Posts Tagged ‘independent’

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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What American Indies Can Learn from Their Chinese Counterparts

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

This article by dGenerate’s founder and president Karin Chien was originally published by IndieWire on the blog of independent film producer Ted Hope. This is a revised version of the article with some clarifications in language. Additionally, Karin and dGenerate’s VP of Programming Kevin Lee hand-picked six films as a starter kit for anyone interested in discovering the world of Chinese indie films. Full article and list of films can be found after the break.

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Karin Chien

Let me start by making a provocative statement – in my three years of distributing and working with Chinese independent filmmakers, I’ve experienced greater creative freedom than in ten years of producing independent film in the US.

For most of us, Chinese independent cinema is an unknown. A film like Zhang Yimou’s Hero, financed with Chinese state backing, about Chinese empire, and made by a party-line director, is sold here as arthouse fare, distributed byMiramax. Subtitles are enough to qualify a film as “independent cinema” in America.

So let’s begin with a redefinition. The films I work with are made outside the state studio system and without official government authorization. These are films that do not submit scripts or finished products to censorship committees. These are also films that cannot obtain official distribution or official funding in China. These films are often referred to in the West as unauthorized, underground filmmaking. The Chinese filmmakers call it independent cinema.

So how do you make films outside the system in China? (more…)

A Visit to the IFChina Original Studio with Filmmaker Jian Yi

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

By Dan Edwards

IFChina Studio founder and filmmaker Jian Yi, outside the studio on the campus of Jinggangshan University

Reprinted by permission from RealTime Arts Magazine.

Ji’an doesn’t look like the most auspicious place for a groundbreaking experiment in China’s budding civil society. The town doesn’t appear in any English language guidebooks, the local station platform is just a low-slung slab of concrete and, in early spring when i visited, a bone chilling mist hung over the town. Yet this minor chinese city is home to IFChina Original Studio, a bold attempt to generate community participation in the arts and oral history in the heart of one of China’s poorest regions.

hidden stories

“We wanted to start with oral history because this place is so special – the Chinese revolution under Mao Zedong started here,” explains Jian Yi, a gently spoken local filmmaker whose credits include the documentary Super, Girls (2007). Jian Yi founded IFChina Original Studio with his wife Eva in 2009 on the campus of Jinggangshan University. Their activities include theatre classes, video workshops and photography programs, all built on an oral history foundation.

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Report on Chinese Independent Documentaries for Roger Ebert’s Website

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

Directors Zhao Liang and Fan Lixin in Zhao Liang's Beijing studio (photo: Grace Wang)

An article of great interest was recently posted in the Chicago Sun Times-based blog, Etheriel Musings: A Journey in China, by Canadian-based blogger Grace Wang, who is a “Far Flung Correspondent” for Roger Ebert. In her lengthy article “Chinese Documentaries: An Inside Look,” Wang emphasizes the importance of Chinese documentaries in the world at large today: “they reflect, from the closest distance possible, in the most direct way possible, the rapid social, political, and cultural changes happening in China right now.”

What Wang believes Chinese documentaries can achieve is fascinating. She argues that Chinese documentary cinema outperforms conventional journalism in bringing “a deep and thorough look” into China because it is unconstrained by “the time-sensitive nature of the journalists’ occupation” and “the bureaucratic red-tape” within the Chinese press. Though it is not specifically noted, we shall understand that here she refers to independent documentaries made largely outside of the state-censored film and media industry.

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Awards Announced at 7th China Documentary Film Festival

Monday, May 10th, 2010

The Spiral Staircase of Harbin (dir. Ji Dan) [Photo courtesy of Fanhall Films

The 7th China Documentary Film Festival, organized by Fanhall Films, was held May 1-7 in the Songzhuang Art District on the outskirts of Beijing. 11 new documentaries were featured in the competiton, as well as several other films outside of competition and an international section featuring films from Japan, South Korea and Singapore. We will have some commentary on the festival proceedings in the coming days.

The Festival announced its awards for the following films (with citations by the jury in quotes):

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