Brian Yang, who produced the 2012 documentary Linsanity (directed by Evan Jackson Leong), is in Beijing for the Beijing International Film Festival, which means now's a good time as any to remind everyone that you can watch his 88-minute doc for free on iQiyi (embedded above; just turn off your VPNs, China people).
The fourth Beijing International Film Festival opened on Wednesday, and it looks like it's already less boring than last year's. For that we have the Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone to thank, who on Thursday in a panel discussion spoke provocatively on Mao Zedong and urged the Chinese to confront their history. As The Hollywood Reporter reports:
There are some serious amateur filmmakers working for the United States's Federal Bureau of Investigation -- I can think of no other reason why Game of Pawns would exist: a nearly half-hour mini-movie that tells the story of Glenn Duffie Shriver, who was bribed by Chinese officials when he was studying in Shanghai to pass along sensitive information. Shriver made $70,000 before he was caught. He's now in the US serving out a four-year sentence in federal prison.
A recently produced short film from GVAcreative has gone viral, built on the idea that Hong Kong, since being "passed over" to China in 1997, is becoming less like what it was and that its past will eventually be gone. "The city is dying, just like a man who has lost a lot of blood,” says one of the characters in voice-over.
It's not often that a press release makes us perk up, but earlier today TimeOut publicized its list of 100 best films made in mainland China, and it's really impressive. As editor James Wilkinson writes:
Say what you want about his art and activism, but Ai Weiwei isn't boring, and certainly not afraid of trying new things. In his latest venture, he makes his acting debut as the star of a sci-fi short film called The Sand Storm, shot this past winter in Beijing during particularly smoggy days. Yes, the story is dystopic.
Posted just last week to Vimeo (password duihua), The Dialogue is a film by Wang Wo that looks at the Chinese government’s increasingly restrictive policies toward non-governmental contact between minority groups (specifically Tibetan and Uyghur) and Han Chinese. The film centers on an attempt by Chinese intellectuals and human rights lawyers to make contact with the Dalai Lama.
Beijingers, if you're looking for something to do over Spring Festival that doesn't involve elbowing fathers and sons inside crowded parks, check out the Crossroads, a non-profit / NGO community center in Gulou, which is screening two independent documentaries every day from now until February 6.
PBS has done all of us a favor by offering free streaming of the award-winning documentary Last Train Home on its website until February 11. You have to be located in the US, so fire up those VPNs and get watching.
It’s not every day that a Chinese animated film manages to secure more than 1 million yuan in funding. It’s even rarer that that money comes from the crowd.
But 3,596 backers saw promise in Big Fish & Chinese Flowering Crabapple, a new film by Liang Xuan. Enough promise that they donated 1.58 million yuan over 45 days on Demohour.
It now holds the title of China’s most successful crowd-funded project to date.
The bar Alfa was hopping last Friday as actors / patrons gathered for a casting call / fundraiser for indie director Moxie Peng’s newest project, My 17 Gay Friends.
Eighty percent of the night’s collected cover went to support the production.
Attendees had the choice of being a judge or trying out for a role in the film. Judges were given masks to protect their identities and limited to choosing only two candidates.
Our friends at Beijing Today will be swinging by every now and then to introduce art and culture around the city. This week, please meet independent filmmaker Lei Yong, whose debut The Young Play Games, The Old Play Tai Chi tells the life of China's "parasite singles," young people who have enjoyed education and opportunity but remain unemployed and hapless.
We're going to assume this was an accident, because in which universe would a fan-made poster depicting hunky Thor with his arms wrapped around an aroused Loki find itself front and center at a mainstream theater? (If you answered "Asgard" in your head... congratulations!) Atlantic Wire has this wonderful tale:
It was more than a year ago (has it been so long?) that we posted about a Kickstarter called "Awesome Asian Bad Guys," in which two Los Angeles-based filmmakers sought to make an action-comedy Web series featuring a bunch of Asian bad guys you might have forgotten.
After a handful of English-language publications declared that authorities had "shut down" the Beijing Independent Film Festival (BIFF), many people likely dusted their hands of the matter, thinking censorship had once again triumphed over artistic expression. But as James Hsu discovered more than a week after the festival’s supposed cancellation, BIFF held a successful, albeit quiet, closing ceremony following a full program of screenings and panels.
So what happened? A few days after the closing, I met with artistic director Dong Bingfeng to ask him about that and other issues on censorship, film in China, and independent festivals in the future.
In an interesting turn of events, the Beijing Independent Film Festival concluded on Saturday without further interference from local authorities. Despite opening-day warnings that suggested cancellation was a distinct possibility, the festival continued to screen films every day at the Li Xianting Film Fund's office courtyard in Songzhuang Art District.
There are plenty of reasons to not like Pacific Rim, the latest summer action movie to come off Hollywood's assembly line. That the film reflects "the United States' Asia-Pacific strategy" should not be one of those reasons.
China's PLA Daily, everyone: