Archive for the ‘dGenerate News’ Category

Cinema dConstructed: dGenerate Films Profiled in Global Times

Friday, November 18th, 2011

"Enter the Clowns" (dir. Cui Zi'en)

Michael Gold of the China Global Times spoke recently with Karin Chien on dGenerate Films‘s contribution to the promotion and distribution of Chinese independent cinema. The article, Cinema dConstructed, speaks to dGenerate’s beginnings and mission to further the reach and expand the distribution horizons of compelling, entertaining Chinese films:

According to Chien, who worked for years as a producer of independent films unrelated to China before founding dGenerate in 2008, the films she encountered spoke to her in particular as an American of Chinese ancestry who possessed little China experience.

“It was also so difficult to find an unmediated view of China in the States,” she said. “You’d have a movie like Mardi Gras: Made in China [a documentary about cultural and economic globalization, following the life-cycle of Mardi Gras beads from a factory in Fuzhou to a carnival in New Orleans] that, while interesting, imparted a very Western, reductive, not-so-complex view of what China is.”

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Beijing Besieged By Waste Wins Two Awards

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

"Beijing Besieged by Waste" (dir. Wang Jiuliang)

Beijing Besieged by Waste received the Bronze Award in the Top Environmental Documentary category (sponsored by The Nature Conservatory or TNC) at the 1st iSunTV Chinese Documentary Awards. (See link)

Recently, the film also received the Anthropology and Sustainable Development Prize (sponsored by SITA of Suez Environnement) at the 30th International Jean Rouch Festival (Nov. 5 – 27, 2011).

Congratulations to director Wang Jiuliang on the success of his film.

Beijing Besieged by Waste is available as part of the dGenerate Films catalog.

No. 89 Shimen Road Wins at Warsaw Film Festival

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

"No. 89 Shimen Road" director Shu Haolun

Congratulations to writer-director Shu Haolun, whose new film No. 89 Shimen Road just won the Best Asian Film Award (NETPAC Award) from 27th Warsaw International Film Festival.

In giving the award to Shu, the NETPAC jury commented on their decision:

The 27th WFF NETPAC Jury gives out the award to a film that poignantly depicts the struggle of a country confronted with a new order. It is also a personal and touching view of a world that no longer exist.

No. 89 Shimen Road is available through dGenerate Films. It will screen in Chicago next month as part of an 11-film series on Chinese independent cinema hosted by Doc Films.

Shu’s previous films Struggle and Nostalgia are also available through dGenerate.

Zhao Liang profiled in New York Times

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

In a lengthy New York Times feature, Ed Wong profiles Zhao Liang, director of two of the most fearlessly independent social documentaries to come from China, Crime and Punishment and Petition. Zhao has recently transitioned to work with the Chinese State Film Bureau to produce Together, an “official” documentary on Chinese HIV victims. As a result, he has drawn the criticism of former supporters and collaborators, including outspoken artist-activist Ai Weiwei, whose detention by the Chinese government this year drew international attention. The article summarizes its central concern in one paragraph:

Mr. Zhao’s evolution from a filmmaker hounded by the government to one whom it celebrates offers a window into hard choices that face directors as they try to carve out space for self-expression in China’s authoritarian system. Like Mr. Zhao, many seek to balance their independent visions with their desires to live securely and win recognition.

Accompanying the article are two videos: one in which Zhao shares his thoughts on filmmaking in China, and another in which Ai Weiwei confronts Zhao on camera over the withdrawal of his film Petition from the 2009 Melbourne International Film Festival in order to avoid political controversy.

dGenerate Films is the distributor of Zhao’s film Crime and Punishment. It can be purchased through dGenerate or Amazon, or viewed online at Amazon or Fandor.

Ten Titles Now Available on Institutional DVD!

Monday, May 16th, 2011
We are pleased to announce the release of ten new titles on Institutional DVD, and the release of four titles on Home DVD. These titles include acclaimed festival films Ghost Town, 1428 and Disorder; probing environmental documentaries Before the Flood 1, Before the Flood 2 and Timber Gang (Last Lumberjacks), works by acclaimed social chronicler Shu Haolun, and landmark works by Hu Jie, one of China’s most important historical filmmakers.
A full list with descriptions can be found below; further details can be found on our online catalog. Buy them on Amazon or contact us directly.

Ghost Town (Fei Cheng)
directed by Zhao Dayong
Tucked away in a rugged corner of Southwest China, a village is haunted by traces of China’s cultural past while its residents piece together a day-by-day existence.

Disorder (Xianshi Shi Guoqu de Weilai)
directed by Huang Weikai
This one-of-a-kind news documentary captures, with remarkable freedom, the anarchy, violence, and seething anxiety animating China’s major cities today.

1428
directed by Du Haibin

This award-winning documentary of the earthquake that devastated China’s Sichuan province in 2008 explores how victims, citizens and government respond to a national tragedy.

Before the Flood 1 (Yan Mo)

directed by Li Yifan and Yan Yu
A landmark documentary following the residents of the historic city of Fengjie as they clash with officials forcing them to evacuate their homes to make way for the world’s largest dam.

Before the Flood 2 – Yong Tan (Yan Mo II- Gong Tan)
directed by Yan Yu
Yan Yu follows his groundbreaking documentary Before the Flood with this profile of the residents of Gongtan, a 1700-year-old village soon to be demolished by a hydroelectric dam project.

Timber Gang (aka Last Lumberjacks) (Mu Bang)
directed by Yu Guagnyi
Yu Guangyi’s stunning debut explores a grueling winter amongst loggers in Northeast China as they employ traditional practices through one last, fateful expedition.

Nostalgia (Xiang Chou)
directed by Shu Haolun
Acclaimed filmmaker Shu Haolun explores the rich culture and history of his Shanghai neighborhood upon its impending destruction.

Struggle (Zheng Zha)
directed by Shu Haolun
This powerful documentary explores the cruel realities of sweatshop labor and workplace injury in China, and one lawyer’s mission to defend worker’s rights.

Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul (Xun Zhao Lin Zhao De Ling Hun)
directed by Hu Jie
This landmark documentary reveals the tragic life of a gifted young woman who was executed for speaking out during the height of Chairman Mao’s rule.

Though I Am Gone
directed by Hu Jie
The tragic story of a teacher beaten to death by her students during the Cultural Revolution.

Cinema Pacific Film Festival Opens Today – Guest Curator Shelly Kraicer Interviewed

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Shelly Kraicer

The Cinema Pacific Film Festival’s special series of Chinese cinema opens today and runs until April 10 at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Full screening details can be found here. dGenerate titles Disorder, 1428 and Oxhide II are featured in the program, with Oxhide II director Liu Jiayin appearing in person.

We caught up with Shelly Kraicer, Cinema Pacific’s first Festival Fellow, who curated the program, to get his thoughts on the series and the films he selected.

dGF: There are dozens if not hundreds of great Chinese independent films made in the past several years. How did you decide on the films for this program? What did you want to convey about Chinese independent film through your selections?

SK: I wanted to pick films that represented a range of different kinds of filmmaking that independent Chinese artists are doing now: experimental fiction, experimental documentary, on-the-spot documentary (jishi jilupian) and something unique from recent fiction film. Liu Jiayin is the most exciting young exponent of something like experimental-narrative-documentary-style hybrid filmmaking, now, so her two Oxhide films will already cover almost the entire range of films I was looking for. They’re challenging, and they’re fun, and they are very important.

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“What Else Can We Do?” Personal Responses to Karamay

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

By Kevin B. Lee

Karamay (dir. Xu Xin)

Xu Xin’s devastating epic documentary Karamay is set to make its San Francisco premiere this Sunday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. (Details here). In advance of the screening, I looked back at footage from a discussion held after the film’s New York premiere at the MoMA Documentary Fortnight last month, with director Xu Xin and producer Zhu Rikun both present. Going into the event, I wondered how a local U.S. audience would respond to a six-hour Chinese documentary, and I was especially curious to see how many would stick around for a Q&A session. By the end of the epic screening, a couple dozen people remained in the audience, and from their words they were clearly moved. In fact, the session was not so much dominated by questions and answers as by a series of intense and highly thoughtful responses from several audience members.

It was particularly interesting to hear the reactions of young overseas Chinese students who watched the film, given the film’s critical subject matter as well as past reports of disturbances at Chinese film screenings caused by nationalistic audience members highly sensitive to unflattering depictions of their homeland. (For a vivid example see Jia Zhangke’s first hand accounts of his recent festival experiences.) In the case of this screening, some Chinese audience members expressed a complex and highly personal response to Xu’s film. One viewer remarked how the film maintains a critical view of Chinese society without catering to Western stereotypes:

“What sets your film apart from other Chinese independent films circulating in the international market is that it does not simply fit into a simplified humanistic or humanitarian rhetoric that most Western viewers impose on China’s situation. We tend to demonize China as such, that their educational system brainwashes people and everyone in China just sits there following the rules without any sense of agency over the experience of their own lives. The very structure of your film, especially the beginning shots that take so long with the close ups of each child, and the six hour length of your film, actually demands the viewer to approach China and contemporary Chinese politics and rethink from a critical point of view, not from a simple humanitarian rhetoric of the West. That’s what I think is the most productive part of your film and I appreciate it.”

Another young viewer had an even more personalized response:

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Disorder Wins Best Documentary at Ann Arbor Film Fest; Tape Wins Silver Award at YunFest

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Director Huang Weikai

It was a good weekend for a couple of filmmakers whose films we are fortunate to distribute. At the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Huang Weikai won the Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary Film, which comes with a $1,000 cash prize, for his trippy experimental documentary Disorder. Halfway around the world, Li Ning won the Silver Award at YunFest, one of the oldest independent film festivals in China, for his equally envelope-pushing documentary Tape. Unfortunately the YunFest site appears to be down at the moment, so we cannot access the full list of winners of the festival. In the meantime, we extend our warmest congratulations to Huang Weikai and Li Ning!

Both films will screen as part of the San Francisco Yerba Buena Center series Fearless: Chinese Independent Documentaries, playing all throughout April.

Disorder will screen April 9 at the REDCAT in Los Angeles as part of its series on New Chinese cinema.

Both Disorder and Tape are available in the dGenerate Films Catalog.

“Everybody Should Be Watching” – South China Morning Post Profile on dGenerate

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
By Isabella Tianzi Cai

Oxhide 2 (dir. Liu Jiayin)

“Film distribution is more often driven by profit than a love of movies, but that’s not true of Karin Chien’s dGenerate Films.” The South China Morning Post profiles dGenerate in a March 6, 2011 article, which can be viewed here as a .pdf.

Reporter Richard James Havis distinguishes dGenerate from most other film distributors. At dGenerate, as Havis explains, dGenerate only picks films that they believe “everyone will benefit from seeing.”

More after the break.

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New York Times Profiles Chinese Indie Docs and Other Coverage of MoMA Doc Fortnight

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Fortune Teller (dir. Xu Tong)

In the New York Times, Larry Rohter profiles the Chinese independent film movement, with special attention on the films screening at the Documentary Fortnight Festival at MoMA:

As a group they give a new and truer meaning to the phrase “independent film.” In a country where all movies must obtain official approval to be exhibited commercially, the five Chinese directors whose work will be featured beginning on Friday in the Museum of Modern Art’s Documentary Fortnight are forced to operate in a peculiar gray zone.

“You have to have an awful lot of energy and passion to make films with no funding and no prospect of having them seen in public in your home country except under the radar and off the grid,” said Sally Berger, the curator of the festival, who visited China last fall. “These are sophisticated, experimental filmmakers with a strong aesthetic sense, making films filled with a sense of urgency and change, even though they know they have a better chance of having their work seen abroad than at home.”

Director Xu Xin of Karamay weighs in on the importance of his work:

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