Not long after I joined the BAcC, I was delighted when we were approached by writer, producer and former educational developer at the London School of Acupuncture, Sibyl Coldham, to help promote a film produced by The TCM Development Trust and directed by her niece, Zoe Coldham.
‘Journey to the West’ traces Chinese Medicine’s journey to the UK and explores the challenges of recognition where the dominant culture is against you. For me, as a relative newcomer to the BAcC but a longtime advocate of acupuncture, I found it truly fascinating as Sibyl and Zoe explained the premise of the film to me and I felt very lucky to have a sneak preview of some of its content.
Following a private screening for leading members of the acupuncture profession back in the summer, we were then able to share the great news, together with a trailer for this documentary, with our members, just as the film began the applications to the film festival circuit in the hopes of securing a public premiere to screen to a wider audience.
With such a positive response from members having seen just the trailer, we were desperate to offer more to our members but knew we had to be careful what could be shared, so as not to jeopardise the film’s chances with the film festivals. After some great discussions, though, Zoe agreed to edit an ‘extended highlights’ cut just for us – for sharing with our attendees at our annual conference in September.
“After such a positive response at our private premiere in July, a strong interest in the film was generated, in particular amongst members of the acupuncture profession. Although we hadn’t yet secured a festival premiere, we wanted to be able to share something additional to the trailer with the broader acupuncture community. The British Acupuncture Council conference provided a great opportunity to do so. We cut together an exclusive extended highlights of the film with the aim of being able to provide a more comprehensive introduction into the film and its themes.” Zoe Coldham.
On the Friday evening, following a busy day at the ARRC Symposium and gearing up for the start of the conference itself, BAcC members and guests sat down with their drinks (alas, no popcorn) to enjoy just a little bit more of this fantastic documentary. With some familiar faces featured in the film, it was so great to hear the, once again, positive response from the audience. It was widely accepted that this was such a great story which needed to be shared and, not least, with students who were about to embark on their acupuncture learning journey.
So, where are we now? Well…. drum roll….. we’re thrilled to share (although we may already have mentioned it on our social channels!), that Journey to the West has been successful in its application to the North East International Film Festival. The festival is held in Newcastle Upon Tyne, 17-20 November, and we hope this provides an opportunity for more people to view the film. The screening of the film is open to the public and has now been confirmed for Saturday 19th at midday – tickets are on sale now.
For those who aren’t able to make it, though, there are some more exciting opportunities coming up – including a potential distribution deal which will allow people to gain access to rent the film online. Keep an eye on our social channels or follow the documentary’s Instagram page to keep up to date with the latest news.
We’ve loved being part of this documentary’s journey so far and will continue to share updates as awareness increases. Members can keep an eye out in the Winter issue of Acu. for a Q & A with producer, Sibyl Coldham.