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Update From Sundance/Slamdance

"Old Dog" (dir. Pema Tseden)

The Sundance and Slamdance Film Festivals are starting to wind down, but not before a score of China-related films and discussions have made their mark on Park City.

While no films by mainland filmmakers were programmed at the festivals this year, both narrative and documentary projects focused on China have revealed diverse impressions of Chinese life, art, and even filmmaking practice. In Sundance’s US Documentary competition is Alison Klayman‘s Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry, a through investigation into the artistry, activism, and philosophy of China’s most notorious artist and documentary filmmaker. Representing a different facet of Chinese documentary subjects is China Heavyweight, Yung Chang‘s story of aspiring boxers in Sichuan Province. A co-production between China and Canada, China Heavyweight entered Sundance in the World Documentary competition.

Pema Tseden‘s Old Dog made its Slamdance premiere last night as part of a special screening series. The film, shot in Tibet with a largely Tibetan cast and crew, presents an allegorical narrative of a Tibetan farmer reluctant to relinquish his beloved mastiff to a Chinese trader. Also screening at Slamdance today were a series of independent shorts from Iranseven films smuggled out of a country with a system of controlling and censoring filmmakers closely reminiscent of that currently governing the work of Chinese filmmakers.

More coverage on many of these films and events, plus interviews with filmmakers, are forthcoming!


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