Oliver Stone Rails Against Chinese Film Industry “Platitudes,” Coddling Of Mao

2014 Beijing International Film Festival - Director Oliver Stone Interview
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:

The FBI Made A 30-Minute Beware-Of-China Film Called “Game Of Pawns”

Game of Pawns
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.

Ai Weiwei Now An Actor, Stars In Short Film “The Sand Storm”

The Sandstorm 1
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.

Watch: “The Dialogue,” A Documentary Film About Han-Tibetan-Uyghur Relations

The Dialogue
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.

The Animated Feature Everyone Wants To See

Big Fish & Chinese Flowering Crabapple featured image
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.

A Different Type Of Crowdfunding For Filmmaker Moxie Peng’s “My 17 Gay Friends”

My 17 Gay Friends featured image
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.

Watch: Independent Director’s Debut Film About China’s “Parasite Singles”

Critical film tackles the topic of China’s parasite singles
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.

Gay Thor And Loki Poster Prominently Displayed In Shanghai Theater

Fan made gay Thor
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:

So Many Asian Baddies All In One Place

Awesome Asian Bad Guys
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.

“Film Is The Most Dangerous By Far”: An Interview With “Cancelled” Beijing Independent Film Festival Artistic Director Dong Bingfeng

Dong Bingfeng
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.

The Show Goes On: Beijing Independent Film Festival Finishes On A Fine Note

BIFF 1
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.

Hollywood Will Always Be The Same, Just Like Its Asian Characters: Pacific Rim, Reviewed

Pacific Rim
In spite of Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro's diplomatic observations about the sad racial and geopolitical architecture of Hollywood's summer blockbusters, his Pacific Rim does not want for just such stereotypes. There is the fact that an entire hour of film passes during which only a few lines are spoken by a woman -- this in a film whose marketing materials sell it with a female co-star. And there's the stereotype-affirming white guy-submissive Asian female duo (alternative film title: South Pacific Rim). It seems, in del Toro's "very equal structure" of world-saving, a vagina is as much a threat to the world as the "breach" on the sea floor from which monsters crawl forth. Then there is the China problem.