Chinese Film Festival Studies Update

August 11th, 2014

Chris Berry and Luke Robinson share the following update to the Chinese Film Festival Studies Website:

NEWS: In July, media in and outside China reported that the county of
Anji, in Zhejiang Province, announced that it would be partnering with the
Cannes Film Festival to build a new “film city”. Inevitably, this will
apparently include an international film festival. We link on the website
to the original China Daily report on this project. In addition, Chris
Berry, one of the original network project, has just published a review in
Senses of Cinema of this year’s Far East Film Festival, which took place
between April and May in Udine, Italy. We have a link to the report on the

ARCHIVE: With the help of Meng Jing, we have now compiled a bibliography
of writing in Chinese on Chinese film festivals, covering academic and
non-academic writing. This file can now be accessed under the Archives
section of the website. This bibliography is partial and ongoing, and is
primarily derived from searches of academic databases, film journals, and
online search engines. If you have suggestions for articles, blog posts or
commentary that we have missed, please contact us directly so that we can
update it!

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

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 Filmmaker Speaks Out on the Environmental Impact of Eating Meat

August 7th, 2014
Jian Yi, director of "What's for Dinner?" (Image: BrighterGreenNY)

Jian Yi, director of “What’s for Dinner?” (Image: BrighterGreenNY)

China Dialogue recently published an interview with filmmaker Jian Yi, director of What’s For Dinner?, an investigative documentary on the meat industry in China and its effects on the country’s people and environment. The interview, conducted by Tom Levitt, includes the following highlights:

TL: What factors do you think are increasing meat consumption in China?

JY: I was amazed by the impact the meat industry has on the environment we live in, but what worried me more is that in China, with one fifth of the world’s people, meat production is going to expand and become more intensified in line with economic growth. There’s plenty of research showing that this, coupled with China’s huge population, will be hugely bad news for human health, animal welfare, food security, climate change, and many other fields. And the root cause of this is the changing values of the Chinese people.

TL: How aware do you think the Chinese people are of the issues covered in the film? 

JY: The vast majority aren’t aware of the effect of the meat industry on the environment. It’s important information, easily found online. So why haven’t they seen it? Humans can have a kind of selective blindness sometimes, not just in China but everywhere. And our social values still favour money, enjoyment, quick rewards. Civil society is weak, there’s little space for public debate, and many more obvious environmental issues aren’t being taken seriously either, never mind the more easily ignored impact of the meat industry.

The full interview can be accessed at China Dialogue.

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.

Chinese Film Fest Studies Update

July 10th, 2014

An update from Chris Berry and Luke Robinson, organizers of the Chinese Film Fest Studies website:

In the past two months, news has emerged of details for the Qingdao
International Film Festival, slated to commence in 2017. Both the
Hollywood Reporter and Screen Daily reported on the organisational line-up
announced for the festival, which is the brainchild of the Dalian-based
Wanda Group. In addition, the 17th Shanghai International Film Festival
took place in June. This year, there was particular controversy
surrounding accusations that the festival “fixed” a press conference
around a sensitive local film whose star had recently been arresting for
soliciting. FilmBiz Asia has a report on this kerfuffle. Finally, Kiki Yu
Tianqi (University of Nottingham Ningbo) has just published a report on
last year’s Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival in Studies
in Documentary Film, which we link to here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sydney Film Festival Spotlights Variety of Chinese Cinema

May 19th, 2014

The 2014 Sydney Film Festival (June 4-15, 2014) includes a special showcase of Chinese cinema, curated by esteemed critic and programmer Shelly Kraicer. The program details are as follows:

China continues to be one of the most compulsively fascinating countries on the planet: it’s not an exaggeration to suggest that China’s future may very well be our future. Chinese movies lay out spellbinding ways to try to grasp that country’s complexities, its unfathomable beauty and its ongoing problems.

Read the rest of this entry »

Chinese Film Fest Studies website update

May 2nd, 2014

Chris Berry and Luke Robinson of the Chinese Film Festival studies website ( announce the following updates to the site:

NEWS: We have news here of the Washington DC Chinese Film Festival, due
to take place later this year in the USA. In addition, the 4th edition of
the Beijing International Film Festival is drawing to a close. There has
been general coverage in the trade press – we include here a link to an
article in The Hollywood Reporter on the festival film awards, along with
a gallery of photos – but Oliver Stone’s comments on politics and the
Chinese film industry were also widely discussed. A link to Screen Daily’s
report (behind paywall) on this incident is included.

GALLERIES: A small gallery of photos to accompany the report from our
second network meeting and accompanying one-day conference, both held at
Hong Kong University, have been added.

ARCHIVE: We include here a link to an interview in Chinese with Dr Lin
Wen-Chi of the Taipei Film Archive, organiser of the Golden Harvest
Awards, conducted by network member Ming-Yeh Rawnsley. Ming-Yeh is
researching the Golden Harvest Awards as part of her work with the network.

EVENTS: Finally, a written report on the second network workshop, and the
one-day conference that followed – both of which took place at Hong Kong
University on March 31st and April 1st, 2014 – is included under Events.
It’s accessible both as an html page and as a downloadable pdf.

Journal of Chinese Cinemas Call for Papers

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

Interview with filmmaker Vivian Qu in Film Comment

April 15th, 2014
Trap Street (2013, Vivian Qu)

Trap Street (2013, Vivian Qu)

In Film Comment magazine, Xin Zhou interviews Vivian Qu, a longtime producer of Chinese independent films who recently debuted her first directorial effort, Trap Street. Excerpts:

Q. How did the story come about? It starts as a story about a man tracking
a woman, then slowly becomes a psychodrama.

A. What I wanted to portray in the first place was this feeling of
watching and being watched, which has obviously become one of the most significant characteristics of modern life. Since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, this feeling has been reinforced, distorted, and multiplied in many different ways. What propelled such a phenomenon? Can we even find out? The paradox is, today’s technology should enable us to discover truth, but it’s never been this difficult to tell the real from the unreal. I didn’t want my film to be a simple record of a particular event; I want it to be a synthesis of my thoughts and observations. Even if I cannot find the answer, at least I can raise the question: does 90 percent freedom amount to true freedom?

Read the rest of this entry »

Chinese Visual Festival in London Announces Lineup

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filmmaking and Activism with Cui Zi’en in Chicago

April 10th, 2014
"Queer China, 'Comrade' China" (dir. Cui Zi'en)

“Queer China, ‘Comrade’ China” (dir. Cui Zi’en)

From the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago:

Documentary Filmmaking and/as Activism in East Asia

Please join us for three days of film screenings and discussion with three
of East Asia’s leading independent filmmakers at the University of Chicago.

Venue for all film screenings: Rm 157, Cochrane Woods Art Center, 5540 S.
Greenwood Ave.

Monday, April 14, 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Featured Visiting Director: Cui Zi’en

Novelist, scholar, and Beijing Film Academy professor Cui Zi’en is a
pioneering figure in China’s queer arts and social movement. A driving
force behind the Beijing Queer Film Festival, Cui has made numerous
fiction and documentary films on the subjects of sexual and gender
identity, migrant workers, and public space. In his experimental films,
literary works and political activism, Cui’s provocative portrayals of
queerness open up new possibilities of community and cultural pluralism
that challenge nationalism as the hegemonic discourse of identity in
contemporary China.

Read the rest of this entry »