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From Bumming In Beijing To Dead Souls…Thirty Years Of Chinese Independent Documentary At Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival

YANO Kazuyuki Translator: QIU Ye


In this article, Yano Kazuyuki, representative of CINEMATRIX, the Tokyo of ce of Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (YIDFF), revisits the exhibition history of Chinese documentary in Yamagata. During the late 1980s and early 90s, directors like Tian Zhuangzhuang and Wu Wenguang came into the sight of a newfound Yamagata Festival, hungry for documentary lms in Asia. Wu Wenguang was invited to show Bumming in Beijing in 1991 and took his experience back to China with him, initiating a groundswell of documentary lmmaking. More and more lms have been screened and awarded in Yamagata since then, establishing a reciprocal relationship between lmmakers and festival. Yano also mentions that even though some of the awarded lms during the early aughts cannot be of cially released in China, passionate lmmakers and audiences have managed to circulate the lms within café screenings and independent festivals. In recent years, even those venues had to close down due to pressure from the administration; many lmmakers had to relocate and operate abroad. But Yano continues to believe in the ingenuity and perseverance of Chinese documentary auteurs, and their contributions to YIDFF.