Ghost Town Tours the U.S. - Catch It If You Can

From dGenerate - I've worked my ass off to get this tour together, so if you happen to be at one of these cities and the following critic raves pique your interest, please check it out! A.O. Scott writes in the New York Times:

Zhao has an exquisite ability to balance words with images... The life stories and household interactions that fill out the film’s three chapters take place against a natural background that is shot beautifully... A miniature epic of the everyday.

Time Out New York's David Fear gives the film four stars:

Zhao Dayong’s extraordinary documentary on life in the rural village of Zhiziluo, nestled at the foot of the mountains in China’s southwestern Yunnan province. Never mind the nation’s great economic leap forward; the longer you watch Zhao’s chronicle of the financially destitute and the bureaucratically forgotten, the more you feel that you’re witnessing a country fraying at its edges.

Nick Pinkterton in the Village Voice:

I do not expect to soon find scenes to match Ghost Town's mountaintop funeral, the running along after a rowdy exorcism, or the scanning of faces at the town Christmas chorale. His back to prosperity, Dayong finds hallowed ground.

Following its weeklong run at MoMA, Zhao Dayong's acclaimed documentary Ghost Town is screening over the next several weeks at select US engagements. Contact us to book a screening of this film at your festival, museum, or school.

SATURDAY, APRIL 3rd and SUNDAY APRIL 4th Union Theatre, University of Wisconsin 800 Langdon Street Milwaukee, WI 53706

THURSDAY, APRIL 8th Southwest Film Center 3601 University Boulevard, SE Albuquerque, NM 87106

SUNDAY, APRIL 9th Facets Cinematheque 1517 Fullerton Avenue Chicago, IL 60614

SATURDAY, APRIL 17th University of Colorado, Humanities 150 Boulder, CO 80309-0234

TUESDAY, APRIL 27th Melnitz Movies James Bridges Theater, Melnitz 1409 Los Angeles, CA 90095

from dGenerate: Chinese indie cinema @ NYFF & Jia Zhangke controversy

a couple informative pieces posted at one of my gigs: Ghost_Town

Lu Chen has a great essay on Ghost Town, the only Chinese film selected for the main lineup of this year's New York Festival. She gets into the NYFF's history with Chinese films and the significance of Ghost Town's selection to the prestigious fest. Full disclosure: dGenerate Films will be working with Zhao Dayong and the Ghost Town team on their US distribution and festival run.  If you’re interested in screening Ghost Town at your festival or venue, please contact us.

In addition to Ghost Town, it's worth pointing out that the NYFF will also screen 20 classic Chinese movies dating from 1949-1965, a crucial period of Chinese cinema that covers the first 17 years of the People's Republic of China.  I'm already busy at work on a video piece tied into this screening series (which could mean fewer updates on this blog for the next couple weeks, but let's hope not).

I've also posted another CinemaTalk podcast, this time with Michael Berry, Associate Professor of Contemporary Chinese Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  He is the author of the BFI Film Classics monograph Jia Zhang-ke’s Hometown Trilogy, which offers extended analysis of the films Xiao Wu, Platform, and Unknown Pleasures.

Professor Berry shares his insights on Jia Zhangke, specifically his career development since the “Hometown Trilogy” and his recent controversy at the Melbourne International Film Festival.   Be sure to read Jia’s statement of withdrawal from the Melbourne Film Festival as a point of reference.

Listen to the podcast

Video: Q&A with director Ying Liang at The China Institute

This is cross-posted to the dGenerate Films website. Last Saturday we had the pleasure of presenting Ying Liang and his film The Other Half at The China Institute. Here's the entire Q&A session with Ying Liang that followed the screening, in three parts. Special thanks to Vincent Cheng for his excellent live translation, and Jeff Yang and Jeff Hao for taping the session.

Part I:

0:00 - "What inspired you to make The Other Half?"

2:05 - "What's your take on independent filmmaking in China?"

4:12 - "Who are your actors? Do they appear routinely in all your films?"

6:30 - "Have your films caused problems between you and the government?"

Part II:

0:00 - Continuing on the topic of the commercial and legal considerations of distributing independent cinema in China

7:00 - "To what degree do you consider your films to be documentary and not just fiction?"

Part III:

0:00 - Continuing on the topic of the film's use of fact and fiction

3:55 - "Why can't an army officer get a divorce?"

5:00 - "Are your films made with a non-Chinese audience in mind?"

"These Movies Kick Ass": My Interview with Richard Pena on Chinese Indie Cinema

No, Richard Pena did not say that Chinese Indie Films "kick ass" - I said that to him, or at least I wished I had. Anyway, now that I have your attention, I want to let you know about a great new resource for Sino-cinephiles. The new website of my distribution company dGenerate Films has a blog that's been seeing steady stream of content coming through, sort of an ongoing depository of all things going on in the Chinese indie cinema scene (that we know of, at least).  Some highlights so far: - The insider's scoop. Chinese cinema festival programmer Shelly Kraicer (Udine and Vancouver Film Festivals, among others) will be a regular contributor to our site with informed articles giving his take on what's happening in the Chinese indie scene. Here's his first entry, "An Independent Film Scene, Thriving Miles from Main Street", reporting on the 3rd Annual Beijing Independent Film Festival. 

- On the Road with Yours Truly. Lately I've been attending academic events related to Chinese cinema to get the word out about dGenerate and meet others in the academic community who are actively interest in Chinese cinema. Recently I've been to the Association of Asian Studies Annual Meeting in Chicago and a special series of Chinese independent documentaries hosted at Harvard University. Read up on both and you'll get a sense of how I've been spending my weekends lately.

- Upcoming screenings!  We're happy to be presenting Chinese indie director Ying Liang on a bicoastal tour of NYC and SF this coming weekend.  Read more about his screenings at Film Society of Lincoln Center, The China Institute in New York (yours truly in attendance), the San Francisco International Film Festival and UC Berkeley.

Then read about another dGenerate screening, this one happening next Wednesday at BAM. Jian Yi's Super,  Girls! will be screening at 7:30 with yours truly in attendance.

- Aforementioned "Kick Ass" Interview with Richard Pena.  The only thing scarier about the breadth of Richard Pena's knowledge of Chinese cinema is the likelihood that his knowledge of other national cinemas around the world is equally extensive. 

That's it for now, but more will definitely be on the way.  I'll try to get in the habit of cross-posting... unless you want to get in the habit of visiting or RSSing!