Archive for the ‘Chinese Cinema Events’ Category

Best of Beijing Independent Film Festival Coming to NYC (update: 3 new films, 2 new venues announced)

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

* July 28 update:

– two additional screening venues have joined the series, adding two additional films to the lineup. Egg and Stone will screen August 17 at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP; and The Last Moose of Aoluguya will screen September 9 at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University.

– Additionally, UnionDocs has added a fifth film to their portion of the series: The River of Life will screen September 11.

– Filmmaker Li Luo will now be present at both screenings of his film Emperor Visits the Hell at Anthology Film Archives, August 7 and 10.

CINEMA ON THE EDGE: THE BEST OF THE BEIJING INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL 2012-2014 showcases the best recent Chinese independent cinema at multiple venues in New York City

Kickstarter campaign launches in support of Cinema on the Edge

Cinema on the Edge: The Best of the Beijing Independent Film Festival 2012-2014
August 7 to September 13, 2015
Anthology Film Archives, The Asia Society, Maysles Cinema at the Maysles Documentary Center, Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), and UnionDocs

A film series unlike any other, “Cinema on the Edge: Best of the Beijing Independent Film Festival” celebrates the daring spirit and creative innovation of independent filmmakers and festival organizers in mainland China. The Beijing Independent Film Festival (BIFF) has been at the forefront of presenting these groundbreaking films in China, but for the last three years the festival has met substantial official resistance. Several of these films will now be brought to the United States for the first time, to be screened in some of the best museums and cinemas in New York City.

This film series features 18 programs of outstanding recent Chinese independent cinema, showcasing the work of such acclaimed filmmakers as Ai Weiwei, Li Luo, Hu Jie, Zou Xueping and Yang Mingming.  The series is organized and curated by three of Chinese independent cinema’s most committed supporters: producer and distributor Karin Chien, critic and curator Shelly Kraicer, and filmmaker and anthropologist J.P. Sniadecki. Six of NYC’s most revered film and cultural institutions will present these works: Anthology Film Archives, Asia Society, Maysles Cinematheque, The Weatherhead East Asian Insitute at Columbia University Museum of Chinese in America, Made in NY Media Center by IFP, and UnionDocs.

The program team is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for guest travel and program printing, enabling the series to foster important dialogue and discussion around these films. []

Click through for the full series description and list of films. A video introducing the campaign can be viewed here:


Furman University Hosts Chinese Environmental Film Festival This Week

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

chinesefilm3The Chinese Environmental Film Festival and Workshop is a collaboration between filmmakers, scholars and experts who are interested in examining the environmental issues facing China. Organized by faculty and staff members at Furman University, the event is being held for the first time.

The festival, which will be held Feb. 26-28, will feature eight films, including the premiere of a documentary produced by two filmmakers from China’s Yunnan Province. The final day of the festival will include a workshop where speakers and experts will have the opportunity to provide critical commentary related to the films.

Supported by a Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment grant, the event is part of Furman’s ongoing effort to encourage innovative interdisciplinary teaching, research and programming on Asia’s environment.

Full schedule follows:


Filmmaker Wu Wenguang visits UC Santa Cruz

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Next week the University of California, Santa Cruz will host two events centered around the visit to University of California, Santa Cruz of Wu Wenguang, one of China’s leading independent documentary makers, and three artists (Zhang


Mengqi, Li Xinmin, Zou Xueping) from the Caochangdi Workshop in Beijing.

The two events are:

1) Tuesday, Nov. 4, 7 pm, Public screening of Children’s Village (2012) by Zou Xueping, part of Caochangdi’s Folk Memory Project on China’s Great Famine (1959-1961), followed by discussion with Wu Wenguang and the Caochangdi artists. Location: Communications 150, Studio C, University of California, Santa Cruz.

2) Wednesday, Nov. 5, 10 am – 1pm, CDAR (Center for Documentary Arts and Research) post-realist seminar which offers a great opportunity for in-depth and close-range discussion with the Caochangdi group on issues of documentary field work, remembering, and collective choreography.

Registration required. Contact Jonathan Kahana (jkahana at or Alex Johnston (alwjohns at

Location: Communications 150, Studio D, University of California, Santa Cruz.

Beijing Independent Film Festival: Video and Summary of Reports

Friday, September 5th, 2014

The Chinese Film Festival Studies Research Network has posted a helpful collection of links to news reports, statements and other information related to the closing of the Beijing Independent Film Festival last August. Also included are statements from festival organizer Li Xianting listing a timeline of his interactions with authorities prior to the shutdown and an official response (in Chinese) from the Festival to the authorities.  The site also links to a Chinese-language editorial by independent film producer and programmer Zhang Xianmin on the current difficulties facing independent film festivals in China, originally published in the Chinese edition of the New York Times.

Scott E. Myers, PhD Candidate of the University of Chicago, also contributed his first-person account of what happened on the day of the shutdown. Below is video footage of locals confronting festival attendees that day, posted on the YouTube account of filmmaker and festival organizer Wang Wo.

New Film Offers New Perspective on Tibet

Monday, August 25th, 2014
Zanta and her son Yang Qing. Photo: Jocelyn Ford

Zanta and her son Yang Qing. Photo: Jocelyn Ford

In Forbes, Eric Meyer profiles Jocelyn Ford, director of the new documentary Nowhere To Call Home, which chronicles Ford’s own complicated relationship with Zanta, a Tibetan widow who flees to Beijing to give her son a better life. The film had its world premiere at the Museum of Modern Art as part of its current series “Lens on Tibet.”

Ford, a Beijing-based journalist, met Zanta while the latter was peddling on a Beijing street to best online slot games raise money for her son. Intrigued by the woman’s story, Ford spent three years filming with Zanta and her son and eventually paid the son’s school fees while helping Zanta stand up to her family members in Tibet who opposed her choice to live and work in Beijing.


Meyer discusses the ethical considerations surrounding the film and its director:

Ford faces her own moral dilemma, and she is not shy about exposing this in her film. On the one hand, the foreign journalist is self-serving. She wants to get an inside story about the life of a traditional Tibetan in contemporary China, something the regime in Beijing tries to hide by largely banning foreign correspondents from travelling to Tibetan regions. Ultimately it is the injustices suffered by Zanta, both in Beijing and in her village, that drag the journalist deep into Zanta’s life. It is an infringement of rules for reporters to interfere with the lives of their subjects. Yet, Ford deftly turns this around on the audience. Had she not violated this rule, the world would be less informed about the hardship of Tibetan women like Zanta, and, as a journalist, she would have been more complicit with Chinese censors.

Nowhere To Call Home has also received coverage in the New York Times and South China Morning Post. Writing for the Times, Ian Johnson commends the film:

The film breaks down the sometimes romantic Shangri-La view that Westerners have of Tibet, showing it to be a place with many hidebound traditions, especially discrimination against women. It also offers a shocking portrait of the outright racism that Zanta and other Tibetans face in Chinese parts of the country. And it shows how many members of minorities lack even basic education: Zanta’s sisters are illiterate, unable to count their change in the market or recognize the numbers on a cellphone.

The film screens again at MoMA August 29.


11th Beijing Independent Film Festival announces program

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

The 11th Beijing Independent Film Festival will be held from August 23 to 31,2014, in Li Xianting’s Film Fund. There are 76 films will be screened in this film festival, which include documentary, fiction and experimental film selections. Besides, this year, we also have foreign film sections, which include: Sad Republic – A selection of New Filipino Films, Special section of Japanese Films, and Five Feelings – International Video Art Experience.

The festival will give out the following different awards:
?Documentary Competition?: An Independent Sprit Award, a Jury Prize, and an Excellent Documentary Award
?Fiction? (including short films and animations): Two Best Fictions of the Year Awards
?Experimental Films?(including contemporary arts): Two Experimental Creativity Awards

Complete program listings after the break.


Two Week Tibetan Film Series Starts Today at MoMA

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
Yartsa Rinpoche (Precious Caterpillar), directed by Dorje Tsering Chenaktsang. (Courtesy of Chenaktsang and Trace Foundation)

Yartsa Rinpoche (Precious Caterpillar), directed by Dorje Tsering Chenaktsang. (Courtesy of Chenaktsang and Trace Foundation)

The Museum of Modern Art, in partnership with the Trace Foundation, begins a 12-film series of films from Tibet from today until August 31. The series will include talks with several of the films directors, including a roundtable discussion and opening reception today from 6-8pm. Details can be found at the Trace Foundation website.

From the MOMA press release:

Lens on Tibet includes the world premiere of Tashi Chopel’s The Son of a Herder (2014), an unembellished portrait of the life of a plateau herder in eastern Tibet’s remote Zehok region. The film highlights an existence caught between ideals and reality, modernity and tradition, and individual choices. Yartsa Rinpoche (Precious Caterpillar) (2013), directed by Dorje Tsering Chenaktsang, follows Darlo, an elder in the Amdo region, and his family as they journey 800 kilometers to collect Cordyceps sinensis (in Tibetan, Yartsa-gunbu), which has been called “Tibet’s golden worm” and “The Viagra of the Himalayas.” Yartsa Rinpoche—which is presented in a weeklong run—receives its North American premiere along with Jocelyn Ford’s breakout Nowhere to Call Home (2014), Dan Smyer Yu’s Embrace (2011), Khashem  Gyal’s The Valley of the Heroes (2013), and Dukar Tserang’s They Are One Hundred Years Old (2014).

Lens on Tibet is organized by Sally Berger, Assistant Curator, Department of Film; and Paola Vanzo, Director of Communications and Development, and Kristina Dy-Liacco, Librarian, Trace Foundation. Presented as part of MoMA’s ContemporAsian series.

Free Documentary Series Explores China’s Environmental Crisis

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

The Asia Society in New York City announces an exciting film series, “Waking the Green Tiger: Documentaries from the Front Lines of China’s Environmental Crisis,” screening August 18-27. The screening features four new documentaries filmed in China showing the nation’s current environmental challenges from multiple perspectives. Admission to the series is free.

The Asia Society website introduces the program as follows:

“The environmental cost of China’s breakneck development can be witnessed across the smoggy skylines of its megacities. But not all of China’s environmental problems are so visually apparent, from soils contaminated by cadmium and arsenic, to diminishing groundwater supplies unfit for drinking. The films in this series of Chinese environmental documentaries make visible some of the hidden consequences of China’s rapid growth and the people fighting to save their communities and livelihoods.”

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Asia Society website. Film titles and descriptions after the break.


“What’s For Dinner?” Tours China, Bringing Awareness of Food Industry

Friday, August 8th, 2014

10407297_10152597366086177_956937610111008085_nAt the website Our Hen House, Alessandra Seiter interviews Wanqing Zhou, Associate at the environmental policy organization Brighter Green. This summer Zhou organized an extensive screening and discussion tour of the film “What’s For Dinner” across China, accompanied by the film’s director Jian Yi. They have organized over a dozen screenings in six cities to date.

Zhou shares her experience showing the film:

OHH: Why did you want to bring What’s For Dinner? to China?

WZ: The issues discussed in What’s For Dinner? are very relevant to China. Without the public becoming aware of them, nothing in the country can be changed. People in China are just starting to be exposed to information regarding meat consumption, pollution, climate change, and health. However, the information tends to be quite general, and there is not yet a local documentary film that illustrates the problems. I think it’s very important the Chinese people see reflections and reevaluations of animal agriculture that come from within the society, as shown in What’s For Dinner?.

OHH: How have attendees responded to the film?

WZ: The attendees come from all educational and cultural backgrounds – from illiterate villagers to graduates from top universities, both Chinese and foreign-born. They’re attracted to the screenings by different facets of the topic, including health and nutrition, food safety, the environment, business opportunities, and more.

People have spoken highly of What’s For Dinner?, saying that it’s mild yet alerting, resonates with their daily life, and inspires change.


Read the full interview at Our Hen House.

What’s for Dinner? is part of the dGenerate Films collection, and is available for order at Icarus Films. Find out more about the film.

To organize a screening of the film in your area, contact Icarus Films at rentals (at) icarusfilms (dot) com.

Chinese Visual Festival in London Announces Lineup

Monday, April 14th, 2014
A Touch of Sin (2012, Jia Zhangke)

A Touch of Sin (2012, Jia Zhangke)

The London Chinese Visual Festival (CVF) is proud to announce its 2014 edition, which runs from May 7th – 18th at King’s College London, with events also being held at Riverside Studios in collaboration with DocHouse.

For 2014, the festival is thrilled to welcome two of the most important filmmakers in modern independent Chinese language cinema, Jia Zhangke and Pema Tseden. In addition to a preview of his latest work, the award winning A Touch of Sin at the BFI, Jia will also host a very special screening session at King’s of his rarely seen short films. Acclaimed Tibetan director Pema Tseden opens the festival with Old Dog, as well as screening his other works and taking part in panel discussion sessions on Tibetan Culture and filmmaking. CVF is also delighted to be collaborating with Newcastle University in holding a celebration of ten years of the China Independent Film Festival (CIFF), one of the most vital and enduring Chinese language film events. To help mark this remarkable anniversary, CVF will be hosting a special animation session, as well as welcoming CIFF’s Cao Kai and Zhang Xianmin for what promises to be a fascinating panel discussion.