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On the Way to the Sea

Gu Tao

Release year: 2011

Run time: 20 mins

Film type: Documentary


On May 12, 2008 , the biggest earthquake in Chinese history occurred in the film maker's hometown of Wenchuan. According to official polls, 69,159 were killed, 374,141 were seriously injured and 17,469 are still considered to be missing. The film maker's parents, central character in the film, are survivors. In a surreal hybrid of documentary footage, experimental abstraction and fictional elements, "On the Way to the Sea" studies the human fragility and spiritual homelessness generated by such disasters.


Director biography

GU Tao was born in Wenchuan, Sichuan Province in China. He initiated his artistic endeavours in 1998 as an experimental radio host in China, and soon after began exploring a variety of creative media. From 2004 to 2007, he studied in Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, majoring in Film Production. Upon his arrival in Canada, his cinematic work shifted towards experimental filmmaking. The films he created have been shown in over 60 film/art festivals worldwide, including Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Toronto International Film Festival, and won numerous world-renowned prizes including the “Special Jury Prize” at International Short Film Festival-Clermont-Ferrand, “Best Director” at Curta Cinema Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, “Canadian Top 10” at Toronto International Film Festival. The Globe and Mail complimented Tao’s film as “the high-art side of Canada’s Sundance roster” (Guy, Dixon, Jan. 20, 2011).