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The Chinese Independent Film Archive (CIFA) is originated from an AHRC (UK Arts & Humanities Research Council) funded research project entitled ‘Independent Cinema in China: State, Market and Film Culture’ (2019-2024). The project is led by Principal Investigator Professor Sabrina Qiong Yu (Newcastle University), with Co-Investigators Professor Chris Berry (King’s College London) and Dr Luke Robinson (University of Sussex), and Research Associate Dr Lydia Dan Wu (Newcastle University). It was supported by a multi-national Advisory Board comprised of prominent filmmakers, curators and scholars of Chinese independent cinema around the world, including Akiyama Tamako (Japan), Cao Kai (Mainland China), Tammy Cheung (Hong Kong), Kuo Li-Hsin (Taiwan), Shelly Kraicer (Canada), Wood Lin (Taiwan), Markus Nornes (USA), Luisa Prudentino (France/Italy), Wang Xiaolu (Mainland China), Wu Wenguang (Mainland China), Brian Winston (UK), Zhang Zhen (USA) and Zhang Xianmin  (Mainland China).

The project explores how the relationship to the state and the market has shaped Chinese independent cinema in terms of its production, circulation, and reception. Please find more information at

CIFA is one of the major project outcomes, alongside publications, conferences, film festivals and exhibitions. The archive aims not only to safeguard this film culture for future generations, but also act as an alternative record of social changes, historical traumas, and the lives of ordinary people in modern and contemporary China – a record not always easily accessible.

CIFA works closely with a large number of Chinese independent filmmakers and curators, as well as a range of industry partners and cultural institutions to raise the visibility of Chinese independent cinema and enhance the world’s understanding of China’s film industry and film culture in China. CIFA also works with scholars and universities around the world to advance the study of Chinese independent cinema and encourage the use of the collections at CIFA for research on, and the teaching of, modern and contemporary China.