Posts Tagged ‘peng tao’

Peng Tao Awarded Script Development Grant

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Peng Tao

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

Peng Tao was one of the four recipients of this year’s inaugural MPA APSA Script Development Grants. He has been awarded $US25,000 to develop his script Straw Man.

The MPA APSA Script Development Grants come under the MPA APSA Film Fund, which is a new initiative jointly offered by the Motion Pictures Association (MPA) and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) to APSA Academy members exclusively. In 2007, Peng Tao’s Little Moth was nominated for APSA’s Best Achievement in Directing. Like the other nominees, Peng was automatically included in the APSA Academy and was eligible to apply for the fund.

A former APSA Jury member but also acting on the assessment panel for the script submissions this year, Chinese Australian director Pauline Chan comments on Peng Tao’s work:


Shelly on Film: The Use and Abuse of Chinese Cinema, Part Two

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

By Shelly Kraicer

This is the conclusion of Shelly Kraicer’s essay “The Use and Abuse of Chinese Cinema (in the West).” Click here for the introduction and first half of the essay.


Oxhide 2 (dir. Liu Jiayin)

4. Exemplary Asian independent art cinema. This misreading has something in common with Number 1 (“Exotic, colorful diversion”) , but in a more rarified, sophisticated form. It also contradicts (but exists in a weird sort of symbiosis with) Number 5 below. There is supposed to be something essentially “Asian” (meaning usually East Asian) about the predominant mode of contemporary art cinema now celebrated in festivals worldwide. Films that convey China’s backwardness (see Number 6 below) often employ a Andre Bazin-influenced mise en scène that is post-realist in its effect. Long takes, a demandingly slow pace, opaque storytelling, a distant motionless camera, inexpressive, non-professional actors, lots and lots of visual and narrative blankness, emptiness, stillness. Examples abound, the best recent exponents being Yang Heng (Betelnut, Sun Spots), Yang Rui (Crossing the Mountain), and in her own inimitable way, Liu Jiayin (Oxhide and Oxhide 2).

This analysis reduces an often surprising diversity of film styles into something that is assumed to spring, essentially and almost automatically, from a specific historical and cultural background, with local visual and pictorial traditions transmuted directly into their filmic correlatives. This in a sense over-simplifies and over-particularizes Chinese filmmakers who are utterly fluent (more than most of us) in the world-cinema image market (you can easily find films from everywhere, from every era, in China’s wonderfully eclectic bootleg DVD shops). By insisting on the “Chinese-ness” of these films, a special understanding, a privileged access to the films’ “essences,” may reserved for Sinological experts.

5. International art cinema master(s’) works. On the other hand, it’s just as easy to abuse Chinese cinema as some sort of proof that master directors work in a universal style recognizalbe to experts, critics, professionals, and well-trained festival audiences. In absolute contradistinction to Number 4 above, this attitude says “you don’t need to know anything about China and its specific cultural history to appreciate these films. They are great cinema, full stop”. This can be a branding exercise, like Number 2 (“Commercial entertainment”), but one for a more discriminating audience who needs to be reassured that she or he will be able to enjoy the latest Chinese masterpiece without unduly stressing over its foreignness. This is global art, i.e. It belongs to “Us,” not to its incidentally “Other” creators. Hegemony reasserts itself as art / film criticism, denaturing a film for our appropriation and viewing pleasure (with emphasis on the pleasure). This tendency can be seen in the flattering (for a forty-year-old director) inclusion of the latest Jia Zhangke film I Wish I Knew in the “Masters” section of the Toronto International Film Festival programme.


CinemaTalk: Peng Tao at the Beijing Apple Store

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

This is the third 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.

Peng Tao at the Sanlitun Apple Store, Beijing

Peng Tao is the award-winning director of Little Moth (2007) and a graduate of the Art Department of Beijing Film Academy, where he received the Outstanding Short Film Award and first prize at the 1st JINZI Awards. Peng Tao’s second feature, Floating in Memory (2009), is supported by the prestigious Sundance Institute Feature Film Program and the Hubert Bals Fund, and screened in the VPRO Tiger Awards Competition at the 2009 International Film Festival Rotterdam.

The video of Peng’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 Jane Zheng. Videography by Michael Cheng. English transcription and subtitles by Yuqian Yan and 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.



Asia Society Recap: Little Moth

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Little Moth (dir. Peng Tao)

Continuing our recap of the Asia Society series “China’s Past, Present and Future on Film,” here is an excerpt from a full-length review by Joe Bendel of Peng Tao’s heartbreaking feature Little Moth:

In China’s less prosperous provinces, people often become commodities. It is not just white slavery either. Evidently, there is also a market for physically pitiable children for professional panhandling rings. Such a fate befalls one eleven year old girl in Peng Tao’sLittle Moth

Filmed in a “digital generation” Vérité style, Moth is disturbingly realistic. Its injustices will likely outrage many viewers. Some might also get upset with Peng, who ends at a rather unsatisfying juncture. Presumably that is the point though. This is socially minded cinema at its most manipulative and effective…

While Moth shares the extremely naturalistic approach of many independent Chinese filmmakers, it has a very clear narrative thread. There is real danger and considerable double-dealing, though Peng chooses to de-emphasize the potential thriller aspects of her story (adapted from a novel by Bai Tianguang). It is certainly an example of a director masterfully controlling the audience’s emotional responses. Angry and heartrending, Moth packs a walloping emotional punch…

Read the full review.

Find out more about Little Moth.

Watch clips from Little Moth below:

“Nearly Perfect:” Little Moth at Asia Society This Friday

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Peng Tao’s devastating debut Little Moth will screen this Friday at Asia Society as part of the series “China’s Past , Present and Future on Film.” dGenerate Films’ Kevin B. Lee will introduce the screening.

You can use discount code asia725 to buy tickets at the $7 member rate. Tickets can be purchased at the Asia Society website or at the Asia Society box office.

Little Moth (Xue Chan)
PENG Tao. China, 2007. Narrative, 99 minutes. Digibeta.
Hubei dialect w/ English subtitles.

Friday, April 2, 6:45 pm
Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021

View clips from the film below. Further details about the film can be found here, and after the break.


“MEET THE FILMMAKERS” at the Apple Store Beijing

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

dGenerate Films is teaming up with the Apple Store in Beijing to present a new monthly series to showcase China’s newest filmmakers powered by digital technology. Digital tools, from digital video cameras to editing software, have placed filmmaking in the hands of the people. Listen and watch how award-winning directors use digital technology to create their latest movies, attracting worldwide attention and acclaim.

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

Events are listed below in English; scroll further to read them in Chinese.



Friday, January 8th, 2010

Peng Tao

Peng Tao

PENG TAO was born in Beijing in 1974. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Art Department of Beijing Film Academy in 2004.

He received the Outstanding Short Film Award at the Beijing Student Film Festival in winter 2002; his short film Story was shown at the 14th Festival Internacional De Arte Eletronica. His graduate project, a 35mm short film called Goodbye Childhood, won first prize at the 1st JINZI Awards established by Art Department of Beijing Film Academy, and it was screened at the Yokohama International Film Festival in 2004. He wrote and directed his first feature Little Moth (Xue Chan), completed in March 2007. In March 2008, he finished a short film Wait (produced by Jia Zhangke) as part of a longer collaborative feature with four other young directors. His second feature Floating In Memory (2009), developed with the assistance of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program and produced with support from the Hubert Bals Fund, was screened in the VPRO Tiger Awards Competition at the 2009 International Film Festival Rotterdam.


Floating in Memory
2009, 107 min, narrative

• 2009 Rotterdam International Film Festival

2008, short film

Little Moth
2007, 99min, narrative

• Hong Kong International Film Festival
• Locarno International Film Festival
• Bucharest International Film Festival
• Cairo International Film Festival
• Brisbane International Film Festival

Goodbye Childhood
2004, 35 min, narrative

• Yokohama International Film Festival

2002, short film

• Festival Internacional De Arte Eletronica

Shelly on Film: Pushing Beyond Indie Conventions

Monday, October 12th, 2009
by Shelly Kraicer
Betelnut  (dir. Yang Heng)

Betelnut (dir. Yang Heng)

Perhaps I’ve been spending just a bit too much time watching movies in China? I have this recurring daydream, most often when I’m watching a new Chinese film that some enterprising young director has sent me. I always watch every independent film that I receive. You never know what gems might appear unsolicited in the mail. And, even if the film isn’t so terrific, it will still be a useful index of all sorts of interesting trends: it might reveal what young filmmakers in China are filming, how they are looking at the world around them, or, at least, what they think people like me want to see.

The daydream, or perhaps it’s a fantasy, is this. There exists, down some dusty grey hutong alleyway of Beijing, a Chinese Indie Director’s Discount Emporium. You want to make a film? Step right in and assemble your movie at bargain prices. The shelving on the left is stocked with cast members: long-haired village boys, out of school, drifting aimlessly. At the back is a set of grainy, dusty, brown-grey village-scapes, ready to be populated by said drifters. To the right, useful equipment. Some tripods, but with a restriction: they must be set up at least 50 metres from the subjects being filmed. Right beside is a very long long shelf, holding 3 minute, 10 minute, even 20 minute-long takes, offered for a steal at family-sized package prices. Alternatively, you could go for deep discount on little DV cams, with the proviso that, held close to the subjects, they be shaken as vigorously as possible. The dialogue shelves in the centre are threadbare: screenplays for rent are all dialogue-light. And, off in a corner, is a shelf labelled “Prostitutes”. It’s over-loaded, with a three-for-the-price-of-one sale.

This may seem a bit mean. But the people I’m making fun of here, in fact, are international film programmers like me (I select Chinese language films for the Vancouver International Film Festival), not the filmmakers themselves. It seems that many of us (my colleagues from other film festivals, and wouldn’t exclude myself) sometimes seem to select films armed with a checklist of “East Asian art film attributes”, the things that populate the shelves of our hutong indie shop. Who can blame a young director from China, who, with little or no chance of gaining any return on his or her investment within his own country, tries to design a film to suit those foreigners who pay the bills, fund post production, and just might offer an overseas distribution deal?