How to Make the Invisible Visible:
The Past and Present of the Dissemination of Chinese Independent Films
Guest speakers: Cong Feng, Gan Xiao’er, Jiang Nengjie, Yang Zi, Zhang Yaxuan
Hosts: Flora Lichaa, Yang Yishu, Sabrina Qiong Yu
Date: 28 May 2022 Saturday
Time: 8:30 (New York), 13:30 (London), 20:30 (Beijing)
Zoom Event Languages: CN & EN
The third issue of the Chinese Independent Cinema Observer, ‘The Keywords of Chinese Independent Cinema’, seeks to explore the main features of Chinese independent cinema since its emergence through a keyword approach. We invited filmmakers, producers/distributors, critics, and researchers to write about key notions such as ‘independent’, ‘individual’, ‘memory’, ‘feminism’, ‘ethics’, ‘grassroots exhibition’, and ‘censorship’. Bringing together contributions by a variety of authors has allowed us to reflect on the diversity of film production, distribution, and exhibition practices in the People’s Republic of China.
One of the main changes since 2012 has been the tightening of state restrictions on the dissemination of independent films, which led to the closure of all independent film festivals and most other exhibition platforms. We are thus organising this online conversation about past and present modes of circulating and exhibiting independent film in China. The discussion will feature four contributors to this issue: film critic and curator Zhang Yaxuan, who will provide an overview of the inception, rise, and decline of film clubs and independent film festivals in the PRC since the beginning of the twenty-first century; and three independent filmmakers, Cong Feng, Gan Xiao’er, and Jiang Nengjie, who will share their respective experiences of disseminating their own films. Yang Zi, who in 2000 initiated the first screening organisation, Practice Society, will also join the discussion. The conversation will be moderated by the two executive editors of this issue, Flora Lichaa and Yang Yishu, and the general editor of the journal, Sabrina Qiong Yu.