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Keyword: Chinese Independent | A Diaspora of Meaning

Karin CHIEN; Translator: FAN Xiang


The political shifts of the last decade have transformed the meaning of two keywords ‘Chinese’ and ‘independent’. These key words form the backbone of dGenerate (dGen) Films’ mission-driven work to distribute Chinese independent films to North American audiences. Whereby in the 2000s an uncompromised definition of ‘Chinese’ and ‘independent’ informed dGen’s acquisition policy, the availability of such strictly defined work narrowed to a trickle by the mid-2010s. Significant regulation and new enforcement tactics by authorities drove both a migration of filmmakers out of mainland China and a new negotiation of censorship within mainland China. This, in turn, posed a crisis of meaning. It is through encountering new work by groundbreaking filmmakers, that dGen has embraced more complex, diasporic, and contradictory meanings of ‘Chinese’ and ‘independent’.