Posts Tagged ‘tribeca’

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