“Alternative Realities:” China’s Digital Documentary Filmmakers
1428 (dir. Du Haibin)
In the newest issue of RealTime Arts Magazine, there is a rousing article by Dan Edwards on the significance of digital independent filmmaking in China. Here’s the opening passage:
While China’s political system remains deeply authoritarian, the country’s overwhelming size and explosive growth have opened cavernous gaps in the government’s control of culture, through which a new generation of DV-wielding documentary filmmakers has climbed.
Edwards profiles films such as Hu Jie’s In Search of Lin Zhao’s Soul, Ou Ning’s Meishi Street, and Du Haibin’s 1428 (editor: The latter two are distributed by dGenerate Films). He also interviews three notable figures in the contemporary digital filmmaking scene: producer/journalist David Bandurski (Ghost Town), artist/filmmaker Ou Ning and filmmaker/journalist Hu Jie. Here are some choice quotes from each:
Bandurski: “I’ve never heard an independent filmmaker in China ask themselves, âˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨Ã€ÃºCan I do this?… Independent filmmaking is the freest avenue of expression that exists in China today.”
Ou: “Before, history only had one version – by the Chinese Communist Party… Now with digital technology history has different versions.”
Hu: “I knew very little about the history of the 1950s and 60s… While making Lin Zhao I had the sense that I was feeling around in the dark. Then I found the door of history, opened it and walked through. There I found a lot of ridiculous, cruel stories that really shocked me, and that was the motivation to go further.”
Read the complete article at RealTime Arts.
Find out more about Meishi Street, 1428, and Ghost Town.
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