Posts Tagged ‘CinemaTalk: Conversations on Chinese Cinema Studies’

CinemaTalk: Interview with Huang Weikai, Director of Disorder

Monday, May 16th, 2011

"Disorder" director Huang Weikai

"Disorder" director Huang Weikai

Disorder, a bold documentary by Huang Weikai, has been steadily garnering recognition over the past year, screening at multiple venues across America. It’s been mentioned as one of the best films of 2010 by Moving Image Source and Film Comment magazine, and recently won Best Documentary at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Seeing it at the Reel China Film Festival in NYU, Hua Hsu of The Atlantic called it “one of the most mesmerizing films I’ve seen in ages.”

Disorder screens this Friday in Chicago at The Nightingale as part of the White Light Cinema series, and Saturday and Sunday at Anthology Film Archives in New York City. Details for both events can be found here, as well as on the Chicago event’s Facebook page.

We have translated an interview with Huang Weikai that took place during one of the film’s first screenings at the 2009 Beijing Documentary Week (DOChina) and was originally published on the Fanhall Films website. (Sadly, both the Fanhall website and DOChina have been shut down this year; we hope that access to outstanding films like Disorder, as well as information about them, will continue to be accessible somehow in China.)

Q: What made you want to make this film?

Huang: I have lived in the city for a long time, and I have always been very concerned with city life. In recent years, cities have evolved a lot. This explains why I want to make a documentary about present city life in China. This film reflects what I think about city life, especially the chaotic side of it.

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CinemaTalk: Interview with Li Ning, Director of Tape

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Li Ning, director of Tape

Tape, a highly experimental documentary by performance artist, dancer and filmmaker Li Ning, made its European premiere last January at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. Since then it has screened at the MoMA Documentary Fortnight and won the Silver Award at the Yunnan Multicultural Visual Exhibitions, aka YunFest. The film makes its West Coast premiere at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts this Thursday April 7 as part of the series “Fearless: Chinese Independent Documentaries.”

The dGenerate catalog describes Tape as follows:

For five grueling years, Li Ning documents his struggle to achieve success as an avant-garde artist while contending with the pressures of modern life in China. He is caught between two families: his wife, son and mother, whom he can barely support; and his enthusiastic but disorganized guerilla dance troupe. Tape shatters documentary conventions, utilizing a variety of approaches, including guerilla documentary, experimental street video, even CGI.

dGenerate’s Kevin B. Lee interviewed Li Ning at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. The following is a transcript of the interview. Translation by Amy Yiran Xu and Isabella Tianzi Cai.

dGF: You were originally a dancer, sculptor and performance artist for many years. How did you begin to make videos? Tape was originally a dance performance piece. At what time did you decide to make Tape as a video?

Li Ning: It began in 2000. I owned a DV camera then. I used it to document my performances, with my troupe, and also our training. It started simple, and I didn’t expect myself to make a documentary. Kevin knows this, I feel strongly about Jinan. I have been seeing certain scenery and objects there for over 30 years. They have left a mark in my heart and in my head. I used this crappy camera and made my first film. It was an amateurish film, which was completed 10 years ago and lasted a little over 40 minutes. In my opinion, it was closely related to Tape. And at a deeper level it shares the same things with those in Tape, such as our human condition, our changing cityscape, the choices that each human being faces.

dGF: This concept of “tape,” how did you come up with the idea of it?

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CinemaTalk: Conversation with Liu Jiayin, director of Oxhide and Oxhide II

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

This entry is part of a weeklong spotlight of newly available titles in the dGenerate Films catalog.

Director Liu Jiayin was interviewed at the Apple Store Sanlitun Beijing, as part of the “Meet the Filmmakers” series, co-presented by the Apple Store in Beijing and dGenerate Films, a series to showcase China’s newest filmmakers powered by digital technology.

Liu Jiayin was born in Beijing in 1981. At age 23, she made her debut feature Oxhide while a Master’s student the Beijing Film Academy. Oxhide has won several prizes (including the FIPRESCI award at Berlin Film Festival, Golden DV Award at Hong Kong International Film Festival, and Dragons and Tigers Award at Vancouver Film Festival) and has been called “the most important Chinese film of the past several years–and one of the most astonishing recent films from any country” (film critic Shelly Kraicer). Her follow-up Oxhide II (2009) was similarly lauded, and won awards at CinDi Seoul and was featured in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. She is currently a professor of screen writing at the Beijing Film Academy, and is developing the final part of her trilogy, Oxhide III.

The video of Liu’s interview is in three parts, with an English transcript following each video. Video of Part One is below. Click through to view both videos and the full transcript. Interview conducted by Yuqian Yan. Videography by Kevin Lee. English transcription and subtitles by Isabella Tianzi Cai.

Note: English subtitles for each video can be accessed by clicking on the CC button in the pop-up menu on the bottom right corner of the player. The subtitles can be repositioned anywhere on the screen by clicking on them (if they are not displaying properly, click them to adjust).

Part I.

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CinemaTalk: Conversation with Ying Liang at the Beijing Apple Store

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Director Ying Liang

Director Ying Liang was interviewed at the Apple Store Sanlitun Beijing, as part of the “Meet the Filmmakers” series, co-presented by the Apple Store in Beijing and dGenerate Films, an ongoing series to showcase China’s newest filmmakers powered by digital technology.

Ying Liang graduated from the Department of Directing at the Chongqing Film Academy and Beijing Normal University. He directed his first feature film,Taking Father Home (2005), which won awards at the Tokyo Filmex Film Festival, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, and the San Francisco International Film Festival. In 2006, Ying made The Other Half (2006), which is supported by the Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) from the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film also won the Special Jury Prize at the Tokyo Filmex Film Festival.

The video of Ying’s interview is in three parts, with an English transcript following each video. Video of Part One is below. Click through to view both videos and the full transcript. Interview conducted by Gigi Zhang. Videography by Michael Cheng. English transcription and subtitles by Isabella Tianzi Cai.

Note: English subtitles for each video can be accessed by clicking on the CC button in the pop-up menu on the bottom right corner of the player. The subtitles can be repositioned anywhere on the screen by clicking on them (if they are not displaying properly, click them to adjust).

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CinemaTalk: A Conversation with Shelly Kraicer

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Shelly Kraicer

Shelly Kraicer is a Beijing-based writer, critic, and film curator. Born in Toronto, Canada, and educated at Yale University, he has written film criticism in Cinema Scope, Positions, Cineaste, the Village Voice, and Screen International. Since 2007, he has been a programmer of East Asian films for the Vancouver International Film Festival, and has consulted for the Venice, Udine, Dubai, and Rotterdam International Film Festivals.

Shelly has regularly contributed informative and insightful pieces on contemporary Chinese cinema for the dGenerate blog. This time we are pleased to present a lengthier, more casual and free-flowing conversation with Shelly. The conversation touches on the current state of independent film in China, the official and unofficial systems of film production and distribution, and the relationship between Chinese films and international audiences. The interview was conducted by Christen Cornell of Art Space China.

Christen Cornell: What’s the system which allows certain films in China to be shown in commercial cinemas and others not? In other words, what is an ‘unauthorised’ film?

Shelly Kraicer: The classic system for feature fiction films is that there are at least two stages of censorship. One submits a summary of the film, and then when that is OKed you shoot your film, and then you submit a final cut. Then there’s typically a process of negotiation, where it’s not that the thing is banned or the thing can go through – which was the old system, and that’s still how I think a lot of, maybe Western media people who aren’t so specialised think of it. You know, like the old Soviet system? We ban; we pass.

CC: Even the word ‘ban’, I think, is a really Western idea.

SK: Right. And it doesn’t work that way. The film bureau will typically give a list of comments and objections and, quite often, specific scenes or shots, or sometimes it can be a slightly more general objection. And then a filmmaker will get back to them with changes, plus, and/or negotiation about it, and depending on how good you are at schmoozing, you get close to your original cut or you have to do a lot of changes.

The films that the film bureau would say no to just aren’t submitted. So I guess that’s one reason there isn’t a lot of flat banning. You know independent filmmakers, filmmakers that work out of places like Song Zhuang – a film community in Beijing – most of them don’t even submit.

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CinemaTalk: Peng Tao at the Beijing Apple Store

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

This is the third of three interviews produced from the “Meet the Filmmakers” series held in Feburary 2010 at the Apple Store in Sanlitun, Beijing. The series, co-presented by the Apple Store and dGenerate Films, is an ongoing series to showcase China’s newest filmmakers powered by digital technology.

Peng Tao at the Sanlitun Apple Store, Beijing

Peng Tao is the award-winning director of Little Moth (2007) and a graduate of the Art Department of Beijing Film Academy, where he received the Outstanding Short Film Award and first prize at the 1st JINZI Awards. Peng Tao’s second feature, Floating in Memory (2009), is supported by the prestigious Sundance Institute Feature Film Program and the Hubert Bals Fund, and screened in the VPRO Tiger Awards Competition at the 2009 International Film Festival Rotterdam.

The video of Peng’s interview is in three parts, with an English transcript following each video. Video of Part One is below. Click through to view both videos and the full transcript. Interview conducted by Jane Zheng. Videography by Michael Cheng. English transcription and subtitles by Yuqian Yan and Isabella Tianzi Cai.

Note: English subtitles for each video can be accessed by clicking on the CC button in the pop-up menu on the bottom right corner of the player.

VIDEO PART ONE

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CinemaTalk: Jian Yi at the Beijing Apple Store

Monday, June 21st, 2010

This is the second of three interviews produced from the “Meet the Filmmakers” series held in Feburary 2010 at the Apple Store in Sanlitun, Beijing. The series, co-presented by the Apple Store and dGenerate Films, is an ongoing series to showcase China’s newest filmmakers powered by digital technology.

Jian Yi

Jian Yi is a filmmaker from China whose work actively engages ordinary citizens in documenting their own lives. He directed the critically acclaimed films Super, Girls! and Bamboo Shoots, and co-directed the groundbreaking China Village Documentary Project, in which ordinary villagers from across China used video cameras to record the changing rural dynamics in their home villages. Jian Yi is also the founder of the Participatory Documentary Center at Jinggangshan University and Original Studio, one of the nation’s first innovative community art centers. His documentaries and feature films, which reveal the social and cultural tensions of contemporary China, have won international awards and are shown worldwide. He is a 2010 Open Society Institute Fellow.

The video of Jian’s interview is in four parts, with an English transcript following each video. Video of Part One is below. Click through to view both videos and the full transcript. Interview conducted by Jane Zheng. Videography by Michael Cheng. English transcription and subtitles by Isabella Tianzi Cai.

Note: English subtitles for each video can be accessed by clicking on the CC button in the pop-up menu on the bottom right corner of the player.

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CinemaTalk: Cui Zi’en at the Beijing Apple Store

Monday, April 12th, 2010

This is the first of three interviews produced from the “Meet the Filmmakers” series held in Feburary 2010 at the Apple Store in Sanlitun, Beijing. The series, co-presented by the Apple Store and dGenerate Films, is an ongoing series to showcase China’s newest filmmakers powered by digital technology.

Cui Zi'en, director of Queer China, 'Comrade China', speaks at the Apple store in Beijing. (Photo: Robert Douglas)

Cui Zi’en is a director, film scholar, screenwriter, and novelist based in Beijing. He is an associate professor at the Beijing Film Academy. Cui Zi’en is a premiere avant-garde digital filmmaker in China. He has published nine novels in China and Hong Kong, and he is also the author of books on criticism and theory, as well as a columnist for magazines.

dGenerate Films distributes three of Cui Zi’en’s features in its catalog: Queer China, ‘Comrade China‘, Enter the Clowns, and We Are the… of Communism (coming soon).

The video of Cui’s interview is in four parts, with an English transcript following each video. Video of Part One is below. Click through to view both videos and the full transcript.

Note: English subtitles for each video can be accessed by clicking on the CC button in the pop-up menu on the bottom right corner of the player.

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