Event: Independent Chinese documentary screening @USyd

July 30th, 2010  |  Published in What's Happening  |  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

FRI 6th & SAT 7th AUG, 2010

Event: Independent Chinese documentary screening
University of Sydney (main campus), New Law building, lecture theatre 026
Entry: 1pm-6pm, free entry
Liz Connor 9351 3551; elizabeth.connor@sydney.edu.au
For more info:
Faculty of Arts Film Studies website

China has a flourishing independent documentary sector that is receiving increased attention and recognition internationally. These documentaries present a different perspective on China’s history to those of its mainstream films and are a valuable record of the country’s rapid social transition.

This event is held in conjunction with an exhibition of Posters of the Cultural Revolution: China and Revolution: History, Parody and Memory in Contemporary Art Sydney University Art Gallery, August-November 2010.

Each film will be followed by a panel discussion with distinguished experts in the field of Chinese contemporary art and culture.


Prof Stephanie Hemelryk Donald Dean, Media and Communication at RMIT (Melb), and Honorary Professor of Chinese Media at Sydney University

Prof Gongming Li Professor of Fine Art at Guangzhou Arts Museum and co-founder of the Guangzhou Documentary Association, China

Prof John Clark Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow Director, Australian Centre for Asian Art and Archaeology Sydney University

Dr Yiyan Wang Chair of Department, Chinese Studies, Sydney University.



1.00 – 2.00 Introduction to Independent Chinese Documentary

2.00 – 3.10 Viewing – Red Art (2007) – Ai Xiaoming, Hu Jie (70 min)

3.15 – 3.45 Panel discussion

3.45 – 4.15 Break

4.15 – 5.30 Viewing – Bumming in Beijing – Wu Wenguang (75 mins)

5.30 – 6.00 Panel discussion


1.00 – 1.15 Introduction to the days’ viewings

1.15 – 1.30 Viewing – Digital Underground in the Peoples Republic (15 mins)

1.30 – 2.15 Viewing – San Yuan Li (2003) – Ou Ning,Cao Fei (45 min)

2.15- 2.45 Panel discussion

2.45 – 3.00 Break

3.00 – 4.15 viewing – On a Tightrope (2007) – Petr Lom (74 min)

4.15 – 4.30 panel discussion

4.30 – 4.45 Break

4.45 – 6.00 viewing – Super,Girls (2007) – Jian Yi (73 min)

6.00 – 6.30 panel discussion and close

Red Art (2007) – Hong se mei shu – Ai Xiaoming, Hu Jie

Reflects the development of poster art during the Cultural Revolution, which started in 1966, and how posters were used as propaganda. This film is made up of interviews with former painters, Red Guards, contemporary researchers and collectors in China and abroad and demonstrates how folk art was transformed by the political campaigns.

[AI Xiaoming is a professor in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Zhongshan (Sun Yat-sen) University, and head of the Sex/Gender Education Forum established in 2003. She is a feminist academic, a human rights activist, and director of several documentary films. Prof Ai was awarded the Simone de Beauvoir prize for Women’s freedom 2010

Hu Jie graduated from the Art College for the People's Liberation Army, where he majored in oil painting. In 1995, he began to make documentaries and resigned from the Xinhua News Agency in 1999 to shoot a documentary about miners working at small coalmines in Qinghai’s Qilian Mountains.]

Bumming in Beijing (1990) – Liu lang Beijing – Wu Wenguang

This film is considered one of the starting points of China’s independent documentary movement. Bumming in Beijing is a collection of interviews with artists, spaced out over the two years preceding and following the events in Tiananmen. Wu Wenguang questions five of his friends about their careers, their ideals and their hopes. These interviews form a portrait of a generation of artists confronted with both existential and material difficulties.

[Wu Wenguang is known internationally as one of the founding figures of Chinese independent documentary that started in Beijing in the early 1990s. Wu spent the last years (1974–78) of the Cultural Revolution as a farmer. He studied literature at Yunnan University and joined Kunming Television and China Central TV in 1985 to work as a news journalist. He left the TV station in 1989 to become an independent documentary filmmaker and freelance writer. As a writer, video artist and educator, he is a tireless advocate of documentary and digital media.]

San Yuan Li (2003) – Ou Ning, Cao Fei

Armed with video cameras, twelve artists present a highly stylized portrait of SAN YUAN LI, a traditional village besieged by China’s urban sprawl. China’s rapid modernization literally traps the village of San Yuan Li within the surrounding skyscrapers of Guangzhou, a city of 12 million people. The villagers move to a different rhythm, thriving on subsistence farming and traditional crafts and resourcefully reinvent their traditional lifestyle.

[Ou Ning’s cultural practices encompass multiple disciplines. As an activist, he founded U-theque, an independent film and video organization; As an editor and graphic designer he is known for his seminal book New Sound of Beijing and as an artist he is known for his urban research projects. In 2008, he was appointed the chief curator of the 2009 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture and was a jury member of the 8th Benesse Prize at the 53rd Venice Biennale.

Cao Fei is a video and photography artist and in 2006, won the best young artist award given by the Chinese Contemporary Art Awards, which was judged by Swiss collector Uli Sigg and artist Ai Wei Wei. Much of her works is filled with playful images of young people dressed up as anime characters. She also has toyed with factory life in southern China and added a dose of fairy tale like images or hip hop music to urban settings, factories and stage.]

Super, Girls! (2007) – Jian Yi

Follows 10 female teenagers on their quest to become instant superstars on China’s biggest television show. The Chinese equivalent of American Idol, the “Super Girls Singing Contest” spawned an unprecedented pop culture phenomenon. The film provides a look inside what the Chinese media have dubbed “The Lost Generation” and at the changing attitudes on aesthetic taste, sexuality and value systems among the young generation of New China

[Jian Yi is an independent filmmaker, visual artist and writer based in Beijing. He has worked as a filmmaker and senior art consultant for a number of European Union projects in China. In 2005-06, he partnered with premier documentary filmmaker Wu Wenguang to launch the China Villager Documentary Project. He is a Starr Foundation Fellowship grantee (’07-‘08) under the New York-based Asian Cultural Council, a Fellow (‘08-’10) of the India-China Fellowship at the New School, NY, USA, and a Visiting Fellow (‘07) at Cambridge University, UK.]

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