Posts Tagged ‘wu haohao’

China Independent Film Fund Announces Grant Recipients

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Announcement of the China Independent Film Funding Recipients at the Fanhall website

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

On November 30, the results of the inaugural grants for the China Independent Film Fund were announced on the Fanhall website. The grants went to two fiction films and two documentaries. Each fiction film was awarded 60,000 RMB (or 9,000 USD) and each documentary was awarded 20,000 RMB (or 3,000 USD). Additional help with translation, distribution, and film equipment is offered alongside with the monetary awards.

Below are the winners:

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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?

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Tony Rayns praises Chinese Indies at the Vancouver Film Festival

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

In Joanne Lee-Young’s article for the Vancouver Sun, longtime Asian film programmer and critic Tony Rayns spotlights some of his favorite films in this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival Dragons & Tigers Program of Asian cinema. Our own blog contributor Shelly Kraicer programmed the Chinese titles in the series, some of which are mentioned below:

Rayns: “In the last 10 years or so… nearly all of the creative energy in [mainland] Chinese cinema has come from the independent sector, from kids working outside the film industry.”

This means that when there is an event, like the devastating Sichuan earthquake last year, filmmakers like Du Haibin, “who has always been drawn to the marginal, the dispossessed and people who are socially at the bottom of the ladder,” said Rayns, rush off to film those events.

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