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Annie

Zhu Rikun

Release year: 2018

Run time: 78 mins

Film type: Documentary

Synopsis

As a campaigner for democracy, Zhang Lin is under surveillance by the totalitarian Chinese government. When he moves to another city without official permission, they punish him where it hurts most: by banning his daughter Anni from attending school. In this way, they control his life and her future.

On a square by the school, protestors mount a small but persistent demonstration. The participants hold banners explaining the circumstances, post messages on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, and enter into cautious conversations with each other and passersby. The events are observed unhurriedly and without commentary, using a hand-held camera, raw and unfiltered.

In addition to being a document of contemporary history, Anni is a monument to the courage of the father and the group of no more than a few dozen protestors. Gradually, it becomes apparent that this modest protest is perhaps the only resistance possible. This, and the brave deed of recording it on film.

 

Director biography

Born in 1976 in Guangdong, of Hakka descent, Zhu Rikun studied finance at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management from 1996 to 2000. In 2001, he founded Fanhall Films (Fanhall.com, Fanhall Art Centre), focusing on independent film production, distribution, and exhibition. He has produced and distributed milestone works in Chinese independent cinema. In 2003, he founded the China Documentary Film Festival. From 2006 to 2012, Zhu Rikun served as the artistic director of the Li Xianting Film Fund, continuing to organize the China Documentary Film Festival and the Beijing Independent Film Forum, which later merged into the Beijing Independent Film Festival (BIFF). He has served as a jury member at various film festivals, including the Locarno International Film Festival, Hong Kong International Film Festival, St. Petersburg Message to Man, Seoul Digital Film Festival, and Rome Asian Film Festival. He has also been a visiting researcher at Keio University in Japan and a visiting curator at the Burns Film Center in New York, USA. Zhu Rikun has edited two books, "Cinematic Impulse" and "Independent Records," both focusing on Chinese independent cinema and documentary films.