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Lao Zhao

Ma Zhandong

Release year: 2015

Run time: 60 minutes

Film type: Documentary


This is a story of a second-generation migrant, whose name is Zhao, living in the second-largest carbon factory in Lanzhou, northwest China. Facing fading literary dreams, and with the spring festival coming up, Zhao has to make a difficult choice. He was a top student when he was young, but now after growing up he chooses the country road.

Zhao is stuck in the difficult situation of having to survive and support a family. He struggles because of his nature and literary longings.

He can find no hope here in the place where two generations of his family and his parents have lived. Zhao choses to leave Haishiwan after his mother, who during her lifetime never managed to go back to her own hometown, dies beside him.


Director biography

Ma Zhandong is an independent documentary producer who has filmed and produced tens of documentary films, long and short. His works have been screened at film festivals in Germany, the Netherlands, Iceland, Denmark, France, Japan and Hong Kong. He has also made short art films and videos. He was interviewed by ARTE in 2009. He served as a final film juror for the 14th Beijing Independent Film Exhibition in China and as a shortlisting juror for the 12th FIRST Youth Film Exhibition.

His work One Day in May won the best documentary award in 2011 at the Chinese Documentary Festival in Hong Kong. Lao Zhao won the Documentary Humanitarian Award at the 12th China Independent Film Festival. Everybody is Nobody won the 33th ATP Award for Excellence in Tokyo).

Now he lives and works in Chengdu, China.