Programme - China Culture Connect

Chinese Visual Festival -conversations between arts and moving images

2011 Theme- Lost in Transformation

May 2011, London, UK

Chinese Visual Festival proposes to present UK audiences Contemporary Chinese reality from a refreshing new perspective or Multi-perspective via conversations between arts and moving images. Addressing various issues in today’s China, it combines miscellaneous art forms and different genres of film which respond to present Chinese lives and landscapes with criticism, self-ethnography, sarcasm, humour and passion. Exotic or bizarre to the UK audiences, stories in China actually relate to the very current concerns in British society.

Organisers: China Cultural Connect

Partners:  Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival China    Guangzhou Documentary Association

Curators:   Xuhua(Sylvia) Zhan      Jingjing(Christina) Xie

Contact: 079 2199 5975, 079 4398 8167


Day 1: Theme: For the Love of Shakespeare

Opening of the ‘China As You’ve Never Seen’ Festival  London  Time: 18:30-20:30PM   May 2011 (Date TBC)

Activities: UK Premier of ‘For the Love of Shakespeare’, After Screening discussion,

Chinese student performance of Shakespearean Play or Sonnets

      For the Love of Shakespeare  Director: Zhu Chunguang, 52minutes

Synopsis: In China, a child’s education used to begin by reciting classic pieces of Confucius. Nowadays, more and more Chinese children start their education by learning English. Some used the ancient study method - reciting the poems of Shakespeare for English learning.

Guo Xin, six-year-old girl, her parents are trying to train her to become an international talent with all their hearts. In order to help Guo Xin improving her English and to win the first place at the “Young Shakespeare” contest one year after, they send Guo Xin to a village school which is located at the countryside of Chengde, Hebei.  Mr. Tong, owner of the village school. Nearly 20 children, including Guo xin and other 5 children who formed a Shakespeare recite class, are using this study method which was used to recite Confucius pieces to learn Shakespeare’s works. What ways will Mr. Tong, who knows not a word of English, use to teach Guo Xin? What experiences will these children have? Will Guoxin win at the “Young Shakespeare” contest? What impact will this study experience have on her future?

Prizes:  2009 Chinese Director Prize, GZDOC 2009; 2008 Winner, Asian Pitch, Singapore Media Corp

Day 2: Opening of ‘China As You’ve Never Seen’- contemporary photographs & video art Exhibition

DV Art: Cao Fei (2010 Hugo Boss Prize nominator, Guggenheim Museum)

Photograph: Cui Xiuwen, Yang Yankang, Yu Haibo, Adrian Fisk, Li Wei, Lin Zhipeng (223), Wang Bang

Venue: 17 Dorset Square, Marylebone, London

Private View:  18:30-21:30PM   May 2011  Exhibition:   May- June 2011

Cao Fei -  Hip Pop Guangzhou, Hip Pop New York, Rabid Dog


Cui Xiuwen - Existential emptiness

Lin Zhipeng (223) – My Private Broadway

Adrian Fisk –iSpeak China

Yu Haibo - Dafen Painting Village

Yang Yankang - Tibetan Buddhism Series, Country Catholics

Li Wei – Live in the High Place , A Pause of Humanity, Ahead

Day 3: Theme: China in Global Economic Recession

Propose Venue: Canada Place outdoor venue, Canary Wharf (TBC)   Time: TBC       May 2011 (Date TBC)

Activities: Screening Chinese Eclipse short films 14:00- 15: 20PM or 18.30- 20.00PM

Chinese Eclipse short films - China Episodes in World Economic Recession

1. Cotton      

Director: Zhou Hao, 8 minutes 30 seconds

Synopsis: How a cotton seed in China finally become a pair of jeans in a U.S. retail store? How many interesting stories are there during this process? The documentary shall follow those people, who have been closely tied to the cotton spinning industrial chain, which stretches 5,000 km long; the documentary shall take the cotton as clue to tell their stories and describe the whole relay process for the Chinese people to fulfill the “Made in China”.

 2. Tide

 Director: Yao Songping, 10 minutes

Synopsis: In January 2008, close to the China’s traditional Spring Festival. Billions of Chinese people went home for reunite and festival; they met the coldest winter in 100 years. Snow and ice covered the southern China, the express way and aviation was totally terminated, a large mount of passengers stranded in the railway, there were more than 800 thousand passengers stranded in Guangzhou station. The film recorded the whole process of the incident in the Station of the Guangzhou and Wuhan, used individual movie language to show the rich waiting emotion and the crowd like the flooding tide, the film brought us strong shake and thinking through the group emotion in the Disastrous Incidents.

 3. My 4-Fen Land

 Director: Yan Fei, 5 minutes

Synopsis: Economic crisis is just sequela of money & figure games. For those who own a small piece of land and self feeding peasants, the lives have been plain as usual. The so-called crisis is a remote topic.

4. Feed on Iron 

Director: Jin Huaqing, 8 minutes

Synopsis: There is a small town with a twenty-year history of dismantling and decomposing metal scraps. More than 50,000 workers from other places are the main force behind the industry. They have no knowledge, but nevertheless are performing the miracle of turning stones into gold in their own original way. They work all out to purchase their dreams, even at the cost of their health,life and future. They made a lot of money, much more than they could have during an entire lifetime in their hometown, but it has taken a heavy toll on them.

5. The 78th Hole 

Director: Huang Cong, Sun Jia, 10 minutes 

Synopsis: At the beginning of 2009, the economic crisis started to reign over south China. In a tungsten mine in Jiangxi Province, the production was stopped. Only a dozen stayed while thousands of others fled. One of the owners Zhu Longfa resigned his work as General Manager and tried to sell off the mine,but only to find the rejections of other part owners. Besides, he’s also under pressure from the accidental death of the miners… The owner of No.78 Longkou, Li couldn't support his family anymore after getting infected with lung diseases. They had to live off the money made by his wife Zeng Hong Xiu by selling left-over coal scraps…

 6. View Point

 Director: Ma Fangfang, 9 minutes 13 seconds

Synopsis: With the gradual recovery of world economy, and the measure that increase domestic demand to stimulate economic growth, many enterprises in China Yiwu rapidly revive. Product orders have increased dramatically in a short time and many companies are in desperate need of workers. But there are few workers in the labour market and most of them could not agree on the working treatment, so few businesses and workers can reach the final stage of signing employment contracts. Companies in Yiwu were falling into the "recruitment crisis."This film shows the phenomenon “Scarcity of migrant workers”while economic recovery.

7. Patent Wars  

Director: Long Miaoyuan, 10 minutes 16 seconds

Synopsis: DAHON is the world’s biggest manufacturer and seller of folding bikes. In the economic downturn, their bicycle business is still growing even in a slower rate, because DAHON invests a lot in R&D to maintain their industrial leadership. In 2008, DAHON received favorable judgments in seven IPR lawsuits with compensation of 705.9 thousand RMB. But DAHON still suffers annual loss of more than 2 billion RMB due to IPR violations, almost equal to Microsoft.

Intellectual property rights have become a difficult barrier for MADE in CHINA industries to move up the value chain. This short film shows us DAHON’s IPR actions on 2009 China Cycle I Shanghai, the biggest bicycle fair in China. From which one can see the tip of the iceberg of China’s business legal environment.  The global financial crisis is just temporary, but the lack of legal construction might cause long-term crisis.

8. Looking For My Work in Guangzhou

Director: Huang Cong, 10 minutes 

Synopsis: Ru is a 17 year-old girl living in a fishing village. In order to alleviate the burden of her parents, who are working in Zhuhai, she discontinued her study. Then she left the fishing village and went to Guangzhou to look for a job. She was a proud hearted girl, she wanted to star in MVs. But she wasn’t accepted after sending applications for jobs in a company. So she had to work as a saleswoman in a shopping center. But she was immediately suspected of stealing clothes in the shop. So she was unemployed once again. In the face of the pressure to survive, she didn’t know how to do this. She was caught in a battle of psychological crisis....

Prizes:  2009 China (Guangzhou) International Documentary Festival (GZDOC 2009)

2009, Of Man and Iron, winner of 1st Southern Multimedia Short Film Festival

2010 5oth Krakow Film Festival (KFF)

Day 4: Theme: Growing up Chinese – the New Faces of the Nation

Propose Venue: Birkbeck College Cinema (TBC)  Time: 18:30-20:30PM   May 2011

Activities: Screening Kindergarden and The Red Race


 Director: Zhang Yiqing, 69 minutes

Synopsis: This film is an intimate portrait of childhood. Shot over 14 months, the film records the everyday lives of children at a boarding kindergarten in Wuhan, Hubei Province. It is pure and simple in style and through the actions and words of its lovable young subject, it conveys universal themes such as the innocence of children and the loss of this same innocence. The film demonstrates how children are a reflection of the adult world and our values. The opening line of the film says: "They are our children, but maybe they are us."

Prize:  2008 Special Award, Aljazeera International Documentary Film Festival, Qatar 2004 Grand Prize, Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival, China 2004 Most Innovative Documentary, Shanghai International TV Festival, China


The Red Race 

Director: Gan Chao, 70 minutes   

Synopsis: This is a road without end, no retreat. These children endlessly jump, roll, and stand on ends upon the red path with only ceaseless criticism and the burden to succeed as their company. They come from poor families with their destitute parents expecting only one thing from them, to become famous one day in the gymnastic field.

The children at the Shanghai Luwan gymnastic team are stronger and more mature than kids their age. They shoulder physical pain and inner isolation under the condition of ceaseless expectations. Through all this they also attempt to find glory and happiness…

Prizes:  2008 Special Jury Prize-Silverdocs AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival

Winner of 68th George Foster Peabody Award,

Best Documentary- Docupolis Barcelona International Documentary Festival

Best Social Documentary –Shanghai TV Festival  Trailer:

Day 5: Theme: China- the changing face

Venue: TBC     Time: TBC    May 2011

Activities: Screening Mask Changing-A Letter to Antonioni, discussion

Mask Changing- A Letter to Antonioni

Director: Pan Jun   52 minutes

Synopsis: People have already forgotten the political storm which was caused from the documentary, "China" produced by the film master Michelangelo Antonioni in 1972. Today, when we pursue the tracks in China that the film master had visited 30 years ago, we cannot restrain the temptation to ask a series of questions. If still alive, would Antonioni marvel about China's rapid and mystical change like "Mask Changing"? China's appearance flows back and forward between the frame of Antonioni's documentary and the current one…Pleasantly, history and presence encountered in such contrast between the contemporary and the past scenes. Furthermore, people and the street incidents he captured from Tiananmen, Wangfujing, the town god's temple, the cotton manufactory and "the Red Flag ditch" are not just changed, but experiences more than '''change''. It is not only the modification on the facial expression, environments or materials, but, most importantly, their evolutional visions and perceptions. In the "Mask Changing" drama, it will demonstrate how difficultly but decisively, China and her people have learned to confront the world and, on the other hand, be treated by the world.

Day 6: Theme: Dreams Come True?

Venue:  TBC

Time:   14:30-18:00PM     May 2011   Activities: Screening Brave Father 14:30- 15: 30PM

Discussion Panel: Graduation and Young Unemployment 15:30- 16: 00PM

Screening KJ Music and Life 16:20- 18: 00PM   Film exhibition closing party 18:30- 20:00PM

Brave Father 

Director: Li Junhu, 50 minutes

Synopsis: In 2002, Han Peiyin’s son Shengli was accepted in a university, and arrived to the city of Xi’an from his rural home.  To pay for Shengli’s living expense and tuition, the Han sold off all valuable things in his home and came to work in Xi’an to make money. Though a lifetime peasant, Han firmly believed knowledge had the power to change destinies, and expected his son to be successful.

Job for peasant workers was getting harder to find as more and more peasants came to the city. Han could barely make RMB 400 a month, yet Shengli needed RMB 9,000 a year for college. The place Han stayed at cost one RMB a night. At night, he used a brick as his pillow. His son Shengli had to ponder about what to eat right after class. He saw the bottled water his classmate was holding and could only think of taking the empty bottle and selling it for money.

Prizes:  2009, Exhibition film, GZDOC2009  Trailer:


Director: Zhang Jingwei, 93 minutes

Synopsis: For six years, the film is a biography of a Hong Kong music genius. Seventeen-year-old piano protégé and winner of a Hong Kong Schools Music Festival prize, KJ is the subject of director Cheung’s documentary. Touching on subjects as varied as the meaning of life, God, success and the artistic process, Cheung’s conversations with KJ reveal a young man at a crossroads, unsure as to which life path to take and what he wants. In examining KJ’s innermost thoughts, he appears to be about a musical genius on the surface, but in reality speaks to choices and struggles that are universal….

Prizes:  2009 The Best Documentary Film, The Best of Film Editing, The Best of Sound Editing, 46th Golden Horse Award, Taiwan