk about our progress over our first 18 months of operation (is it only that long??).

He put together this slideshow of his own and other staff members' photographs to illustrate his remarks.

Slideshow created by Edwin Chan

Monday, 2 March 2015

African Drums for the Chinese New Year

The finale to our Farewell Concert just before Chinese New Year was a routine by our ever-popular African Drumming troupe: Jerry Yang, Sabrina Chan, Victoria Ngai, Becca Guo, Constance Lam, Adam Guo, Wang Lu, and Pierre Biret.

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Friday, 27 February 2015

Lion Dances in public

Most of our lion dancers only did their routines for the rest of the school, but three of the best pairs - as voted for by their classmates - got to perform at a city centre shopping mall, alongside our charity craft fair, which was the centrepiece of our Chinese 'IDE' celebrating the coming Lunar New Year.

Performers:       Red Lion             Mia Kriegel and Tristan Wong
                           Orange Lion        Chloe Lee and Isabella Boyne

                           Blue Lion           Sherson Ng and Andy Ji

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

More music from our Chinese New Year celebrations

This is Andy Ji practising the erhu piece 良宵 (Liang Xiao - Beautiful Night) by Liu Tianhua, in preparation for a public performance in the outdoor plaza of the Euro American Center mall the next day, alongside our pop-up craft market there - the centrepiece of our Chinese 'IDE' to celebrate the approaching Chinese New Year.

And here's the actual performance at the plaza on Friday 6th February. (There is, unfortunately, quite a lot of background noise, but the sound recording has come out fairly well on this.)

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Monday, 23 February 2015

A cappella performance

Enrique Chuidian, Kate Bradley, Karis Tao, Isabella Boyne, and Jasmine and Georgina Savage rehearse an a cappella arrangement of the popular Chinese song Da Hai A Gu Xiang (大海啊 故乡, composed by Wang Liping), in preparation for a performance at our Chinese New Year's Craft Fair event at the Euro American Center shopping mall the next day.

And you can hear them performing it at the EAC here (although it's not a great recording, as it was in the open air and there was a lot of background noise).

Filmed by Mr Murphy