Posts Tagged ‘interview’

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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Interview with Yang Jin, Director of The Black and White Milk Cow and Er Dong

Monday, January 31st, 2011

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

Yang Jin, director of The Black and White Milk Cow and Er Dong

In this interview originally published on Sina.com, director Yang Jin talks about the making of The Black and White Milk Cow (available through the dGenerate catalog). Yang discusses how he found his actors and how he worked with them. He also mentions his filming experiences, which include what he did to transition from one scene to the next, how he worked around his tight budget, as well as his experience with working with a script. He says that in Er Dong, he used a different approach, which was that he didn’t follow the script very strictly but filmed extra footage that could be used in the editing afterwards.

Translated by Isabella Tianzi Cai.

Q: May I ask what made you want to make The Black and White Milk Cow?

Yang: When I was still in school, my class did an exercise on making tragic stories. The requirement of the exercise was such as we needed to throw all tragic elements at one single character. I had read Chinese writer Wang Xin’s novella “The Black and White Milk Cow” at that point, and I considered the main character in Wang’s story extraordinarily tragic.

Q: So can we say that this film is a tragedy?

Yang: Yes.

Q: When did you shoot it?
Yang: I started it in the summer of 2004 and completed it at the end of that year.

Q: Were you still in school?
Yang: That’s right.

Q: Where did you shoot it?
Yang: I shot it in my hometown Caochuan county, which is in Pinglu, Shanxi. A few scenes were shot in the urban area of Pinglu, outside Caochuan.

Q: Why did you choose this place?
Yang: I had a small budget. Being able to shoot in my hometown saved me a lot of money. I didn’t need to pay my crew, neither for lodging. I am very familiar with the place. It is where my grandmother grew up. I have been there as a child. And I remember that there was a school in the village. Unfortunately when I started shooting the film, the school was gone. A family lived on the compound then. And we filmed there.

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Zhao Liang Interviewed on Petition

Friday, January 14th, 2011

This week on dGenerate we will be featuring articles related to Zhao Liang’s acclaimed documentary Crime and Punishment to coincide with the screening of his films at Anthology Film Archives in New York City. Click here for more information on the screenings.

Zhao Liang

This translated interview was first published Feburary 1, 2010 to commemorate Zhao Liang’s visit to the United States. The interview was originally published in the Chinese magazine Liang You. Translation by Yuqian Yan:

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In 1996, when Jia Zhangke picked up a 16mm camera to film his fellow townsmen in Linfen, Zhao Liang, who used to live across the corridor to Jia at Beijing Film Academy, held the camera to record a special group of people – petitioners near Beijing South Railway Station.

Twelve years later Jia Zhangke has shifted his early interest in documentary to a recent martial art film project, and he even became a jury chairman at the Cannes Film Festival, while Zhao Liang eventually finished his 12-year project Petition, and was invited to a special screening at Cannes. Therefore he’s still a novice at Cannes. “Never mind. It’s quite common for a forty or fifty-year-old to be called a young director.”

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CinemaTalk: Conversation with Zhao Liang, director of Crime and Punishment and Petition

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

This week on dGenerate we will be featuring articles related to Zhao Liang’s acclaimed documentary Crime and Punishment to coincide with the screening of his films at Anthology Film Archives in New York City. Click here for more information on the screenings.

This article was originally published August 17, 2010.

By Kevin B. Lee

Zhao Liang

Zhao Liang is one of China’s leading artists working in video, photography and documentary film. His work examines both rural and urban realities, fast-paced progress and nostalgia, the nature of politics, and the beauty of the natural world. He clearly connects with the underprivileged, whom he considers to be the engine of society, and homes in on the everyday aspects of life ignored by public institutions. He has directed two feature documentaries, Crime and Punishment and Petition, and his videos, photos and installations have been exhibited around the world.

To commemorate dGenerate Films’ release of Crime and Punishment, what follows is a transcript from Zhao Liang’s audience Q&A following a screening of the film at the China Institute on Feburary 5, 2010. Additionally, there are excerpts from a supplementary interview with Zhao conducted by dGenerate Films’ Kevin B. Lee.

Thanks to Isabella Tianzi Cai, Vincent Cheng and Yuqian Yan for their translation of the interviews.

1. From the audience Q&A following the China Institute screening of Crime and Punishment:

Question: Could you say something about how this film has been distributed in China and how it’s been received? Has it been screened in theaters? Has it been on the television as well as on the web?

Zhao: In China, this film was screened once in Beijing Independent Film Festival. Other than that, very rarely have people had the opportunity to see films like this, unless they go to certain art galleries where they might have such films. So it is definitely hard to have distribution done in China. Right now dGenerate Films Inc. in the United States is helping me distribute it here.

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Interview with dGenerate’s Kevin Lee – appearing at U. Illinois and RIT this week

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

dGenerate's Kevin Lee (right) with director Liu Jiayin at the Beijing Sanlitun Apple Store

Christen Cornell of Artspace China interviews Kevin Lee, dGenerate’s VP of Programming and Education, on dGenerate’s work in building a distribution channel for Chinese films in North America.

Kevin will be appearing at two campus events this week. On Tuesday October 5 at 3:30, Kevin will present a lecture “Chinese cinema from the Fifth Generation to the d-Generation” at the Spurlock Museum in Urbana, Illinois. At 7pm at the Spurlock he will present Du Haibin‘s documentary 1428. The events are part of the AsiaLENS Documentary and Independent Film Series sponsored by the Asian Educational Media Service of the University of Illinois.

The following weekend Kevin will attend a symposium on Sixth Generation Chinese cinema at the Rochester Institute of Technology. On Saturday October 9 at 5pm, he will moderate a panel discussion on “What’s the future for Chinese Cinema?” Details can be found here.

Here is an excerpt from the interview with Artspace China (full interview can be found at: http://blogs.usyd.edu.au/artspacechina/2010/09/chinas_underground_film_scene.html)

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CinemaTalk: Conversation with Zhao Liang, director of Crime and Punisment and Petition

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Zhao Liang

Zhao Liang is one of China’s leading artists working in video, photography and documentary film. His work examines both rural and urban realities, fast-paced progress and nostalgia, the nature of politics, and the beauty of the natural world. He clearly connects with the underprivileged, whom he considers to be the engine of society, and homes in on the everyday aspects of life ignored by public institutions. He has directed two feature documentaries, Crime and Punishment and Petition, and his videos, photos and installations have been exhibited around the world.

To commemorate dGenerate Films’ release of Crime and Punishment, what follows is a transcript from Zhao Liang’s audience Q&A following a screening of the film at the China Institute on Feburary 5, 2010. Additionally, there are excerpts from a supplementary interview with Zhao conducted by dGenerate Films’ Kevin B. Lee.

Thanks to Isabella Tianzi Cai, Vincent Cheng and Yuqian Yan for their translation of the interviews.

1. From the audience Q&A following the China Institute screening of Crime and Punishment:

Question: Could you say something about how this film has been distributed in China and how it’s been received? Has it been screened in theaters? Has it been on the television as well as on the web?

Zhao: In China, this film was screened once in Beijing Independent Film Festival. Other than that, very rarely have people had the opportunity to see films like this, unless they go to certain art galleries where they might have such films. So it is definitely hard to have distribution done in China. Right now dGenerate Films Inc. in the United States is helping me distribute it here.

Question: Could you explain why you made the film?

Zhao: It actually happened by chance. I was actually doing another project in 2004 somewhere around the China-North Korea border. I was there actually through connection. I was trying to document the interactions between the Chinese police officers and also the people from across the border, the whole dynamic between the border police and how they deal with people from the other side of the border. And after I got there, I realized that they were not dealing with that issue any more. Instead, I got the chance to observe their daily lives and found them fascinating. So I decided to change that particular project and make something that could actually document their daily life.

Question: I found it really interesting that the soldiers actually allowed themselves to be filmed. I just wonder how that came about and what your sense was. Did they see the problem of what was happening and want it to be made available to the public?

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dGenerate Films on Q!

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Our very own Karin Chien was a guest this morning on Q, Canada’s preeminent arts, culture and entertainment radio show. The show is broadcast on CBC Radio and Sirius.

On the show, she discusses dGenerate Films and the state of Chinese independent film. If you missed the interview, you can check out the podcast at Q’s official website later today here (right click to download). Fun fact: Van Morrison was on the show too!

CinemaTalk: a Conversation with Michael Berry

Monday, August 24th, 2009

dGenerate Films presents CinemaTalk, an ongoing series of conversations with esteemed scholars of Chinese cinema studies. These conversations are presented on this site in audio podcast and/or text format. They are intended to help the Chinese cinema studies community keep abreast of the latest work being done in the field, as well as to learn what recent Chinese films are catching the attention of others. This series reflects our mission to bring valuable resources and foster community around the field of Chinese film studies.

Michael Berry (photo courtesy of University of California, Santa Barbara / Michael Berry)Michael Berry is Associate Professor of Contemporary Chinese Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of the BFI Film Classics monograph Jia Zhang-ke’s Hometown Trilogy, which offers extended analysis of the films Xiao Wu, Platform, and Unknown Pleasures; A History of Pain: Trauma in Modern Chinese Literature and Film, which explores literary and cinematic representations of atrocity in twentieth century China; and Speaking in Images: Interviews with Contemporary Chinese Filmmakers, a collection of dialogues with contemporary Chinese filmmakers including Hou Hsiao-hsien, Zhang Yimou, Stanley Kwan, and Jia Zhangke. Also an active literary translator, Berry has translated several important contemporary Chinese novels by Yu Hua, Ye Zhaoyan, Chang Ta-chun, and Wang Anyi. Current literary translation projects include the modern martial arts novel The Last Swallow of Autumn (Xia Yin) and Wu He’s (Dancing Crane) award-winning novel Remains of Life (Yu Sheng), a fascinating literary exploration of the 1930 Musha Incident, which was honored with a 2008 NEA Translation Grant.

In this conversation with dGenerate’s Kevin Lee, Michael shares his insights on Jia Zhangke, specifically his career development since the “Hometown Trilogy” and his recent controversy at the Melbourne International Film Festival. Be sure to read Jia’s statement of withdrawal from the Melbourne Film Festival as a point of reference.

Play the Podcast (Time: 17:39)

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Download it here (right-click to download, file size: 8.2 MB).

Get a list of Michael’s publications and a timecoded index of topics covered in the interview after the jump.

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