Posts Tagged ‘fanhall films’

Sixty Years of Unsanctioned Memories in the People’s Republic

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

At the 60th anniversary of the founding of the P.R.C., published a list of fifteen key independent documentaries as their tribute to the celebration. Entitled “Sixty Years of Unsanctioned Memories in the People’s Republic,” these digital video films present vivid pictures of Chinese life, society and landscape rarely seen in government-approved news or the overwhelming reports about China in mainstream western media. They present and reflect on modern Chinese history from the perspective of common citizens and marginalized social groups. German-Jewish political philosopher Hannah Arendt distinguishes private and public realms as “the distinction between things that should be hidden and things that should be shown.” These independent works try to break the line and present the hidden, “private” scenes and stories to the public. The list also links to the synopses of the films, some with English translations.


Fourth BIFF Celebrates Chinese-Language Indies

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Co-sponsored by Fanhall Films and Li Xianting Film Fund, the 4th annual Beijing Independent Film Festival was held from September 1st to September 7th in Songzhuang Arts District in suburban Beijing. The program focused on Chinese-language independent films from around the world and consisted of six units. Films from Greater China were divided into three units: fictional features, documentary features and short films (including experimental shorts and animations).


Ghost Town: a New Chapter for Chinese Cinema at the New York Film Festival

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009
Ghost Town (photo courtesy of Fanhall Films)

Ghost Town (photo courtesy of Fanhall Films)

Marking a breakthrough for the Chinese digital filmmaking community, director Zhao Dayong’s Ghost Town (Fei Cheng, 2008) was selected for the 47th New York Film Festival (September 25 – October 11), as the only Chinese entry in the lineup. This low-budget documentary shot on HD has never been shown in any major festival outside China; as of this article it has yet to even appear on IMDb and All Movie Guide. Yet it joins a prestigious NYFF lineup that features new works by renowned directors such as Alain Resnais, Pedro Almodovar, Jacques Rivette, and Lars von Trier. Its inclusion in the NYFF represents a first in the festival’s program: a nod to China’s digital generation of documentary filmmakers.

According to the website of Fanhall Films, a multi-faceted indie film support organization based in Beijing, the three-hour documentary is not about phantoms, but the Lisu and Nu minority villagers in the abandoned halls of a remote former communist county seat in the southwestern province of Yunnan, China. Consisting of three chapters, “Voices,” “Recollections,” and “Innocence,” the film observes and records the mode of existence of the nameless and the forgotten, offering extraordinary insights into such topics as religious faith, relationships, juvenile deviants, generational differences, and lost history.

Dennis Lim, a member of this year’s NYFF jury and a major voice in promoting Chinese independent cinema, shared his reasons for selecting the film with dGenerate Films’ Kevin Lee: “Ghost Town is one of the most surprising and rewarding films I’ve seen all year, one of the most important films to have emerged from the booming (but still underexplored) field of Chinese independent documentaries.” Fellow jury member Scott Foundas also considered the film an exciting discovery, exclaiming: “I didn’t think there was another Jia Zhangke or Wang Bing lurking out there, but it turns out there is!”