Archive for the ‘Academic Resources’ Category

New Book on Independent Chinese Documentary

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

9780748695621.coverWe’re excited to welcome the publication of a new book, Independent Chinese Documentary: Alternative Visions, Alternative Publics, written by Dan Edwards and published by Edinburgh University Press. Dan has contributed several outstanding articles to dGenerate in the past, and his book is a welcome addition to the burgeoning field of contemporary Chinese cinema and documentary studies.

Details on the book are as follows:

Independent Chinese Documentary: Alternative Visions, Alternative Publics analyses how independent documentaries are forging a new public sphere in today’s China

Since the turn of the twenty-first century there has been an explosion in Chinese independent documentary filmmaking. But how are we to understand this vibrant burst of activity? Are these films brave expressions of dissidence, or do they point to a more complex attempt to expand the terms of public discourse in the People’s Republic?

This timely study is based on detailed interviews with Chinese documentary makers rarely available in English, and insights gained by the author while working as a journalist in Beijing. It considers the relationship between independent documentaries and China’s official film and television sectors, exploring the ways in which independent films probe, question and challenge the dominant ideas and narratives circulating in the state-sanctioned public sphere. Detailed analyses of key contemporary documentaries reveal a sustained attempt to forge an alternative public sphere where the views and experiences of petitioners, AIDS sufferers, dispossessed farmers and the victims of Mao’s repression can be publicly aired for a small, but steadily growing, public.

Key Features:

  • A detailed account of one of the world’s most active, vibrant and challenging contemporary documentary sectors
  • Draws extensively on first-hand interviews with filmmakers
  • Offers in-depth, critical analyses of China’s most challenging contemporary independent documentaries
  • Discusses China’s state-sanctioned film and television sectors to cast new light on how the official public sphere is shaped and guided by the state

Chinese Cinema Author Expresses Changing Opinion of Indie Films

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
China on Film: A Century of Exploration, Confrontation and Controversy, by Paul Pickowicz

China on Film: A Century of Exploration, Confrontation and Controversy, by Paul Pickowicz

Recently China Digital Times interviewed Paul Pickowicz, Distinguished Professor of History and Chinese Studies at the University of California San Diego and author of China on Film: A Century of Exploration, Confrontation and Controversy (Rowan and Littlefield 2013). In a long and far-ranging conversation, Pickowicz reflects on his groundbreaking work at the China Film Archive in the 1980s, forging relationships with Chinese film scholars and filmmakers at a time when the Chinese film industry saw little interaction with the West.  He also shares his observations on different eras of Chinese film from the 1920s to the present.Of particular relevance to us at dGenerate is his answer to a question regarding his shifting opinion of the independent films of the past two decades:

CDT: Why did you initially deem the wave of underground and independent productions that came out shortly before and after 2000  “self-indulgent” and “trivial” but later change your mind saying “Chinese artists had earned the right to be self-indulgent” because of decades of “Maoist collectivism and asceticism.” 

PGP: When I first began to take a close look at large numbers of these films, documentaries and features alike, I was no doubt hoping for the same sort of independent, critical engagement with broad social issues that we see in the films made before 1949 by independent, non-state sector filmmakers.  I was looking for political critiques and at least some finger pointing.  I was interested in such issues as environmental degradation, recovering lost histories, child trafficking, corruption, and organized crime.  Eventually I found many significant works that treated such topics, films like Peng Tao’s Red Snow (Hongse xue, 2006), Liu Bingjian’s Crying Woman (Kuqi de nuren, 2002), and Ai Xiaoming’s Love and Care (Guan ai zhi jia, 2007).  But initially I looked randomly through our collection and struck by the large numbers of films that seemed very inwardly directed instead of outwardly directed.  I was looking for critical protest films but was confronted by very large numbers of films, especially documentaries, that screamed, “Look at me!”  They seemed very self-indulgent to me and I quickly tired of their repetitiveness.  But of course I soon realized that these films were highly political in their own ways.  They were, after all, a very logical response to decades of Maoist collectivism when people were supposed to “merge with the masses” and deny “self.”  Once a space suddenly opened up for reflections on self and individual identities, many, many young urbanites took the plunge.  They engaged with passion in what I call “identity searches.”

The full interview can be read at China Digital Times.

Journal of Chinese Cinemas Call for Papers

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Journal of Chinese Cinemas is a major peer-reviewed academic publication
devoted to the study of Chinese film produced anywhere in the world. Now
into its eighth year of publication, it has found a new home with
Routledge from 2014. It is thus an opportune moment to invite new
submissions that reflect the current and future directions of scholarship
on Chinese cinemas. Recently published articles include topics ranging
from China’s distribution systems in the 1920s and 1930s and
representations of the Nanjing massacre to Hong Kong independent cinema
and kung fu comedies made in Malaysia. We also welcome proposals for
special issues on any topic, an example being a forthcoming issue on
Deleuze and Chinese cinema.
Manuscripts for consideration should be sent to Song Hwee Lim (Editor) at
shlim (at) or Julian Ward (Associate Editor) at
Julian.ward (at)

Authors must submit manuscripts electronically. Electronic submissions
should be sent as email attachments using a standard word-processing
program. Please check this webpage for instructions before submission:

Song Hwee LIM
Associate Professor
Department of Cultural and Religious Studies
Leung Kau Kui Building
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong

Updates from Chinese Film Fest Studies

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Chinese film scholars Chris Berry and Luke Robinson, who manage the website Chinese Film Fest Studies, offer the following recent updates to the site:

NEWS: We have an item via Screen Daily that discusses the popularity of
the French Online Film Festival in China. Additionally, we have
information on the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Nanjing-based
China Independent Film Festival, which will be taking place in May in the
UK. As part of the celebrations, films from the festival will be being
screened in Newcastle, Nottingham and London, with directors Feng Yan and
Pema Tseden in attendance. There will also be a symposium and exhibition
at Newcastle, at which Zhang Xianmin (BFA) and Cao Kai (CIFF) will both
speak. Details about the events in Newcastle and Nottingham can be found
on the website, under News. Further news about the London events to follow.


Remembering Lin Zhao: A Media Review

Thursday, February 20th, 2014
Searching for Lin Zhao's Soul (dir. Hu Jie)

Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul (dir. Hu Jie)

Last December 16 marked the 81st anniversary of Lin Zhao’s birth (it’s technically the 82nd because although her birth certificate says 12/16/1932, her real birthday was 12/16/1931). Lin, a top student from Peking University, was imprisoned for defending students and leaders persecuted during Mao Zedong’s Anti-Rightist Movement in the late 1950s. A gifted writer, Lin composed endless articles and poems from her cell. Forbidden to use pens, she wrote using a hairpin dipped in her own blood. In 1968 she was executed, her tragic life lost to the margins of history.

Four decades after Lin’s execution, filmmaker Hu Jie filmed Searching For Lin Zhao’s Soul, a chronicle of Hu’s investigative journey to bring Lin’s story to light, uncovering the details of this forgotten woman’s fight for civil rights.

Hu Jie has collected multiple articles about the anniversary, many of which are published in particular relation to the recent news of former Red Guard Song Binbin’s apology for participating in the student movements that led to the death of her former teacher, Bian Zhongyun, at the start of the Cultural Revolution. This incident is documented in another documentary by Hu Jie, Though I Am Gone. Both Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul and Though I Am Gone are available as part of the dGenerate Films Collection.

The following articles provided by Hu are all in Chinese. The authors and titles are translated into English by Isabelle Tianzi Cai.


Updates on Chinese Film Festival Studies: Festival Reports and Conference

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Our friends at the Chinese Film Festival Studies Research Network website  announce that April 1, 2014, the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese Film Festival Studies Network will host a one-day conference on Chinese film festivals. This is open to non-network members, and we invite proposals for papers to be presented. Details can be found on the News section of the website.

Additionally the website has two new festival reports from members of the Chinese Film Festival Studies network:

Dina Iordanova (St Andrews) reviews the Festival du Cinema Chinois in Paris, which took place in November 2013.

Ma Ran (Nagoya) reports from the 4th Chinese Independent Film Festival in Tokyo, which took place in December 2013. Excerpt:

The festival itself is motivated by the desire to establish Sino-Japan connections at a grassroots level, where communication is greatly valued and prioritized. Hence throughout the years, CIFFT has alternated routine Q&A sessions with Chinese independent cinema-themed discussion roundtables or events of similar nature in its programme (sometimes collaborating with universities), where Japanese film professionals (independent filmmakers, translators, scholars and festival programmers) and Chinese filmmakers can honestly dialogue and exchange ideas with each other.

Visit the Chinese Film Festival Studies Research Network.


New Chinese Film Site Seeks Film Festival Resources

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Chinese Film Festival Studies ( is an exciting new resource for Chinese cinema that connects an international community of scholars interested in film festivals in Chinese-language areas or specializing in Chinese cinema. Launched by film scholars Chris Berry and Luke Robinson with the support of the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council, the site states its aim “to interrogate the rapid growth of Chinese film festivals from a cultural transition perspective.”

As part of its mission, the site is presently compiling a Chinese film festival bibliography, specifically looking to collate a list of non-academic writing on Chinese film festivals. This work could include, for example:


Chris Berry on the New Chinese Documentary Movement

Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Chris Berry

Chris Berry

On May 17, 2013, Chinese film scholar Chris Berry, professor at Kings College, London and co-editor of The New Chinese Documentary Movement: For the Public Record, gave a presentation on Chinese independent documentary as part of the Museum of Modern Art’s series Chinese Realities: Documentary Visions. Titled “Confronting Reality: The New Chinese Documentary Movement,” the presentation discussed the Chinese documentary movement’s impact and the aesthetic and moral questions it has raised for Chinese cinema. With Professor Berry’s permission, the text of his presentation is reproduced below. 


My theme tonight is the theme of this film series – namely, the idea that since the early 1990s,  one of the most powerful driving forces in cinema from the People’s Republic of China has been how to “confront reality.” I believe that the most interesting sector of the industry in this regard has been independent cinema, and in particular independent documentary. Those are the films that being featured in this series at MOMA, and I’m going to talk about some of the ways they confront reality and what makes them so interesting.


Academic openings: USF, Georgia Tech, Williams, Emory

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012


Emory University invites applications for a tenure-track position at the
rank of assistant professor to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in
the Department of Film and Media Studies. Appointment begins in Fall
2013. We are particularly interested in applicants whose research and
teaching focus on one or more of the national cinemas/media of East Asia
and/or South Asia. We especially welcome applications from scholars of
film and media in Korea, China or India. Language and cultural fluency, as
well as an ability to teach core film/media courses, are preferred.
Candidates must possess a Ph.D. at time of appointment, evidence of
excellence in teaching, and must show promise of innovative scholarship,
as well as dedication to building our program. Please send a letter of
application, CV, and three letters of recommendation to Dr. Matthew H.
Bernstein, Chair, Search Committee, Department of Film and Media Studies,
Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322. Applications are due December 15,
2012. Emory University is an EEO/AA employer. Women and Minorities are
encouraged to apply.


Call for Papers: and Oxford Chinese Internet Research Conference; Kentucky Foreign Language Conference

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

China and the New Internet World: The Eleventh Chinese Internet Research
Conference (CIRC11)
Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford
14-15 June 2013

CIRC is an interdisciplinary conference that brings together scholars,
analysts, industry leaders, journalists and legal practitioners from
around the world to examine the impact of the Internet on Chinese society,
including its social, cultural, political and economic aspects, as well as
how China is changing the Internet. Founded in 2003, the eleventh meeting
of the Chinese Internet Research Conference (CIRC) will be held in Oxford,
hosted and co-organized by the Oxford Internet Institute, the Programme of
Comparative Media Law and Policy, and the Reuters Institute for the Study
of Journalism at the University of Oxford in collaboration with the
Steering Committee of the CIRC, the Annenberg School for Communication &
Journalism at USC, the Center for Global Communications Studies (CGCS) at
the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania,
the Global Communication Research Institute (GCRI) at Shanghai Jiao Tong
University, and Singapore Internet Research Centre at Nanyang
Technological University.