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2016 SDAFF Spring Showcase

China Now

A Filmless Festival still 03 small

For over a decade, the Beijing Independent Film Festival has been one of the leading platforms for independent and underground film artists in China. During that time, it’s also been blocked, challenged, and even outright cancelled by the government. In 2015, a collective called Cinema on the Edge decided to bring selections from the festival to New York City, and in 2016, they are bringing those films out to the world. The SDAFF Spring Showcase is their San Diego stop.

“China Now: Independent Visions” celebrates the daring spirit and creative innovation of independent filmmakers and festival organizers in mainland China. These films do various things: intensely engaged meta-journalism, alternative history-making, genre-defying performance/documentary art hybridization, and visually playful experimentalism. Independent Chinese filmmakers are inventing new ways of mobilizing, adapting, and innovating film language under pressure from the incredibly rapid and fundamental changes Chinese society is undergoing.

Program notes by Shelly Kraicer, co-organizer of Cinema on the Edge


  1. Perfect Conjugal Bliss 2 small

    ANIMATED SHORTS PROGRAM – CHINA NOW

    China Now / 95 mins
    Through styles as diverse as ink wash painting, Tibetan thangka, and 3D computer graphics, these six short animations breathtakingly imagine fable-like pasts and dystopian, surreal futures.

    In This Program: AN APPLE TREE, DOUBLE ACT, FAMILY REUNION, THE HUNTER AND THE SKELETON, THE NEW BOOK OF MOUNTAINS AND SEAS PART 2, PERFECT CONJUGAL BLISS

    ANIMATED SHORTS PROGRAM

    UltraStar Mission Valley
    Sunday, May 1, 2016 3:00 pm


  2. A Filmless Festival still 02 small

    A FILMLESS FESTIVAL

    China Now / China / 2015 / Documentary / 80 mins
    This film documents the 11th Beijing Independent Film Festival in 2014, from the preparations before the opening ceremony to the process of its forced cancellation. The footage used for the film was captured by audience members, local artists, invited directors and special guests, festival volunteers and workers, as well as journalists and members of the media.
    A FILMLESS FESTIVAL

    UltraStar Mission Valley
    Sunday, May 1, 2016 1:00 pm


  3. THE RIVER OF LIFE

    Yang Pingdao / China Now / China / 2014 / Experimental, Family, Hybrid Documentary / 104 mins
    Using an innovative structure, based on the distinctive texture of family memory through space and time, Yang Pingdao invents something poised delicately between fiction and documentary to capture crystallized moments in his family history, to recreate in cinematic form its emotional weight and variety, woven around the life and death of his grandmother, and the birth of his child.
    THE RIVER OF LIFE

    UltraStar Mission Valley
    Sunday, May 1, 2016 7:20 pm


  4. Spark crop

    SPARK

    Hu Jie / China Now / China / 2014 / Documentary / 101 mins
    Spark was an underground magazine published in 1960 by four young intellectuals who wanted to expose the devastating famine caused by Mao’s Great Leap Forward, a horrendous period of national suffering that is still unmentioned in China’s history textbooks today. His alternative oral history approach knits together courageous interviews with the magazine’s surviving supporters, who were ready to sacrifice themselves to alert their countrymen to unprecedented disaster.
    SPARK

    UltraStar Mission Valley
    Sunday, May 1, 2016 5:10 pm