Fourth MEGA festival celebrates creative media

20 May 2024

The fourth MEGA International Creative Media Festival, hosted by Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) from 10-16 May, opened at the Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre.

More than 1.94 million online viewers watched the opening and award ceremony that day.

The fourth MEGA Opening Ceremony

MEGA is an acronym for the creative works the festival celebrates: media, exhibitions, graphics, and art. XJTLU’s Academy of Film and Creative Technology hosts the festival annually. This year’s MEGA, themed “Harmony”, brought together media creators, educators, and students from across the globe to delve into the development of media arts.

Professor Youmin Xi, Executive President of XJTLU, said that MEGA not only enables industry professionals to showcase their talents, but also links the creative, technological, cultural, and other domains to industry and society.

“MEGA thus plays a significant role in fostering the development of cultural and creative industries, shaping the international cultural landscape and influencing future society,” Professor Xi said.

Professor Youmin Xi

Global innovation

This year’s MEGA saw an impressive increase in participation. The submissions more than doubled, from 348 last year to 829 submissions this year from 175 universities and 14 professional media organisations. The number of countries from where the submissions originated also nearly doubled, from 11 last year to 20 this year.

Professor Li-Chuan Evelyn Mai, Associate Dean of XJTLU’s Academy of Film and Creative Technology, said this increase in engagement not only underscores the festival’s growing recognition and influence, but also reflects the dynamic evolution and innovation within the global creative media industry.

Professor Li-Chuan Evelyn Mai

Professor Mai said that the entries for the fourth MEGA festival encompassed a wide range of genres, including film and television production, digital media, and installation art. This diversity highlights the broad range of development trends in the global creative media sector and showcases the industry’s robust abilities to innovate, she said.

Professor Mai also commented on the linguistic diversity within this year’s entries. Entries incorporated local Chinese dialects and other languages from around the world. This not only demonstrated the global reach of MEGA, but also enriched the cultural experience for the audience, fostering an environment that is more diverse and inclusive, she said.

After a rigorous evaluation process, 17 teams and individuals claimed awards at the fourth MEGA festival.

Professor Kees Van Oostrum

In his speech, Professor Kees Van Oostrum, former President of the American Society of Cinematographers and currently affiliated with Shanghai Theatre Academy, said that MEGA demonstrates the creative achievements of different cultures and fosters international collaboration. In addition, it highlights the latest developments in applied media technology across the world and fosters exchanges among industries and academia, he said.

“In an era characterised by rapid technological advancements, this exchange of insights between various creative industries not only drives the progress of art but serves as a bridge between academia and industry,” he said. “These exchanges are equally crucial for advancing education in relevant fields, as they facilitate the dissemination of knowledge, nurture innovative thinking, and help enhance practical skills.”

Shuibo Wang

Shuibo Wang, a globally acclaimed director, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker, and a MEGA judge, commented on the broad range of entries and originating regions and countries.

“The selected works exhibit great diversity in theme, content, form, and style,” he said. With participants from the Chinese mainland, China’s Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, as well as from North America, Europe and far-reaching places like Brazil and South Africa, a “genuinely global gathering” was created, he said.

Unveiling Jiangnan culture to the world

The fourth MEGA also featured a special presentation about Jiangnan Culture. Suzhou, home of XJTLU, is located in the Jiangnan region of China. Jiangnan, the area south of the Yangtze River, is known for cultural characteristics that date back to ancient history, including towns built along canals, scholars, artisans, and classical gardens.

Yilin Li, a graduate student from XJTLU’s Academy of Film and Creative Technology, submitted her graduation project titled “Imperial Kiln Brick”, which earned the unique “Jiangnan Culture Award” at this year’s festival.

Her work is about the imperial kiln bricks created by artisans in Suzhou over the centuries from a special type of soil found north of Suzhou. The large square bricks, used in palaces in China and other special areas, are very solid and require more than 20 steps to make.

Yilin Li

Li said she was grateful MEGA provides a platform to provide works a greater audience and for the chance to exchange insights with exceptional film students and industry experts.

Themed events

Academy of Film and Creative Technology Graduation Works Exhibition at Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre

Digital Media Arts Graduation Works Exhibition at XJTLU

The Film, New Media and Creative Technology Summit on 11 May at the School of Cultural Technology of XJTLU Entrepreneurship College (Taicang), was a highlight. Summit participants discussed the trends and opportunities of AI-generated content in the film, culture, and creative industries. The summit was live-streamed and received more than 1.73 million views.

Other of the festival’s events included the MEGA International Creative Media Competition, Suzhou Intangible Cultural Heritage Exhibition, Academy of Film and Creative Technology Graduation Works Exhibition, MEGA Award-winning Works Screening, and Exhibition of Film and Digital Media Technology Equipment.

The fourth MEGA Film, New Media and Creative Technology Summit

The fourth MEGA festival was supported by the Suzhou Dushu Lake Entrepreneurship Development Center, Jingtiancheng (Suzhou) Cultural & Tourism Development Company, Suzhou Momibook Company, Unilumin Group Company and Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre.


By Wenzhen Li

Edited by Luyun Shi, Tamara Kaup and Xinmin Han

Translated by Xueqi Wang

20 May 2024