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Broadening the Chinese Film Scene: QCC and ISSAS

Er Dong

Yang Jin's Er Dong, featured in both QCC and ISSAS programs

By Ariella Tai

Earlier this year, two new screening groups devoted to independent Chinese cinema were introduced into the Chinese film scene. The Qifang Cinephile Collective (QCC) and Indie Screening Alliance of Art Spaces (ISSAS) are both organized as traveling networks of screenings. The QCC holds several screenings each month in cafes, bars and libraries located in 11 different cities. Among the most recent round of screenings, themed “Youth”, was Yang Jin’s Er Dong, available in the dGenerate catalog. The ISSAS, initiated by curators Zhang Xiamin and Zuo Ging, will offer a 15-film program in the spring and fall. ISSAS’ April 2010 launch featured six Chinese independent films made within the past two years.

Both the QCC and the ISSAS seek to create new distribution channels within China, so that films providing vital perspectives in contemporary Chinese society and produced through independent means can be circulated within their country of origin. ISSAS, in particular, was specifically organized to redress these films’ lack of availability to the public and to “…promote the distribution of independent films, integrate current resources and effectively organize film events to further showcase the value of these works. [They] also hope to undertake some international film exchange events to change the current monologue of film culture in China.”

ISSAS’ first season included 25 films, called “To Live in China,” and programs were broken up into different stages of life, including childhood, elementary school, junior highschool, university, youth, middle-age and elderly. In his introduction to the program, Zhang Xiamin writes:

Curator Zhang Xiamin

“In my narration, therefore, I must include the description about the nation, the political sovereign entity and personal life. All are stretched like a long roll and everyone is like a chapter in a story. Personal history is history, contemporary history is also history. It can be called local anthropology. I try to divide human history into several ordinary phases. I’ll organize film screenings based on the theme of each era, in an attempt to reflect the social structure, personal experience, public discourse of such era through these works.”

Last season’s screenings took place with across five art spaces: Times Museum, Iberia Centre for Contemporary Art, OCT Contemporary Art Centre, Contemporary Art Research Centre of Southwest Jiaotong University and A Thousand Plateaus Art Space (Chengdu).

Stay tuned for information on this fall’s upcoming lineup!


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