A Tour of China’s Only Independent Film School
Li Xianting Film School's Ying Liang (left) and Zhu Rikun (right) with owner and daughter of their favorite restaurant in Songzhuang (photo by Gertjan Zuilhof)
Last month we reported that the International Film Festival Rotterdam launched “Raiding Africa,” an exciting program commissioning several African filmmakers to make new films in China. The IFFR enlisted the Li Xianting Film School to help initiate the African directors into the Chinese independent film scene. Located in Songzhuang on the outskirts of Beijing, Li Xianting Film School is the first film school for independent filmmakers in China,.
IFFR’s Gertjan Zuilhof, the organizer of the program, is providing ongoing updates on the project at his IFFR blog. His latest entry introduces the Li Xianting Film School, where important figures like Zhu Rikun and Ying Liang (whose films dGenerate distributes) are fostering the independent film movement in China through their screenings, events and educational programs.
We’ve visited Songzhuang on multiple occasions, and we’ve always meant to profile the Li Xianting Film School in depth (the closest we’ve come is Shelly Kraicer’s indispensible guide to the Chinese indie film scene). So it’s great that Zuilhof is bringing exposure to the Film School through both the Raiding Africa program and his blog. And it’s amusing to read Zuilhof’s observations on Songzhuang, a former farming town that has become a haven for Beijing artists, and has traded its acres of fields for newly-built galleries. Zuilhof quips: “They make modern art museums here like they are pizza huts.”