The Community Channel, the broadcaster owned by the communication charity the Media Trust, produced the film Lai See as part of its Give More, Get More campaign. The campaign promotes volunteering to communities across the UK. Lai See specifically targets the Chinese community.
This humorous and surreal film by Paul Wu is named after the red envelopes filled with money that are given as gifts during traditional Chinese celebrations.
It tells the story of Peng, a man who lives selfishly despite being born in the Year of the Pig, which is usually associated with happiness and honesty. After receiving a message in a lai see, Peng goes on a journey of self-discovery and realises how rewarding volunteering can be.
"We chose to use a movie rather than a documentary because we wanted to be innovative and creative," says Keith Winestein, media marketing manager for Media Trust campaigns. "We wanted to do something new, and also try to be fun."
The premiere of Lai See was timed to coincide with the celebrations for the Chinese new year. "This year is the year of the pig, which is a positive symbol in Chinese culture and embodies many qualities associated with volunteering," says Winestein.
Volunteers and celebrities received the red carpet treatment at the premiere, which took place on 21 February at a cinema across the road from London's Chinatown. Afterwards, volunteers were honoured with spoof golden-pig 'Oscars'.