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Miners, the Horsekeeper, Pneumoconiosis

Jiang Nengjie

Release year: 2019

Run time: 81 mins

Film type: Documentary


The economy of Xiangxinan in Hunan is not developed. Local people have to leave for work, or go to the mountains to work in the mines. Because of the many mining accidents, the government has tried to improve conditions, but still cannot prevent people from illegal mining. The miners usually don’t take precautions when they go down the shafts, and, after many years, they often contract pneumoconiosis.

We shot this film from 2010 to 2018. The total filming time was about ten years, until the main character—Zhao Pinfeng, who had pneumoconiosis—passed away, leaving his children behind.


Director biography

Jiang Nengjie is a renowned independent filmmaker, documentarian, and director. He was born in Hunan province in 1985 and was member of the first generation left behind by parents looking for work in cities. In 2009 he established his Mianhuasha Film Studio and produced numerous documentary films featuring the countryside in China. In 2010, he made the documentary film The Road, which was nominated for the 7th China Documentary Film Festival. His most well-known film is Children at a Village School (2014), which is about village children left behind by their parents who go to the cities to work as migrant workers. It won Best Documentary Film in the 3rd Phoenix Documentary Awards. He has produced numerous films since then, including The Ninth Grade (2015), Anti-Japanese War Veteran (2015), Jia Yi (2016), The Sichuan Army Veteran Peng Guochen (2017), Yun Jie (2018), and others. His most recent documentary, Miners, the Horsekeeper and Pneumoconiosis (2019), has been very popular online due to the increasing public attention to health issues after the coronavirus outbreak. He is currently working on Rainbow Cruise, which is a documentary film about the LGBT community in China.