Posts Tagged ‘independent film’

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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Indie Filmmakers Featured in Time Out Shanghai

Monday, June 7th, 2010

The newest issue of Time Out Shanghai (English edition) has a five-page cover feature spotlighting the new generation of independent digital filmmakers. The article singles out seven “directors to watch” whom the magazine playfully dubs “The Magnificent Seven:” Ying Liang, Yang Heng, Zhao Liang, Zhao Ye, Zhao Dayong, Liu Jiayin and Wei Tie. All seven are interviewed, as is dGenerate Films’ president Karin Chien.

The feature is not available online, but we’ve secured permission to make it available as a downloadable .pdf on the dGenerate website. You can download the feature here. Thanks to Nicola Davison at Time Out Shanghai.

dGenerate Films is the proud distributor of films from five of the “Magnificent Seven.” Learn more about their films by clicking on the following titles:

Liu Jiayin: Oxhide

Ying Liang: Taking Father Home; The Other Half

Yang Heng: Betelnut

Zhao Liang: Crime and Punishment

Zhao Dayong: Ghost Town


MEET THE FILMMAKERS: Ying Liang at Apple Store Beijing

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Ying Liang

dGenerate Films and the Apple Store in Beijing continue their ongoing series showcasing China’s newest filmmakers powered by digital technology. This Thursday, April 21, acclaimed digital filmmaker Ying Liang will show clips from his films and discuss his creative process.

Ying Liang’s talk is part of the series “Meet the Filmmakers,” a collaboration between the Apple Store in Beijing and dGenerate Films. Digital tools, from digital video cameras to editing software, have placed filmmaking in the hands of the people. This series introduces award-winning directors discuss with the general public how they use digital technology to create their latest movies, attracting worldwide attention and acclaim.

Read news coverage of the inaugural “Meet the Filmmakers” events, and watch video from a previous Apple Store talk with filmmaker and activist Cui Zi’en.

All events will be held at the Apple Store in Sanlitun, Beijing, starting at 7pm.

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. Ying Liang’s latest film Good Cats (2008) premiered at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

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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6th Annual China Independent Film Festival Lineup

Friday, October 9th, 2009

The Sixth China Independent Film Festival (CIFF) will be held in Nanjing from October 12-16th, 2009. Here’s a listing of their screening programs. Screenings are held in the Nanjing Visual Art College and Nanjing Art University.

In addition there will be other discussions and presentations on Chinese independent cinema (including one by yours truly on behalf of dGenerate); there’s even a “Young Movie Critics” training course on tap.

Yang Jins Er Dong, a dGenerate Films catalog title, is among the titles participating in the Feature Film Competition. Other dGenerate directors who have films in the festival are Ying Liang (Good Cats) and Zhao Dayong (Rough Poetry).

Shelly Kraicer profiled the CIFF on his virtual tour of the Chinese independent film circuit. He wrote, “the festival cultivates a real sense of intellectual energy and ferment.”

Main program of films follows after the break.

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DV Management Regulation in the People’s Republic of China

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

In the New York Times article “Indie Filmmakers: China’s New Guerillas” reporter Kirk Semple mentions an “undefined gray area” in which today’s digital independent filmmakers work under the close watch (and occasional intervention) of the government. As a background information resource, we have procured and translated the official government statement concerning the monitoring of digital video work in China, issued in 2004, and referred to whenever a party is prosecuted for making, distributing or exhibiting illegal films in China.

Notice on Strengthening DV Management in Theater, Television and on the Internet” was officially issued on May 24th, 2004 by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. The following is a translation of its main part:

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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?”

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Shelly on Film: An Inside Tour of The Chinese Independent Film Circuit

Monday, August 10th, 2009
The Iberia Center for Contemporary Art, Home of the Chinese Independent Film Archive (Photo courtesy of Iberia Center of Contemporary Art)

The Iberia Center for Contemporary Art, Home of the Chinese Independent Film Archive (Photo courtesy of Iberia Center of Contemporary Art)

By Shelly Kraicer

Whenever I am interviewed about Chinese independent cinema, the question that comes up more often than anything else is “Can these kind of films be shown in China?”

The situation is changing, rapidly, and in substantial ways. The answer used to be “Yes, sort of”. Now, it’s “Yes, most definitely”.

Independent films, i.e. films made outside the government censorship system, can’t be shown in regular commercial movie theatres. When I arrived in Beijing back in 2003, one had to do a bit of investigative work to find screenings; at art galleries, a few bars and cafes, and occasionally on university campuses: all low- to zero-profile events. Now, though, there is, if not exactly a profusion, then something like a blossoming of screening opportunities for “unauthorized” Chinese indie films.

One such event, which I attended in early April, provides a handy opportunity to sketch out a provisional, though hopefully not too superficial overview of the Chinese independent film scene.

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Statement by Jia Zhangke on his withdrawal from Melbourne International Film Festival

Friday, July 24th, 2009

As a follow-up to yesterday’s news of three Chinese films pulling out of the Melbourne International Film Festival in protest to a documentary on Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, we are posting a translation of a statement made by Jia Zhangke concerning his decision to withdraw his short film as well as Emily Tang’s A Perfect Life, produced by Jia’s company XStream Pictures. The original statement in Chinese, found here, was translated by Yuqian Yan. In this statement Jia refers to another protest, by British director Ken Loach, who withdrew from the festival after objecting to the festival’s sponsorship by the state of Israel.

1. We have no intention to interfere with the film festival’s freedom to facilitate artistic communication. It is our way of self-discipline to withdraw from the Melbourne Film Festival. I’m not an expert at Xinjiang history, but since it is only two weeks after the Urumqi riots, I think we should at least be cautious not to offend the victims.

2. The political inclination of the Melbourne Film Festival this year is getting stronger. First, it was the British director Ken Loach who questioned the funding of the festival, accusing them of using blood money. Then Ten Conditions of Love, a documentary about Rebiya Kadeer, appeared on the program list. They even organized a series of activities for her.

3. We think attending the same event with Rebiya Kadeer contains political meanings. It is emotionally intolerable and practically inappropriate. So the staff of Xstream Pictures agreed to withdraw from the festival to show our attitude and stance.

4. On July 19, our company representative Zhou Qiang (Chow Keung) wrote to the president of Melbourne Film Festival, announcing that two films from XStream Pictures: “Cry Me a River” and A Perfect Life will withdraw from the festival. Director Emily Tang Xiaobai and producer Zhou Qiang (Chow Keung) also canceled their plans to attend the festival.