iSunTV Chinese Documentary Awards Honor Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul, Beijing Besieged by Waste

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

"Searching For Lin Zhao's Soul"

iSunTV hosted the 1st Chinese Documentary Awards from Nov. 4 to 5, 2011 in Hong Kong. Hu Jie’s Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul (2004) won the gold award in the feature-length documentary section. Wang Jiuliang’s Beijing Besieged by Waste (2011) won the bronze award in the iSunTV TNC (The Nation Conservatory) Films section. (Both films are available through the dGenerate Films catalog)

iSunTV claims to be the only independent Chinese television channel in China. It was founded in 2000 in Hong Kong as a Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) channel. Now headquartered in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Taipei, it produces and broadcasts programs in Chinese around the clock. Currently its programs are divided into eight categories; they are news, reviews, histories, biographies, documentaries, dialogs, cultural talks, and world cultures. A strong focus on free speech permeates all its programs. Documentaries, in particular, are a staple with them.

The 1st iSunTV Chinese Documentary Awards was an effort by iSunTV to promote and reward truthful and insightful independent Chinese documentaries chosen by a publicly elected jury and the general public. It was established in April 2011. HK$860,000 was set aside as cash prizes for films in the following four categories: feature-length awards for three best documentaries, short film awards for three best shorts, iSunTV TNC Prize for three best documentaries with a focus on the environment, and lastly, iSunTV Citizens Prize for three documentaries with highest votes from roughly 40,000 registered members. Over 200 films were submitted this round. They were from Taiwan, Hong Kong, mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia, and beyond.

To arrive at a particular film’s final score, two sets of numbers must be added together. One was 50 times the number of votes for this film divided by the total number of votes for all films in the same category. The other was 50 times the cumulative score given to this film by the jury members divided by the combined scores by given to all films in that category. To illustrate, Hu Jie’s Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul scored 15.93. The number came from 1941 registered online votes, which were converted to 3.43, plus 15 jury-awarded points, which counted as 12.50 towards the total.

The 1st iSunTV Chinese Documentary Awards winners comprised almost entirely of mainland Chinese documentaries. See a full list of the winners below.

Feature-length Documentary Awards:
Gold Award: Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul (2011, mainland China) by HU Jie
Silver Award: San Hua (2010, mainland China) by GUO Ke
Bronze Award: The Last Dongba (2011, mainland China) by GU Xue’er

Short Film Awards:
Gold Award: Living without Men (2010, mainland China and the U.K.) by LUO Yi
Silver Award: Ash (2010, mainland China) by JIN Huaqing and FAN Jiaju
Bronze Award: Solo (2011, mainland China) by CHEN Huan

iSunTV TNC Prize:
Gold Award: Buried (2009, mainland China) WANG Libo
Silver Award: Living with Shame (2008, mainland China) by JIN Huaqing
Bronze Award: Beijing Besieged by Waste (2011, mainland China) by WANG Jiuliang

iSunTV Citizens Prize:
Gold Award: Investigation by Citizens (2009, mainland China) by AI Xiaoming
Silver Award: Herzog’s Days (2010, mainland China) by HE Yang
Bronze Award: Disturbing the Peace (2009, mainland China) by AI Weiwei