Archive for the ‘dGenerate News’ Category

A Sneak Peak at Film Pages for Three New dGenerate Titles, All Playing at MoMA Doc Fortnight

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

In preparation for the Documentary Fortnight screenings of new dGenerate titles, we have prepared pages introducing each of our films in the series. Have a look and learn more about these distinguished titles who have the honor of screening at the Museum of Modern Art.

Karamay (dir. Xu Xin)

Fortune Teller (dir. Xu Tong)

Tape (dir. Li Ning)

In addition, Huang Weikai’s mind-blowing Disorder is already listed in our catalog and available for pre-order.

The 10th Annual Documentary Fortnight Festival of the Museum of Modern Art in New York runs from Wednesday February 16 to 28, 2011. Find out the screening details.

dGenerate President Karin Chien Profiled in The Beijinger

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011
By Isabella Tianzi Cai

dGenerate Films President and Founder Karin Chien

Dan Edwards of The Beijinger profiles dGenerate Films’ President Karin Chien. The purpose of the company, as Edwards quotes Karin, was “to bring Chinese perspectives on the People’s Republic to US audiences.” There is a need for this due to language and cultural barriers between China and America. Most available films and television programs about China in the US and elsewhere tend to represent “an outsider’s view of China tailored to a western audience.” They are very different from the perspectives offered by native Chinese filmmakers.

Established in 2008, dGenerate took on a niche market of Chinese film distribution even as an economic downturn that year caused ten major US distributors to shut down. In order to distribute independent Chinese films in the US, there are problems to be overcome by the company. Karin comments on the patterns exhibited by the current reception of Chinese independent films in the US. So far, “dGenerate has found that films based on strong characters appeal most to US audiences, while film festival pedigree makes the films much easier to sell.” Moreover, as Edwards quotes Karin,

Disorder, Winter Vacation Named Discoveries of 2011 by Film Comment Magazine

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Disorder (dir. Huang Weikai)

The current issue of Film Comment magazine polls several critics, filmmakers and programmers on the “unknown pleasures” they watched in 2010 that are poised to be more widely discovered this year. Two Chinese films are mentioned, both independent productions: Winter Vacation by Li Hongqi and Disorder by Huang Weikai. Here are the entries, both found at the Film Comment website:

Winter Vacation: The funniest film since Goodbye, Dragon Inn, but actually it’s funnier – and a bit faster-paced. There is not a single superfluous action nor unnecessary cut. The sky is always empty over this dead-end town in Inner Mongolia, and not even an insulting tirade from a teacher “off his medicine” can break the lethargy of his students. He’s in the wrong classroom, as his substitute begins a lesson on “how to be a useful person.” Then there’s a cathartic eruption of punk rock from the Top Floor Circus on the soundtrack. If only the students could hear it. – Thom Andersen

Disorder: Huang Weikai inaugurates a new genre: the City Cacophony Film. Taking Canton as his subject, he explodes the Romantic lyricism of Ruttmann and Cavalcanti into oblique shards as China’s third largest city, polarized by tradition and globalization, becomes a study in existential absurdity. A patchwork of amateur footage offers a berserk, scattershot glimpse into the public and private spheres of this modern metropolis. A distant cousin of Godard’s Weekend, shot through with Keystone Kops, discontented citizens, and a renegade pig, Disorder is an original, terrifying portrait of a society on the verge of a nervous breakdown. – Michael Chaiken

As official distributors of Disorder, we’re quite pleased that the film was singled out for praise as a discovery in the waiting – though we’re a bit puzzled by its designation as an “unknown pleasure,” as we’ve published numerous articles and news items on the film over the past year. Disorder featured prominently in our recent coverage of the 2010 Reel China Documentary Biennial. Disorder was also mentioned in the Moving Image Source poll of Best Moving Image Moments of 2010. We even announced that director Huang Weikai was available to present his work through the end of February! We’ll just have to do a better job of getting the word out about this and other exciting new work coming from the independent film scene in China.

dGenerate Titles Fortune Teller, Tape to Screen at Rotterdam Film Festival

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Artist Li Ning performing "Tape"

The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), one of the leading venues for global cutting-edge cinema, announced its Bright Future program of debut and second feature films by fresh filmmaking talent from around the world. Five Chinese titles are included in the lineup, including two represented by dGenerate Films: Fortune Teller by Xu Tong and Tape by Li Ning. dGenerate Films is the North American distributor of Fortune Teller and the international sales agent for Tape.

The IFFR runs from January 26-February 6, 2010 in Rotterdam. Both directors Xu Tong and Li Ning will be present at the festival. Screening dates and details will be announced later.

The full Competition lineup for the prestigious Tiger Award will be announced over the coming days. We expect more exciting titles from China to be announced, possibly featuring names familiar to the dGenerate catalog. Stay tuned.

Award-Winning Director Huang Weikai in U.S. Until March – Available for Appearances

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Huang Weikai

From now until March 2011, director Huang Weikai will be available for screenings and lectures in the United States. Huang’s latest film Disorder is a groundbreaking work of experimental documentary that has won prizes and screened at festivals around the world. The Atlantic calls it “one of the most mesmerizing films I’ve seen in ages!”

If you are interested in bringing Disorder and Huang Weikai to your institution or university for a screening, Q&A or guest lecture, please contact exhibitions *at* dgeneratefilms *dot* com.


Huang Weikai was born in 1972 in Guangdong Province, China. He studied Chinese painting for 15 years and graduated from the Chinese Art Department of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. He used to work as a cinema promoter, art editor, graphic designer, movie script writer and cameraman. Since 2002, he has been directing independent films. His 2009 found-footage documentary, Disorder has been acclaimed as “One of the most mesmerizing films I’ve seen in ages” by Hua Hsu in The Atlantic for its unflinching look at the absurdity and anarchy of urban life in contemporary China.


dGenerate Titles now available on Objective Cinema

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

Three dGenerate films are now available on Objective Cinema, a newly launched online platform for select social- and political-themed films.

The films are Ban Zhongyi’s Gai Shanxi and Her Sisters, Rachel Tejada’s Digital Underground in the People’s Republic, and Ou Ning’s Meishi Street.

Watch now on Objective Cinema:

Gai Shanxi and Her Sisters

Digital Underground in the People’s Republic

Meishi Street

The goal of Objective Cinema is to support and encourage social change at a grass roots level by making socially conscious films available to a worldwide audience. Gai Shanxi and Her Sisters documents the story around a group of Chinese women forced into sex slavery by Japanese soldiers in the Sino-Japanese War. Digital Underground in the People’s Republic penetrates the close circle of contemporary Chinese filmmakers and brings their voices to the fore. And Meishi Street archives the images of a demolished street in Beijing and the grievances of the uprooted residents for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Trailers, intros, and stills from the films are also available on Object Cinema’s website. Registered members can also rent the films online for a period of 48 hours or buy them on DVD.

dGenerate Titles Now Viewable Online on MUBI

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

We are proud to announce that ten films from dGenerate’s catalog are now available on MUBI (formerly The Auteurs) for online viewing. The acquisition of these new titles by MUBI marks another milestone in our commitment to bring to audiences the most contemporary award-winning independent films by native Chinese filmmakers, using the newest technology in the market.

MUBI is known for its role in giving film enthusiasts an indispensible resource for learning about cinema, through its online rental service, the MUBI Notebook filled with articles, reviews and festival reports, and its robust virtual community. We are proud that our films are becoming part of this important vehicle for cinema enthusiasts.

Listed below are these new titles on MUBI. One-time viewing on their site is priced at $3.00.



Meishi Street

Crime and Punishment

Er Dong

The Other Half

San Yuan Li

Super, Girls!

Little Moth

Raised from the Dust

Global Times: Liu Jiayin Working on Oxhide III

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Liu Jiayin, director of Oxhide, Oxhide II and the forthcoming Oxhide III (photo courtesy of Liu Jiayin)

In anticipation of Oxhide and Oxhide II director Liu Jiayin’s presentation at the Beijing Apple Store this Thursday, Hao Ying of the Global Times (English edition) profiled the director. Here’s an excerpt:

Meeting director Liu Jiayin, it’s hard to forget scenes from her autobiographic film Oxhide in which her father tries to bully her into growing taller by forcing her to drink milk, and also urges her to hang from a pull-up bar. Her mother, also concerned she isn’t flowering into a curvy woman, urges Liu to dress more daintily, like a Japanese girl.

Her parents’ tactics didn’t work. During a recent interview with the Global Times at a coffee shop, the waitress asked the tomboyish, short director, “Mister, would you like some sugar?” Other people might be distressed by having the world know their most intimate stories, but this doesn’t seem to phase Liu, who is currently finishing the story for Oxhide III, the planned third part of her extraordinary series of fictionalized films about the intimate details of her own family.

Liu is giving a presentation on digital filmmaking at the Apple Store in Sanlitun Village on Thursday at 7 pm. She used Final Cut to edit Oxhide II on a friend’s computer, and currently uses a Macbook Pro. She advises also beginning filmmakers to borrow or rent a camera instead of buying one, because the technology is changing so fast.

Read the rest of the article – in which she gives some details on Oxhide III, and how to solve the filmmaker’s equivalent of “conquering AIDS and cancer” – at the Global Times.

Films on Crime in China Now Available: Crime and Punishment and Using

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

dGenerate Films is proud to announce that Crime and Punishment by Zhao Liang and Using by Zhou Hao, two important works from China’s contemporary independent documentary scene,are now available for institutional purchase in the US as part of the dGenerate Films catalog. Together, these two films offer a candid, revealing look at two facets of crime and law enforcement in China: the interrogation tactics of military police in Northeast China, and the lives of drug addicts in Guangzhou.

Crime and Punishment (Zui Yu Fa), directed by Zhao Liang

Crime and Punishment (dir. Zhao Liang)

Amidst the barren wintry landscape of Northeast China, Chinese military police officers rigidly enforce law and order in an impoverished mountain town. They raid a private residence to bust an illegal mahjong game, casually abuse a pickpocket accused of throwing away evidence, and berate a confession out of a scrap collector working without a permit. The police switch between precise investigative procedure, explosions of violent fury, and moments of comic ineptitude, all captured incredibly before the camera.

A prime example of how independent documentaries are on the vanguard of Chinese cinema, Crime and Punishment is an unprecedented look at the everyday workings of law enforcement in the world’s largest authoritarian society. With penetrating camerawork, Zhao Liang (Petition, 2009 Cannes Film Festival) patiently reveals the methods police use to interrogate and coerce suspects to confess crimes – and the consequences when such techniques backfire. With a cold, objective eye that depicts reality in great detail while withholding judgment, “Zhao’s artistry is instantly apparent.” (Robert Koehler, Variety)

In the January 2010 issue of China Perspectives, Jie Li of Harvard University has a lengthy appreciation of Zhao Liang’s documentaries Crime and Punishment and Petition. Here is an excerpt on Crime and Punishment:

With patient long takes and an ambivalent gaze that is in turn complicit, compassionate, or critical, Crime and Punishment shows us the human beings in military uniforms – their capacity for rage, sympathy, and fear – as well as how the power authorised by these uniforms might dehumanise – through violence and humiliation – not only those suspected to be criminals but also the police officers themselves. Apart from discipline and punishment, much police power resides with surveillance, but a sustained look at the other can also generate empathetic recognition, and returning the gaze may well be the first step for the powerless to empower themselves.

Film Clip:

Using (Long Ge), directed by Zhou Hao

Using (dir. Zhou Hao)

For three years, filmmaker Zhou Hao chronicled the lives of Long and Jun, a couple struggling with heroin addiction in Guangzhou. Zhou captures Chinese junkie subculture, its members languishing in a slum flophouse, the equivalent of a modern day opium den. When Long is hospitalized after a failed robbery, Zhou speaks out from behind the camera to intervene. Still, Long and Jun persist, soon dealing drugs full-time to make ends meet. As the couple increasingly offers lies for answers, Zhou must confront his ethical responsibilities to them, as a friend and a documentarian.

Using probes a dark, cruel reality of contemporary Chinese society that has rarely been seen by any audience. Addicts disclose techniques for dealing with police, confronting sham suppliers and staying high throughout the day. Zhou’s unflinching depiction of his friends’ repeated attempts to quit blurs the line between filmmaker and subject, and raises provocative questions about the ways in which each uses the other.

Film Clips:

Video: Jian Yi Speaks to Soros Foundation / Open Society Institute

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Jian Yi (Photo by Christopher Capozziello for the Open Society Institute)

Next week, we’ll post the second of our video interviews produced from the “Meet the Filmmakers” series held in Feburary 2010 at the Apple Store in Sanlitun, Beijing. The video will feature Jian Yi, one of the most accomplished and ambitious independent filmmakers working in China today. Jian Yi directed the critically acclaimed films Super, Girls! and Bamboo Shoots, and co-directed the groundbreaking China Village Documentary Project, in which ordinary villagers from across China used video cameras to record the changing rural dynamics in their home villages. He is also the founder of the Participatory Documentary Center at Jinggangshan University and Original Studio, one of the nations first innovative community art centers. His documentaries and feature films, which reveal the social and cultural tensions of contemporary China, have won international awards and are shown worldwide.

Jian is also the founder of IFCHINA, a pioneering NGO that helps ordinary citizens in small and medium-sized Chinese cities document their own lives through videography, theater, and photography. Provincial communities are losing collective memory as residents migrate to the coastal metropolises in search of work. Jian Yi believes that video technology can preserve that memory, while stimulating a sense of civic engagement and strengthening shared values. He is currently working to seed a project in Ji’an City, the cradle of the communist revolution and the major pilgrimage site for Maoists across China.

Jian Yi’s work led him to receive a prestigious fellowship with the Open Society Institute, funded by the Soros Foundation. The OSI posted this brief video with Jian Yi, speaking in English about his work. It’s a nice preview to the more lengthy interview that we will be posting next week.