Posts Tagged ‘africa’

China in Africa: Documentary on Al-Jazeera

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Al-Jazeera produced this interesting investigative piece on Chinese businessmen and migrants living and working in Senegal, provocativlely titled, “The Colony.”

It’s interesting to compare this take on overseas Chinese migration with a recent article in the New York Times about how tens of thousands of Chinese migrants have transformed the Italian city of Prato into a low-end textile and garment hub of Europe, with mixed-to-negative reactions by the Italian locals.

But for all the talk of how the impact of Chinese foreign commerce and migrant labor is being felt around the world, there is much-needed activity happening in the opposite direction, as China serves as a destination for both commercial and cultural exchange. (more…)

A Tour of China’s Only Independent Film School

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Li Xianting Film School's Ying Liang (left) and Zhu Rikun (right) with owner and daughter of their favorite restaurant in Songzhuang (photo by Gertjan Zuilhof)

Last month we reported that the International Film Festival Rotterdam launched “Raiding Africa,” an exciting program commissioning several African filmmakers to make new films in China. The IFFR enlisted the Li Xianting Film School to help initiate the African directors into the Chinese independent film scene. Located in Songzhuang on the outskirts of Beijing, Li Xianting Film School is the first film school for independent filmmakers in China,.

IFFR’s Gertjan Zuilhof, the organizer of the program, is providing ongoing updates on the project at his IFFR blog. His latest entry introduces the Li Xianting Film School, where important figures like Zhu Rikun and Ying Liang (whose films dGenerate distributes) are fostering the independent film movement in China through their screenings, events and educational programs.

We’ve visited Songzhuang on multiple occasions, and we’ve always meant to profile the Li Xianting Film School in depth (the closest we’ve come is Shelly Kraicer’s indispensible guide to the Chinese indie film scene). So it’s great that Zuilhof is bringing exposure to the Film School through both the Raiding Africa program and his blog. And it’s amusing to read Zuilhof’s observations on Songzhuang, a former farming town that has become a haven for Beijing artists, and has traded its acres of fields for newly-built galleries. Zuilhof quips: “They make modern art museums here like they are pizza huts.”

African Directors Film in China with Li Xianting Film School and Rotterdam Festival

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Portrait of Mozambique President Armando Guebuza in a Chinese restaurant (Photo: Ella Raidel, IFF Rotterdam)

The International Film Festival Rotterdam has announced an exciting new project where several African directors will make films in China. We find this a brilliant initiative to bridge two parts of the world that are developing complex new social and economic ties. Additionally, it’s wonderful that IFFR enlisted the Li Xianting Film School in Beijing, the first film school for independent filmmakers in China, to help initiate the African directors into the Chinese independent film scene. Among its faculty, the Li Xianting Film School features at least a couple of dGenerate directors such as Ying Liang and Yang Jin. This promises to be a wonderful opportunity of artistic and cross-cultural exchange.

The project has already kicked off with a blog by Rotterdam Festival programmer Gertjan Zuilhof, which will follow the project through its many stages. We’ll be keeping tabs on it to see how the participants are progressing.

The full press release from IFFR follows:

Inspired by the growing influence of China in some African countries, the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) asks seven filmmakers from South Africa, Cameroon, Uganda, Rwanda, Congo and Angola to make films in China. The African directors’ films will premiere, along with a contextual film program, during the Rotterdam’s 40th edition. The program, titled ‘Raiding Africa’, includes a film workshop produced by the IFFR in collaboration with the Li Xianting Film School in Beijing and supported by Rotterdam’s Hubert Bals Fund.

More after the break.