Posts Tagged ‘karin chien’

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.


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…)

“Everybody Should Be Watching” – South China Morning Post Profile on dGenerate

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
By Isabella Tianzi Cai

Oxhide 2 (dir. Liu Jiayin)

“Film distribution is more often driven by profit than a love of movies, but that’s not true of Karin Chien’s dGenerate Films.” The South China Morning Post profiles dGenerate in a March 6, 2011 article, which can be viewed here as a .pdf.

Reporter Richard James Havis distinguishes dGenerate from most other film distributors. At dGenerate, as Havis explains, dGenerate only picks films that they believe “everyone will benefit from seeing.”

More after the break.


dGenerate President Karin Chien Profiled in The Beijinger

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011
By Isabella Tianzi Cai

dGenerate Films President and Founder Karin Chien

Dan Edwards of The Beijinger profiles dGenerate Films’ President Karin Chien. The purpose of the company, as Edwards quotes Karin, was “to bring Chinese perspectives on the People’s Republic to US audiences.” There is a need for this due to language and cultural barriers between China and America. Most available films and television programs about China in the US and elsewhere tend to represent “an outsider’s view of China tailored to a western audience.” They are very different from the perspectives offered by native Chinese filmmakers.

Established in 2008, dGenerate took on a niche market of Chinese film distribution even as an economic downturn that year caused ten major US distributors to shut down. In order to distribute independent Chinese films in the US, there are problems to be overcome by the company. Karin comments on the patterns exhibited by the current reception of Chinese independent films in the US. So far, “dGenerate has found that films based on strong characters appeal most to US audiences, while film festival pedigree makes the films much easier to sell.” Moreover, as Edwards quotes Karin,

Karin Chien to speak at Movie Art China in Beijing

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Karin Chien, President of dGenerate Films

Movie Art China at Sanlitun SOHO is the first event of its kind in China with thousands of original vintage China-related movie posters from around the world on show and available to buy. The event will look into the enduring appeal of China in the movies from both a Chinese and foreign perspective. As part of the event, Movie Art China will run a series of talks and screenings, presented by some of China’s leading film experts.

5:00pm, Sunday, October 24th:

The international market and audience for independent Chinese films in the US

Presented by Karin Chien, President & Founder, dGenerate Films (in English)

Full program details can be found at Time Out Beijing, sponsors of Movie Art China.

Lear nore about Movie Art China at their website.


Saturday, March 6th, 2010
dGenerate Films head Karin Chien takes home the Piaget Producers Prize at the Independent Spirit Awards

dGenerate's Karin Chien Takes Home the Piaget Producers Prize at the Independent Spirit Awards

dGenerate’s Karin Chien Nominated for Independent Spirit Award

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

This Friday we’ll be rooting for our own Karin Chien, as she contends for the coveted Piaget Producers Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Producer at the 25th Independent Spirit Awards (airing 3/5, 8pm PST, IFC).

Karin is up against two other accomplished producers, Larry Fessenden (I Sell the Dead) and Dia Sokol (Beeswax).

2009 was a banner year for Karin, as two of her productions, The Exploding Girl and Santa Mesa were feted on the festival circuit. She also travelled to Beirut and Haiti to produce two upcoming features, and curated the Chinatown Film Project, an inaugural film exhibition for the Museum of Chinese in America. All this on top of running dGenerate in its first full year of operation!

We have our fingers crossed for Karin, but needless to say, regardless of the outcome of the awards, her accomplishments in the past year speak for themselves.

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!

The Birth Story of dGenerate Films, Part 3

Monday, July 27th, 2009

dGenerate Films head honcho Karin Chien reminisces on the how this company came to be. Read parts 1 and 2 of this three part series.

My first trip to Beijing was a startling revelation. The city seemed to me a mix of Las Vegas and Eastern European Communist aesthetics. The smog, traffic, and sprawl of Beijing were mind-boggling (and I’m an LA native). The underground, independent film community, though, was small and, as I soon found out, very inviting. A few introductions from colleagues in the States got me meetings with key influencers, including professor/producer/actor Zhang Xianmin, critic/curator/filmmaker Zhang Yaxuan, and programmer/critic Shelly Kraicer. I knew I found the beating heart of the community when I walked into an Communist Bloc-era apartment, in the middle of a Friday night, saw leading filmmaker Wang Bing chain-smoking in the corner, and sat down for a serious discussion about the politics of world cinema.

That first trip solidified for me the importance of distributing these films to an American audience. Not only could we return revenue to filmmakers, so they could keep making films, but we had an opportunity to open a window onto contemporary China. There is no easy access in the States to contemporary media made about China, from within China, by Chinese filmmakers. The opportunity and need were, and still is, clearly present.

When I returned to the States, we quickly got to work on watching films and pulling the company together, which took a good year of hard work, including a second visit to China in Fall 2008 (see Digital Underground in the People’s Republic). But to this day, I remain eternally grateful to the filmmakers, professors, programmers and critics who welcomed me with open arms on that first trip to Beijing. Without their faith in our work, and the trust of the filmmakers, we wouldn’t be granted the access that truly sets dGenerate apart.