Posts Tagged ‘china independent film festival’

Shelly on Film: Fall Festival Report, Part Two: Under Safe Cover, a Fierce Debate

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

By Shelly Kraicer

Shu Haolun's "No. 89 Shimen Road" won the top prize at CIFF, but wasn't shown on Awards Night.

The Nanjing-based China Independent Film Festival (28 October-1 November 2011), unlike the Beijing Independent Film Festival described previously, benefited from a substantial degree of official and semi-official “cover”. Unlike BIFF, there is a certain amount of practical compromise with official bodies and officially approved cinema: purity isn’t such an issue. Co-sponsors include the Nanjing University School of Journalism and Communication, The Communication University of China (Nanjing) and the RCM Museum of Modern Art. The second day of CIFF includes a forum attended by local propaganda department officials. A sidebar of the festival (nicknamed the “Longbiao Section” for the dragon-headed insignia that appears at the beginning of all officially approved film prints in China) included screenings in a luxurious commercial cinema of several films that that are strictly speaking non-independent (i.e. censor-approved) but are made in a spirit of independence. These films would not appear at BIFF, for example, but might show later in official venues like Beijing’s Broadway Cinematheque MOMA, where approved “arthouse cinema” (i.e. non-commercial) finds a refuge in Beijing.


8th Annual Chinese Independent Film Festival – Lineup

Friday, October 28th, 2011

By Maya E. Rudolph

The 8th annual China Independent Film Festival will commence October 28th with an exciting roster of narrative, documentary, and short films screening in Nanjing. The festival this year boasts a balanced feature narrative and documentary program, and an extensive program of shorts, experimental films, a selection of shorts from Germany, and four selections from the Folk Memory Project.

Kicking off the documentary program is Zheng Kuo’s 798 Station, a 2011 film documenting the evolution of Beijing’s 798 factory space from an East German-engineered industrial park to a contemporary art hotspot. Also screening on the festival’s first day is Cong Feng’s (director of 2008’s Doctor Ma’s Country Clinic) The Unfinished History of Life, a serious and thorough account of a group of friends and acquaintances in Gansu province, their daily lives and concerns unfolding over several hours of footage.

Yang Heng, the director of Betelnut (distributed by dGenerate), brings to the narrative program a second feature, Sun Spots. This 2010 Hong-Kong co-production boasts a vaguely surrealistic, hauntingly still story of violence and redemption. Other films by directors represented by dGenerate are No. 89 Shimen Road (Shu Haolun, Nostalgia, Struggle), Shattered (Xu Tong, Fortune Teller), and Cop Shop II (Zhou Hao, Using, The Transition Period).

The full program is listed following the break: (more…)

China Independent Film Festival Reviewed by Electric Sheep

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Perfect Life (2009, dir. Emily Tang)

In the online film journal Electric Sheep, John Berra reports on the China Independent Film Festival held last October in Nanjing. He describes the festival, now in its seventh year, as a semi-secret state of affairs:

As not every film in the line-up has received the stamp of approval from the Film Bureau of the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), this celebration of Chinese cinema occurs under the political radar, and the lack of the promotion means that many students of Nanjing University are not aware that an important film festival is taking place on their campus until a few banners appear in the days leading up to the event. However, the festival organisers somehow manage to make this ‘invisible’ festival sufficiently noticeable and 2010 screenings were well-attended, leading to a series of productive Q&A sessions with the filmmakers in attendance and valuable networking events.

Berra singles out several films for praise, starting with Perfect Life, directed by Emily Tang and executive produced by Jia Zhangke:


Collective Excitement: Individual Expressions: The 7th China Independent Film Festival

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Opening Ceremony of the 7th China Independent Film Festival in Nanjing (photo courtesy of CIFF)

By Sara Beretta

The 7th China Independent Film Festival (CIFF), which ran from October 21-25, was a five-day affair packed with screenings and forums. Among the changes in this year’s event were a new curatorial team (Dong Bingfeng, Du Qingchun, Wei Xidi) and a new location, Nanjing University. Under the guidance of Zhang Xianmin (Beijing Film Academy Professor, curator, critic, filmmaker, actor, producer and dGenerate consultant), the curators worked with both the Committee (Cao Kai, Chen Yun, Li Li, Zhang Xiamin, Zhou Kai) and the Selection Team (Cai Meng, Liu Jiayin, Wang Liren, Wei Xidi, Wang Xiaolu) put together a stellar program of events and screenings.


China Independent Film Festival Full Lineup Announced

Friday, October 8th, 2010
By Isabella Tianzi Cai
The Seventh China Independent Film Festival will be held in Nanjing from October 21 to 25. The screenings will be held at Nanjing University as well as other university venues.

There will be a forum for film enthusiasts at the festival called “The Projection of China’s Moving Images and the Chinese Imagination in the Next Ten Years.” A 3-D workshop will be also held there with support from Panasonic.

dGenerate Directors who have films in the festival are Zhao Dayong (The High Life), Zhou Hao (Cop Shop), Cao Fei (China Tracy, Living in RMB City).

Main programs of the festival follow after the break. Further details can be found at the festival website.


Report on the China Independent Film Festival by Chris Berry

Friday, January 15th, 2010
Spring Fever

Spring Fever (dir. Lou Ye)

In the new issue of Senses of Cinema, Chris Berry offers a review of the 6th China Independent Film Festival, held this past October in Nanjing. An excerpt:

By international standards CIFF is a relatively small and under-resourced event. Screenings are scattered across a range of minor colleges, art galleries and museums in Nanjing, a former capital up the Yangtze from Shanghai. This year, approximately 70 experimental films, documentaries and dramatic features, almost all of them low-budget Chinese films, were included. Lou Ye’s Chunfeng Chenzui de Yewan (Spring Fever) won the Best Film award, and Ying Liang’s Hao Mao (Good Cats) and Zhang Jianchi’s Bai Qingting (Take Me to Vietnam) shared the Jury Prize. Anywhere else in the world, such an event would be a minor festival attracting little if any international coverage. But the very particular circumstances of China mean that CIFF can claim to be the most important film festival in the country.

Berry goes on to explain the significance of the festival’s programming, describes the collegiate atmosphere of the community forged by the festival, and identifies trends in Chinese independent filmmaking as reflected in the festival lineup. As a fellow attendee of the festival, I can attest to the festival’s extraordinary atmosphere and a special sense of camaraderie cultivated among its participating artists.

The rest of Berry’s report can be found at Senses of Cinema.

Zhang Xianmin’s Top Films of the Decade

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
Zhang Xianmin (photo courtesy China Independent Film Festival)

Zhang Xianmin (photo courtesy China Independent Film Festival)

One of our most valued partners is Zhang Xianmin, who is nothing less than a maven of the Chinese independent film scene. For over fifteen years he has worked as an actor, producer, scholar, critic, and programmer on various projects related to Chinese cinema. He serves most prominently as the man behind the China Independent Film Festival, one of the key hubs of the Chinese independent film circuit. (Check back Friday for a report on last year’s Festival).

We are pleased to announce that Zhang will be contributing a number of articles to the blog this year. His writing will give a distinct perspective on the Chinese film scene. For now, here are his top 40 Chinese films from 2000-2009. They are organized in four categories: Narrative Features, Experimental, Shorts and Documentaries.

The results of the dGenerate Best Chinese Films of the 2000s poll will be published tomorrow.


6th Annual China Independent Film Festival Lineup

Friday, October 9th, 2009

The Sixth China Independent Film Festival (CIFF) will be held in Nanjing from October 12-16th, 2009. Here’s a listing of their screening programs. Screenings are held in the Nanjing Visual Art College and Nanjing Art University.

In addition there will be other discussions and presentations on Chinese independent cinema (including one by yours truly on behalf of dGenerate); there’s even a “Young Movie Critics” training course on tap.

Yang Jins Er Dong, a dGenerate Films catalog title, is among the titles participating in the Feature Film Competition. Other dGenerate directors who have films in the festival are Ying Liang (Good Cats) and Zhao Dayong (Rough Poetry).

Shelly Kraicer profiled the CIFF on his virtual tour of the Chinese independent film circuit. He wrote, “the festival cultivates a real sense of intellectual energy and ferment.”

Main program of films follows after the break.


Far From Center

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Recent d-generation films are considered “underground” not only due to subject matter. More often than not their production methodology helps define their independence. This is part of a series looking behind the scenes of Digital Underground in the People’s Republic.

Ying Liang

Ying Liang

I’ve long been a fan of Ying Liang’s films (Taking Father Home, The Other Half). They travel the festival circuit to great acclaim and show a side of China missing from official and Western media. But it was interesting and inspiring to learn that Ying Liang’s production methods are in contrast to the worldliness of his films’ reception.

I met Ying Liang at the China Independent Film Festival in Nanjing last Fall. It was also his first time attending. Ying Liang lives in the Sichuan province, far from China’s center of film – Beijing – and far from the avant-garde and documentary communities of Guangzhou. Isolated from the “industry,” Ying Liang makes his films with a combination of readily available digital technology, film festival prize money, family members – in front and behind the screen – and the collaboration of his producer / girlfriend Peng Shan. His films cost the equivalent of a month’s rent in Manhattan. In essence, Ying Liang has built his own production center.

But it is illegal to distribute his films in his home country. So Ying Liang pirates his own movies. Think about it. When the marketplace is no longer part of the equation, filmmaking and distribution are freed to become what you make it, including the means to building a more politically aware populace.