Posts Tagged ‘sundance’

Chinese Train Doc Leaves Tracks at Sundance, Stirs Criticism at Home

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Fan Lixin, director of Last Train Home (Photo by Nan Chalat Noaker/Park Record)

One of the most acclaimed films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival is Last Train Home by Lixin Fan. Already the Best Feature Film winner at last November’s International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, Last Train Home chronicles a migrant-worker couple in Guangzhou trying to get on a train back to Sichuan to see their kids during the Chinese New Year, the busiest and most impossible travel period in China. Ella Taylor of NPR calls it her “favorite film of the festival, bar none… Watching this devastating portrait of a family trying to glue itself back together, you wonder how China, on its way to becoming the world’s richest nation, will avoid civil war if it doesn’t also attend to the needs of the millions of poverty-stricken families like this one.”

More info (including backlash from China) and video trailer after the break.

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The dGenerate Films Birth Story

Monday, June 8th, 2009

We’re thrilled at dGenerate Films to be launching our first slate of films. In honor of the occasion, I was recently thinking about the journey we undertook to get here.

The idea for the company was inspired by one of our films, San Yuan Li, by Ou Ning and Cao Fei. By a chance encounter, I indirectly helped Andrew Gluckman, now a good friend, book a screening of San Yuan Li at New York University in December 2007. At the time, I had no inkling of what was to happen. Nor did I know anything about the film. But when I saw San Yuan Li, I was blown away by the artistry and production methodology of the film. After the screening, Ou Ning told me many films in China were being made underground, meaning without censorship and without any chance at domestic distribution.

I knew there was an audience here for these films – given the immense interest in China, and a general lack of access to media made from within China, it seemed like an obvious one-two connection. Problem was, I was and still am an independent film producer, a consuming profession. I self-distributed films I produced, but the thought of tunneling a new route to bring underground Chinese films to the U.S. was daunting.

So I mulled over the idea, and a month later, it came out in an idle chat between myself and Brian Newman, Tribeca Film Institute’s Executive Director, as we were riding the free Sundance Film Festival shuttle bus. Brian said he was developing a new platform called Reframe designed specifically to distribute independent films to the academic market. He promised to accept all the films I brought back China. Reframe would take care of the physical manufacturing and order fulfillment. Brian’s offer suddenly made the idea much less daunting. I got back on the phone with Ou Ning, who immediately sent me forty films to watch.

The content was there, the distribution network was coming, all that was needed now was the missing link between the two.

More information on San Yuan Li can be found here.

Come back soon for Part 2 of “The Birth of dGenerate Films” by dGenerate President Karin Chien