Truth, the only thing necessary in art

Dec. 20 (NBD) -- Let's assume you are making a short video about a city, which particular part would you focus on? Buildings, streets, galleries or lifestyle?

"Truth," Mark Zaslove gave his answer.

"Every art form must express the truth, and video is no different. Are the images truthful to what the director is saying? Do the images tell us, honestly, what the director is feeling? Truth is the only thing that's necessary in art," he noted. 

Mark Zaslove (Photo/Zhang Jian)

An American television and film writer and director and two-time Emmy Award winner, Zaslove is serving as a judge of the Short Video Competition - Tianfu Through the Lens. 

Hosted by NBD, the video contest is now calling for entries worldwide, aimed at displaying the awesome beauty and growing appeal of southwestern China's Chengdu city through short videos.

"I've been fortunate to have been asked to be a judge for this content. It is a chance to see how other filmmakers think. That's always interesting and worthwhile. And it's fun," Zaslove said to NBD, "Chengdu is a fantastic city, so I expect some fantastic videos!" 

When talking about his impressions on Chengdu, he recalled, "When I see Chengdu, I see young people smiling, laughing, mixed in with ancient history and modern architecture. Lots and lots of food! Great food! I see the river a wonderful verdant flow, and an energy. An exciting energy to the city that made me want to see more and more and meet more and more people who lived there."

Growing up in an environment immersed with cultural creativity, Zaslove worked on many well-known Disney cartoons, and wrote scripts for many renowned film production companies like Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. This year, he published his first thriller Death and Taxes. 

With a wealth of experience in the film production industry, he shared unique insights on video making. 

"Let your heart tell you what to shoot and then shoot it as best as you can. It could be happy, sad, epic or intimate, just show the truth of what you want to say, and it will be a good video," he stressed. "Slick isn't always best."

Zaslove himself likes to observe a city through its people.

"A city's spirit, its life-force, is expressed in the faces of its people as they are influenced by the geography of their setting. You can't imagine a city without its people, and you can't imagine a people without their home city. They're tightly interwoven, so, to me, the spirit of a city is the city itself reflected in the faces of its people," he stated. 

When asked to give some advices to participants, Zaslove said Chengdu has all the attributes needed to become a global cultural city as well as profound history and creative young people, and what participants need to do is to find the most appropriate way to express themselves. 

The nature of short video means contents presented must be concise and full of highlights, he added. 

With prize money totaling 1.5 million yuan (217,593 U.S. dollars), the Short Video Competition - Tianfu Through the Lens consists of two categories: one- and three-minute videos. The former is for release on social media platforms like WeChat or Douyin and the latter is for the purpose of public services and media presentation.

Deadline: All entries must be submitted by midnight of March 17, 2019.

How to sign up: Send an e-mail to 

Materials required: 1. Self-introduction; 2. E-mail address; 3. Creative ideas or scripts; 4. One-sentence description of Chengdu; 5. Previous short video works of less than 3 minutes in MP4, MPG, or MOV format. 

For more information, you can contact Ms. Luo via 86-028-86660288 during working hours (09:30-18:00) on business days (Beijing time).