Posts Tagged ‘chinese film’

The Future of Chinese Filmmaking: Made in U.S.?

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

Sally Liu came from Beijing to get her MFA at Columbia University. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Back in 2005 when I started as a freshman studying film at Boston University, I was one of only two foreign-born Chinese film students there. I remember the surprised look that people often gave me when they learned about my major. At the time, it was rare to see a student from mainland China taking on film as her major, especially at the undergraduate level.

My reason for studying film was a straightforward one. I fell in love with the medium in high school, and I wanted to become a filmmaker. I could also intuit an impending bright future for Chinese cinema, given its vast unexploited market. In this sense I probably have much in common with the thousand or so Chinese film students in the U.S. today.

This is why Los Angeles Times reporter John Horn’s Oct. 2 article “Reel China: Land of Cinematic Opportunity” makes me feel excited about the path I chose. In the article, he describes the trend of U.S.-bound Chinese film students, the pull and push factors for this trend, the challenges faced by the students, their aspirations, and the reality that they face once they complete the programs. Each of these points reminds me of my own experiences and those of my friends’. I can’t help but wonder, if we are being identified as a group, how will we do collectively ten or fifteen years from now? And how do we prepare for the future?


PBS “POV” Lists Essential Documentaries About China

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Disorder (dir. Huang Weikai) tied for most mentions in PBS' poll of essential documentaries about China

Last month the acclaimed documentary Last Train Home, about migrant laborers in China, made its US television premiere as part of the POV series on PBS. As part of the film’s online promotional efforts, POV polled several filmmakers and experts in Chinese cinema to recommend top documentaries and features about China. We were pleased to see that Disorder tied for most mentions among all films, including a recommendation by Last Train Home director Fan Lixin. Fan writes of Disorder: “A powerful and utterly honest mishmash of the most bizarre images from contemporary Chinese society, with an almost cynical sarcasm. I’ve never seen anything quite like it!”

Other documentaries receiving multiple recommendations: Petition by Zhao Liang, whose Crime and Punishment is distributed by dGenerate, and Up the Yangtze by Yung Chang (who also took part in the poll). Strangely, Blind Shaft also tied for most mentions in this “documentary” poll, even though it is a narrative feature.

Not surprisingly, Jia Zhangke was the most recommended filmmaker, with six mentions spread across five titles. His documentary Dong is distributed by dGenerate.

All the recommendations can be found at the POV website on PBS.

Asia Society Presents Visions of a New China

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Asia Society Presents Documentary Film Series:

Visions of a New China

September 25 – October 29, 2011

Asia Society and Museum, 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street, NYC

Asia Society presents a documentary film series that focuses on contemporary urban life in China with nine films in seven programs (two double bills). The series runs from September 25 to October 29, 2011 at Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), New York City.

China is undergoing the fastest economic growth and social transformation known in human history. In urban centers, a booming economy, an unfolding physical landscape and shifting demographics have created new and evolving realities. This documentary film series, focusing on urban life, explores how millions of people navigate this changing China. While some Chinese mourn the loss of the past, others find ways to survive and thrive. Films portray stories of success, struggle, disillusionment and caution.

The nine documentaries in the series were made between 2005 and 2011; eight of them are by Chinese filmmakers. The series sheds light on an unparalleled spectrum of experiences across social and economic classes. It also takes critical looks at the repercussions of China’s unstoppable development.

Film descriptions and program schedule follow. To view trailers and for more information on the series, visit

Tickets: $7 members; $9 students/seniors; $11 nonmembers. Series discount available. or call 212-517-ASIA (2742) for more information.

The film series is programmed by La Frances Hui, Film Curator of Asia Society. This series is supported in part by a grant from the Open Society Foundations. Additional support is provided by the Asia Society Center on U.S.-China Relations and New York State Council on the Arts.

PROGRAM SCHEDULE (all films with English subtitles)


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.


Newsletter – June 2010

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

dGenerate Films Newsletter: June 2010

In celebration of the summer and the end of the school year, we are offering a sale though the end of June — 15% off any dGenerate title ordered before June 30! We hope that you will consider rounding out your DVD libraries with dGenerate titles and support the invaluable work that our filmmakers are doing to created uncensored perspectives on contemporary Chinese society. Contact us to order and mention the discount, you’ve got a week!

Now is also the time to start thinking about your Fall film series’ and bringing one of our indie Chinese films to your venue. With enough time and planning, our filmmakers are also available to come out and visit as well.

And for those of you home viewers, most of our films are available online for viewing through Amazon and Indieflix for $5 a film. Visit the respective page for each film on our catalog page and you’ll find links to view them.

As always, contact as any time, for any reason. Visit our latest film catalog here. Thanks for your support!


Ariella Tai

Manager, Operations & Sales
(646) 360-0343 /
Twitter: @dgeneratefilms



  • Currently making its way around the festival circuit and available for exhibition screenings is Venice Film Festival Best Documentary 1428. A powerful look at the reality facing survivors of the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, Du Haibin’s film recently was picked as “Best of the Los Angeles Film Festival” by LA Weekly critic Karina Longworth.
  • Film scholar and Cal Arts professor Bernice Reynaud recently reviewed 1428 in Senses of Cinema, along with Oxhide and Queer China, ‘Comrade China’, amongst other contemporary Chinese films
  • CNN also took a behind-the-scenes look at 1428


  • The latest issue of Time Out Shanghai highlights “The Seven Hottest Directors in China”: Ying Liang, Yang Heng, Zhao Liang, Liu Jiayin, Zhao Dayong, Zhao Ye, and Wei Tie. The feature interviews all seven of the directors, as well as dGenerate President Karin Chien. dGenerate proudly offers titles from five of the seven directors named in the article as “directors to watch.” You can download the full article at the dGenerate website.


  • We are excited for the recent addition of Huang Weikai’s Disorder to our catalog, as well as Liu Jiayin’s long-awaited sequel to Oxhide, Oxhide 2. Please contact if you are interested in bringing these films to your city or university!


  • The best way to keep tabs on all the up-to-the-minute happenings in the underground Chinese film world is by following us on Twitter, Facebook, and through our blog’s RSS feed. Stay in touch!

Summer Program in Chinese Film

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

The University of Washington is now accepting applications for their third Summer Program in Chinese Film History and Criticism held at the Beijing Film Academy. The Program will be take place on June 28 to July 25, 2010.

Students worldwide are welcome to the program, administered through the University of Washington. Twelve quarter credits are transferable to other institutions. The program is especially well suited for upper-level undergraduates who intend to continue their studies in Chinese cinema, and for graduate students and professors who plan to teach courses involving Chinese films. No knowledge of Chinese is required.

The courses will be taught by professors from outside Asia (including Chris Berry, Yomi Braester, and James Tweedie) and a variety of faculty from the Beijing Film Academy. The program also includes meetings with filmmakers. The program cost (including tuition and lodging) is $3,300 + registration fee. Rolling admission will start on January 1, 2010.

Further details on curriculum and application procedures can be found on the program’s website. Questions should be addressed to the program director, Professor Yomi Braester: yomi @

dGenerate Directors Featured in Dragons & Tigers

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

by Lu Chen

Tony Rayns and Shelly Kraicer, programmers of the Vancouver International Film Festival‘s big Dragons & Tigers: The Cinemas of East Asia section, have announced a program that will showcase a total of thirty-five features, four mid-length films and twenty-two shorts, as of publication. Dragons & Tigers is one of the preeminent showcases of East Asian films in the world, and a stepping stone for many young Asian filmmakers. This year it will feature five World Premieres, eight International Premieres, twelve North American Premieres and two Canadian Premieres from seventy countries.

Four dGenerate Films directors are featured in the program.

  • Gay activist and radial filmmaker Cui Zi’en’s Queer China, ‘Comrade’ China uses rare testimonies from theorists, activists and artists to outline the modern origins of Chinese homosexuality through its attempted suppression to its breakthroughs in the last decade.
  • Zhao Dayong’s (whose documentary Ghost Town will have its international premiere at the New York Film Festival on September 27) Rough Poetry brings together political theater and faces in closeup by putting eight characters in a cage, playing themselves, including a cop, a prostitute, and a poet.
  • Liu Jiayin’s Oxhide II is a sequel to her dGenerate title Oxhide and uses the occasion of making dumplings with her parents to structure this formally daring, wryly amusing look at family dynamics, economic burdens and the ethics and aesthetics of cooking from scratch.
  • Yang Heng’s (Betelnut) Sun Spots tells a tale of love, betrayal and revenge set in a verdant mountain paradise in central China, and captures the anguish and passion of a youthful lost generation.


Shelly on Film: What is a Chinese Film?

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

By Shelly Kraicer

San Yuan Li

San Yuan Li (dir. Ou Ning, 2003)

What is a Chinese film? Ever since I’ve started living and working in Beijing over six years ago, most serious discussions about Chinese cinema ultimately come down to this elemental question, either in its descriptive mode (what defines a Chinese film?) or in its more urgently prescriptive version (what should a Chinese film be?). Often, it’s filmmakers themselves who seem most anxious about the issue. Behind it lie several subsidiary anxieties: “What do Westerners want from Chinese films?”, “What’s my role in Chinese society?”, “Are films art, or commerce, or politics?”