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Rural projectionist illuminates village life with silver screen

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HARBIN, May 3 (Xinhua) — As Zheng Feng hangs up a projector curtain and arranges rows of chairs in a remote village, a crowd has already begun to gather, eagerly awaiting the coming attraction.

“Our work is to screen films and bring the art of ‘light and shadow’ to the villages,” said Zheng, a rural projectionist from Mudanjiang City in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province.

Zheng is an employee of Mudanjiang Rural Digital Cinema Line Co., Ltd. and is responsible for film screening and distribution in 56 townships and 887 villages of Mudanjiang together with some 90 colleagues.

The company was founded after Mudanjiang became a pilot city for rural film digital projection in 2007.

Since its establishment, the company has organized over 150,000 film screenings in rural areas, benefiting more than 10 million villagers.

Due to its contribution, the company has been recently named a national vanguard group in serving farmers and grassroots cultural construction.

“There were few cinemas in rural areas, and villagers might not see a single movie throughout a year. Many people persuaded me not to screen films there as it was an arduous work,” recalled Zheng, who used to work at an urban cinema.

“Rural areas need films and cultural enrichment,” Zheng noted. “Film screening in rural areas is not simply about showing films, but contributes to promoting cultural and ethical advancement.”

Through steep and bumpy roads, Zheng has traveled to almost all townships and villages in Mudanjiang for film screening over the past ten-plus years, and his movie projectors have been upgraded from traditional to digital technology.

“Science and technology are advancing, and the screening conditions are getting better, but our adherence to rural public welfare film screening is unchanged,” said Zheng.

In his eyes, a projectionist is like a bridge between the films and audiences. In remote villages, where cultural pursuits are scarce, a bridge is needed to facilitate communication, according to Zheng.

“Sometimes after the screening, the audiences will come to help pack the equipment and ask when the next screening will be,” said Zheng, adding that this gives him and his colleagues a great feeling of satisfaction and recognition.

“I will stick to the work and bring more good movies and joy to rural audiences,” Zheng added.

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