Posts Tagged ‘film festival’

Street Level Visions: Chinese Independent Docs at the Melbourne International Film Festival

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

“Though I Am Gone” (dir. HU Jie)

We’re proud to announce that “Street Level Visions,” a program of independent Chinese documentaries curated by Dan Edwards, will be screening next month as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival.

The program is a small retrospective of independent works produced in China over the past decade, many of which are distributed by dGenerate. The selection includes key landmarks of Chinese documentary such as Zhao Liang’s Petition (2009) and Hu Jie’s Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul, as well as new and important fare such as Wang Jiuliang’s debut from last year, Beijing Besieged by Waste.

Directors Ou Ning and Wang Jiuliang will be in Melbourne as guests of the festival.

Full program after the break – all screenings at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) on Federation Square unless otherwise indicated:
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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.

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Chinese Films at the Busan International Film Festival

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

In the recently closed 16th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), which ran from October 6 to 14, 2011, two independent Chinese productions made to the list of 30 finalists in the Asian Project Market (APM). They were Late August by YANG Heng (director of Betelnut, distributed by dGenerate) and Du, Zooey, and Ma by Robin WENG Shouming (director of Fujian Blue, distributed by dGenerate).

The Asian Project Market of BIFF, previously known as the Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP), is a venue for promising Asian directors and producers to get help and support from industrial representatives from all over the world. This year, 27 of the 30 finalists competed for six cash awards that ranged from 8,717USD (Lotte Award and PanStar Cruise Award) to 22,777USD (Göteborg Film Festival Fund from Sweden); 7 films won. See list.

This year, 307 films in 11 categories were screened at BIFF this year, with 134 world or international premieres. Below is a complete list of 22 Chinese films screened at the festival.

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Beijing Independent Film Festival Proceeds Under Pressure; Full Program Listed

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore reports for IPS:

The Sixth Beijing Independent Film Festival (BIFF) has had to switch venues twice following pressure by the police, obliging the organisers to inform festival-goers of the last-minute location changes.

BIFF, now in its sixth year, is showing over 50 cutting-edge feature films, documentaries, experimental works and animations in Songzhuang, a village on the outskirts of Beijing which is known as a hub for its avant-garde artistic community. The meddling by the authorities – while stopping short of shutting down the festival itself – has thrown into the spotlight the heavy scrutiny that the independent arts face in China by the one-party state.

Karin Chien, founder of dGenerate Films, a New York-based distribution company that specialises in distributing independent Chinese film to audiences worldwide, says she that was not surprised by the most recent interference from the authorities.

“Authorities caused BIFF to change venues twice, to the point where screenings were being held in the festival’s headquarters,” Chien, who was present at the launch event, wrote to IPS in an email. ‘So when the police showed up to stop the first screening, it wasn’t a surprise. The documentary version of BIFF was canceled by the authorities in May, so I suppose we were all holding our breath to see what would happen this time.”

Read the full report at IPS

Click through to access the full program of The 6th Beijing Independent Film Festival

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No. 89 Shimen Road Wins at Warsaw Film Festival

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

"No. 89 Shimen Road" director Shu Haolun

Congratulations to writer-director Shu Haolun, whose new film No. 89 Shimen Road just won the Best Asian Film Award (NETPAC Award) from 27th Warsaw International Film Festival.

In giving the award to Shu, the NETPAC jury commented on their decision:

The 27th WFF NETPAC Jury gives out the award to a film that poignantly depicts the struggle of a country confronted with a new order. It is also a personal and touching view of a world that no longer exist.

No. 89 Shimen Road is available through dGenerate Films. It will screen in Chicago next month as part of an 11-film series on Chinese independent cinema hosted by Doc Films.

Shu’s previous films Struggle and Nostalgia are also available through dGenerate.

Chinese Directors Win at HK Documentary Fest, Say They Enjoy Freedom

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

By Kevin Lee

Zhou Hao presents his film "The Transition Period" at the China Documentary Festival in Hong Kong (photo: Associated Press)

The 2011 Chinese Documentary Festival in Hong Kong concluded earlier this month with awards given to The Transition Period by Zhou Hao and One Day in May by Ma Zhandong. The Transition Period will be distributed later this year by dGenerate, which already distributes one of Zhou’s earlier films, Using.

In a report on the festival for the Associated Press, Min Lee describes The Transition Period as “a rare, fascinating look at how the Chinese government operates:”

Guo Yongchang, who is currently serving a seven-year prison term for accepting bribes of 2 million Chinese yuan ($310,000), is shown discussing how to split tax revenue with lower-level officials, meeting with constituents as well as smearing birthday cake onto the face of an American businessman and wining and dining with Taiwanese businessmen in another drunken episode. A secretly recorded sound section shows Guo ordering an aide to return certain bribes.

Zhou said he met Guo at a dinner and the former official quickly agreed to be filmed. He said he got full access – although avoided shooting Guo’s family life. Guo has seen the documentary – minus the secretly taped section – and didn’t object, Zhou said.

When asked if he worried if such a film could cause trouble for him with the authorities, Zhou responded: “my understanding is that you can basically film everything you want to film. The key question is whether you want to shoot something. If you want to shoot something, you can definitely do it.”

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Shelly on Film: Beijing’s First Official Film Festival

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

By Shelly Kraicer

I previously wrote here about the cancellation of the 2011 Beijing Independent Documentary Film Festival (DOChina) at Songzhuang. As a companion piece, let’s take a look at the other important film event scheduled for roughly the same time in Beijing, the First Beijing International Film Festival (Di yi jie Beijing guoji dianying ji), which took place from April 23 to 28, 2011.

The BJIFF Opening Gala was more than spectacular, as far as these things go. An obviously huge budget was expended on large scale staged showpieces, set up for what was reported to be a “live television broadcast” managed by CCTV3, in Beijing’s most spectacular theatre, the Opera Hall of National Center for the Performing Arts just beside the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square.

CCTV news clip Here.

It makes sense that the fledgling BJIFF would shower a large part of its apparently substantial resources on this splashy opening show. The festival seems to be about scale, civic and national power, and about positioning Beijing — institutionally, internationally, industrially, and in the media’s frame of reference — as the centre of China’s visible film culture. That Shanghai has been host to China’s most prominent long-running film fest, in fact the only one with a real international profile, was an impediment to this image Beijing is eager to project. Hence the BJIFF, tasked to reposition in “film festival” terms Beijing as the acknowledged and unrivaled centre of Chinese cinema.
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Shelly on Film: The Film Festival That Wasn’t

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

By Shelly Kraicer

Since the story made various international news outlets late last month, you may already have heard of the cancellation of this year’s DOChina, the independent documentary film festival scheduled for May 1 to May 7 in Songzhuang, an artists’ village in the suburb of Beijing. Well, it was cancelled, but a number of us still made the one and a half hour trek to Songzhuang, whether out of habit or hope that there would be some films waiting for us.

DOChina was supposed to have screened 26 films to its usual audience of Beijingers, filmmakers, Songzhuang residents, and a number of foreign guests (programmers, researchers, film institute reps) who come to form a regular audience. Alas, this was not to be. Several levels of government, represented at a surprisingly high level, made it clear to the sponsoring organisation of the festival, Li Xianting’s Film Fund that this was not the right time for an independent organization to screen Chinese films that the state has not authorized. The Film Fund organizers, unwilling to have their films vetted in advance, chose to call off the festival.

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Chinese Films at Rotterdam Film Fest, Including Two dGenerate Titles

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Fortune Teller (dir. Xu Tong)

This year’s 40th edition of the Rotterdam International Film Festival has a particularly strong showing of Chinese films. Though none are competing for the prestigious Tiger award, there are plenty in the Bright Future section of emerging filmmakers, as well as a couple of programs specifically about China. But we are especially pleased to announced that two titles we distribute in North America will make their European premiere at Rotterdam. dGenerate’s Kevin B. Lee will be attending the festival; if you happen to be there and would like to meet Kevin or attend a screening, he can be reached at kevin *at* dgeneratefilms *dot* com.

Our films are:

Fortune Teller, dir. Xu Tong

Li Baicheng is a charismatic fortune teller who services a clientele of prostitutes and marginalized figures whose jobs, like his, are commonplace but technically illegal in China. He practices his ancient craft in a village near Beijing while taking care of his deaf and dumb wife Pearl, whom he had rescued from her family’s mistreatment. Winter brings a police crackdown on both fortune tellers and prostitutes, forcing Li and Pearl into temporary exile in his hometown, where he revisits old family demons. His humble story is told with chapter headings similar to Qing Dynasty popular fiction, as the film draws narrative complexity from China’s everyday life.

Cinerama 7 Tue 01 Feb 10:30
Cinerama 5 Fri 04 Feb 12:45

More details

Tape, dir. Li Ning

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. Li’s chaotic life becomes inseparable from the act of taping it, as if his experiences can only make sense on screen. Tape shatters documentary conventions, utilizing a variety of approaches, including guerilla documentary, experimental street video, even CGI. Much like Jia Zhangke’s Platform, Tape captures a decade’s worth of artistic aspirations and failures, while breaking new ground in individual expression in China.

LV 6 Wed 02 Feb 12:00 tickets
LV 3 Fri 04 Feb 16:00

More details

In addition. Zhao Dayong (Ghost Town, Street Life) will screen his new documentary My Father’s House, as part of the Festival’s special Raiding Africa program. 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.

We hope to have more coverage of the festival in the days to come…

Tape and Fortune Teller at Rotterdam International Film Festival

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Those of you fortunate enough to be at the Rotterdam International Film Festival should look for two new dGenerate films, Li Ning’s Tape and Xu Tong’s Fortune Teller.

Tape screened on Friday and will also be screened on Wed, Feb. 2 at 12pm and Fri, Feb. 4 at 4pm. Fortune Teller also screened Friday and screens again on Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 10:30am and Fri, Feb. 4 at 12:45pm.

Descriptions of Tape and Fortune Teller can be found here and here. And if you happen to be at the festival, track down dGenerate’s Kevin Lee and say hi!