Cohort of ‘people’s theaters’

Source: Sup China (2/12/18)
Five Thousand Movie Theaters Across China To Form A Cohort Of ‘People’s Theaters’

China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT), the country’s top regulator overseeing its media industry, has  released a notice announcing that 5,000 movie theaters nationwide will become “People’s Theaters,” Sina Entertainment reports. The goal is to “further utilize screening resources, increase overall attendance rate, and improve filmings and screenings of films that sing the main melody films (i.e. those that promote officially approved messages 主旋律电影 zhǔxuánlǜdiànyǐng). Continue reading

The Buddhist Films of Edward A. Burger

Edward A. Burger (of Amongst White Clouds fame), has a new film out, another Buddhist themed documentary, giving unprecedented view into the daily lives of Zen monks at the Zhenru Monastery in Jiangxi. You can read my review below.–Lee Mack <>

Source: White Confucius (1/30/18)
Amongst White Clouds: the Buddhist Films of Edward A. Burger

I was depressed the other day. The kind of feeling where basically everything seems like shit and you don’t have any clue why you still live in China and, as a consequence, you are hateful toward everything. This is nothing to be alarmed about. It happens from time to time. When I fall into this state of mind, I know it is time to go back to basics and put some effort into remembering the good parts of being a foreigner here. In this case, that led me back to Edward A. Burger.

Burger is a documentary filmmaker I met in Beijing in 2006. We were introduced by a mutual friend and shared hot pot on Guijie. I had been told he was a filmmaker, a claim I was skeptical of myself having just come off a year at the Beijing Film Academy. I figured if he were serious about it, he would be there too and know the people I knew. Continue reading

Film, Finance, and China online panel discussion

Dear Media Friends:

(New York, NY – January 19, 2018) – Join China Film Insider and China Hollywood Society for our second jointly hosted online event!

“Film, Finance, and China,” a web panel discussing co-financing with China, will take place on Thursday, January 25 at 11 am PST/2 pm EST online.

We’ll discuss what co-financing models exist, what the trends are, and what pitfalls to avoid as an independent producer.

Our panelists will include Bennett Pozil, Executive VP at East West Bank; Cristiano Bortone of Bridging the Dragon, as well as returning speaker Rob Cain, founder of ChinaFilmBiz and writer at Forbes.

Time: 11 AM PST/2 PM EST
Date: Thursday, January 25, 2017
Where: Online
Ticket: Free

To RSVP: Continue reading

Cinema Journal–call for translations

Cinema Journal — Call for Translations

Below you will find the Cinema Journal‘s call for translation proposals for 2018, open to those on the list who are also members of the Society of Cinema and Media Studies. Please note a change from previous years: in addition to accepting translations of single texts of 8,000 to 10,000 words, the journal will now be accepting curated groups of smaller texts adding up to that word count. Any inquiries specific to Chinese-to-English translations may be directed to


Hongwei Thorn Chen <>

Cinema Journal
Call for Translations 2018

Cinema Journal publishes translations of outstanding scholarly and creative work. The originals may be in any language and come from any period or geographic region. We welcome two types of proposals: (1) a single text such as a journal article, book chapter, or self-contained section of a book that focuses on a particular topic in a unified, coherent way; and (2) a group of smaller texts that are linked thematically, geographically, or otherwise.

The total word count of the introduction and translated text(s) should be between 8,000 and 10,000 words in English. One grant-in-aid of $1,000 will be paid to the translator(s) for copyright clearance and as honoraria. Proposals to translate one’s own work will not be considered. Continue reading

Becoming Environmental–cfp

Please see the below CFP for a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Synoptique: An Online Journal of Film and Moving Image Studies, based out of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University, Montréal.

Deadline for submission is March 31, 2018.

Call for Submissions: “Becoming Environmental: Media, Logistics, and Ecological Change”
Special Issue of  Synoptique: An Online Journal of Film and Moving Image Studies

Synoptique is inviting submissions for an upcoming special issue entitled “Becoming Environmental: Media, Logistics, and Ecological Change.” The focus of this issue will be on the increasing entanglements of global economies of extraction and the circulation of media. The title of this issue is inspired by Jennifer Gabrys’ “becoming environmental” of sensory technologies (2016), where computational media becomes constitutive to the very environment, and subject formation within it, rather than simply operating in the environment as a backdrop. We propose to expand this imperative to the distinctive ways media—from computation, infrastructures, screens, technologies of circulation, and different modes of visualization—become environmental, remaining attentive to how these emerging human/nonhuman relations are constantly reconfigured, if not naturalized, via the state, global market, or other ideological projects. Continue reading

Film insiders balk at booming China market

Source: China Film Insider (1/5/18)
Beijing Film Insiders Balk as China’s Film Market Moves Towards Becoming World’s Largest

Keith Collea

Though China’s box office is indeed booming, so much so that Xinhua recently touted the nation’s recent record-breaking box office year, along with Indian news outlet Outlook publishing an article about how “China aims to become the world’s largest film market by 2020.” However, some Beijing film insiders harbor doubts about those prospects. Yes, even though Bollywood smashes like Dangal are cashing in on the Mainland and hefty Hollywood tentpole flicks like Justice League are counting on Chinese audiences to turn a profit, some have serious concerns about China becoming the biggest movie market on the planet. Continue reading

Hollywood Made in China review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Darrell William Davis’s review of Hollywood Made in China (University of California Press, 2017), by Aynne Kokas. The review appears below, but is best read online at: My thanks to Jason McGrath, MCLC media studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, MCLC Editor

Hollywood Made in China

By Aynne Kokas 

Reviewed by Darrell William Davis
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright January, 2018)

Aynne Kokas, Hollywood Made in China. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2017. 272pp. ISBN: 9780520294011 (Cloth: $85.00) ISBN: 9780520294028 (Paperback: $29.95)

Hollywood Made in China is an elegant account of Hollywood’s evolving engagements in China’s commercial film environment. In six concise chapters, Aynne Kokas details the myriad flows of policy, investment, deployment, and rewards of Sino-US media co-productions. Her aim is mostly large-scale entertainment schemes, including contemporary blockbusters, theme parks, and studio co-ventures. Because China is now becoming the world’s largest film market, Hollywood is courting Chinese executives and regulators, the better to ensure access to viewers and returns for American pictures. The objective is market access, in return for which Hollywood players are willing to cede control, a tradeoff the author calls “transformative” (33). This is a transaction not available to Silicon Valley (e.g., Google, Facebook, Netflix), and despite frustrations of piracy and capricious regulations, Hollywood may well count itself fortunate. In any case, Kokas demonstrates that the Sino-US co-production enterprise is a work in progress, always in a state of renegotiation and revision, as she aptly puts it: “The Hollywood dream factory and the Chinese Dream work together, while mired in a state of perpetual negotiation” (20).  A combination of Hollywood “thirst” for ever-larger markets (old) and China’s “cultural trade deficit” (new) brings potential synergies and symbiosis (2-3). It also brings evolving forms of contention and conflict (13). With every new co-production, new standards and practices appear in the playbook. Aynne Kokas makes a strong case for the “interaction and variability” (8), the unpredictability inherent in this volatile relation. Continue reading

Taiwan’s lost commercial cinema–cfp

CFP: Taiwan’s Lost Commercial Cinema: Recovered and Restored

Did you know regular filmmaking on Taiwan only started in the 1950s? With a Taiwanese-language film industry? Between then and the 1970s, 1000+ Taiwanese-language features were made. However, the budgets were miniscule, the companies short-lived, and there was no archive. They were quickly forgotten, and only 200+ survive. However, with the establishment of the Chinese Taipei Film Archive in 1979 and the end of martial law in 1987, Taiwanese-language cinema of the 1950s–1970s, once seen as a disposable entertainment, is now being revalued as an art form and window on old Taiwan, and new scholarship is revealing more complex dimensions of the phenomenon.

We are pleased to announce that Journal of Chinese Cinemas has agreed to our proposal to submit a dossier of articles for consideration as a special section or issue of the journal. To be considered for inclusion, please submit your 200-300 word abstract to us ( and by 31 January 2018. If accepted, the deadline for submission of the full draft essay will be 30 April 2018, and we will be submitting the dossier to Journal of Chinese Cinemas during the summer of 2018.

Chris Berry and Ming-Yeh Rawnsley

Professor Chris Berry
Dept. of Film Studies
King’s College London
Strand, London

Taiwanese cinema year in review

Source: Taipei Times (12/28/17)
Year in Review: Taiwanese Cinema
By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

Blue Lan, left, and Chu Ko Liang play a father and son in Hanky Panky. Chu died in May at the age of 70. Photo courtesy of Hualien Media

Suffering through a number of terrible local movies throughout the year makes the good ones truly worth it. Three favorites in particular come to mind — but first, let’s pay tribute to Chu Ko Liang (豬哥亮), the legendary and often crass Taiwanese entertainer who died at 70 years old in May.

Liang’s sixth-straight and unfortunately his final Lunar New Year blockbuster Hanky Panky (大釣哥) continues his over-the-top act with plenty of melodrama and his trademark bathroom humor, although he does rein in the weirdness at times for some surprisngly emotional scenes. The resulting product is an unspectacular yet solid Liang-style comedy with a decent storyline and a surprising amount of chuckles, which was exactly what people are looking for in a holiday blockbuster. Liang should not be remembered as a fool just because of his bumbling on-screen persona. There’s a reason he was been able to stay relevant despite pulling the same old tricks decade after decade. He knew how to tell a story, and most importantly, he knew how to make fun of himself — which is where most other Taiwanese screwball comedies fall short. Continue reading

Dhondup Wangchen flees to US

Source: NYT (12/28/17)
Tibetan Filmmaker Flees to U.S. After ‘Arduous’ Escape from China
查看简体中文版 | 查看繁體中文版

Protesters demanding the release of the Tibetan movie director Dhondup Wangchen protest outside the Chinese embassy in Tokyo in 2009. Credit Toshifumi Kitamura/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A prominent Tibetan filmmaker, who was jailed for making a documentary about Tibetans living under Chinese rule and had been under police surveillance since his release three years ago, has fled to the United States after an “arduous and risky escape” from China, according to his supporters.

Dhondup Wangchen, 43, arrived in San Francisco on Dec. 25 and was reunited with his wife and children, who were granted political asylum in the United States in 2012, according to Filming for Tibet, a group set up by Mr. Wangchen’s cousin to push for his release. Continue reading

Hua Yong detained and released on bail

Source: Sup China (12/18/17)
Artist who filmed Beijing eviction aftermath detained, then released on bail
By Lucas Niewenhuis

Hua Yong 华涌, the artist who documented the destruction and social turmoil that resulted from Beijing’s migrant evictions, had quite the weekend.

  • He made it out of Beijing to Tianjin, where he filmed several tense videos in which he says that police “have arrived” at his door (he also records banging on his door and himself speaking with the people) and an emotional video in which he sings “Happy Birthday” to his three-year-old daughter and wishes that China could be “just, fair, free, democratic and have freedom of speech.”
  • Police detained him for “gathering a crowd to disrupt traffic,” his friends told the AFP, but then released him on bail.
  • The New York Times notes (paywall) that his form of bail “allows the police to continue investigating for up to a year,” and that though he likely won’t face charges, he “can be monitored and face restrictions on his ability to travel and speak publicly.”
  • Hua is now far away from Beijing in Chengdu, the capital city of southwestern Sichuan Province, where his daughter lives, a friend said.

Artist flees Beijing after filming mass evictions

To view the accompanying video clips, go to the NYT link.–Kirk

Source: NYT (12/13/17)
Artist Flees Beijing After Filming Devastation of Mass Evictions

HONG KONG — When Hua Yong, a painter in Beijing, first witnessed the eviction of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers from the Chinese capital last month, he worried no one would believe the scope of it.

After a deadly fire in November, Beijing officials introduced an aggressive campaign to tear down apartment buildings and evict migrants from poorer sections of the city. Some residents were given just hours to leave.

Mr. Hua feared China’s strictly controlled news media would not cover the evictions accurately, so he decided to document and publish online his own videos of the crackdown.

Starting in November, he posted to YouTube and WeChat dozens of videos he shot with his mobile phone and a selfie stick. Often, he filmed himself walking past the rubble of demolished buildings, or interviewing the laborers who were promised work and a better life in the capital only to have everything suddenly upended.

It felt like a disaster, he said.

Continue reading

Ai Weiwei on “Human Flow”

List members may be interested in this interview with Ai Weiwei on HUMAN FLOW–Ai’s lyrical, investigative documentary on the global refugee crisis–conducted by my colleague Cynthia Rowell and I for CINEASTE magazine. We discussed art, activism, beauty, freedom, and humanity. Many questions focus on Ai’s growth as a liberated, cosmopolitan artist from China and belonging to the world. Thank you for your time!

Best regards,

Lulu Chen <>

The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful

Source: Taipei Times (11/30/17)
Movie review: The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful
With nobody really meaning what they say, this film may be initially confusing for some, but the superb acting and chilling plot make it a must see — even if you have to watch it twice
By Han Cheung  /  Staff Reporter

Kara Hui, left, Vicky Chen, center and Patty Wu play the three main characters in The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful. Photo courtesy of

If you are not an expert in reading between the lines or decoding sentences that have layers of meaning, you might have trouble following this movie, which is drowning in cold blood with lies, backstabbing and underhanded dealings.

Further complicating things is the director Yang Ya-che’s (楊雅喆) use of fabricated memories, subtle imagery, metaphors and implied events, leaving much open to interpretation (it’s mostly explained eventually, though). It’s the kind of film you might want to watch twice, as you’ll probably be oohing and ahhing with new revelations the second time around.

Whether you get the film immediately or have to look on the Internet for answers afterward, it can’t be denied that the acting, in general, is off the charts. Fourteen-year-old Vicky Chen (陳文淇) fully deserves her Golden Horse award for best supporting actress — but Patty Wu (吳可熙) feels just as legitimate for consideration. Continue reading

Angels Wear White

Source: Global Times (11/26/17)
Award-winning Chinese film sparks discussion by tackling aftermath of child molestation

Promotional material for Angels Wear White Photo: IC

Premiering in the Chinese mainland on Friday, award-winning Chinese film Angels Wear White ignited widespread discussion on China’s social media platforms as the film’s debut came on the heels of reports of child abuse at a Beijing kindergarten.

Directed by Chinese director Vivian Qu, the modern noir film focuses on Mia, a teenager who becomes the sole witness to the sexual assault of two young schoolgirls by a middle-aged man, and Wen, one of the victims of the assault, as they try to free themselves from increasingly harrowing circumstances. Continue reading