Launch Roundtable 1: How to Continue Making Films Independently in China?
Chair: Sabrina Qiong Yu
Participants: 18 Chinese indie filmmakers from China, Europe and USA
Date: 10am-12pm, 27 Sept. 2023
Venue: Assembly House, Newcastle Arts Centre, 55 Westgate Road
Launch Roundtable 2: The Spirit and Legacy of Avant-garde Art in China in the 1980s
Chair: CUI Weiping
Participants: WEN Pulin, GAO Bo, QU Leilei, TANG Danghong, XI Jianjun
Date: 2-4pm, 27 Sept. 2023
Venue: Assembly House, Newcastle Arts Centre, 55 Westgate Road
CUI Weiping, emeritus professor of the Beijing Film Academy. Her main areas of writing include film criticism, poetry criticism, social criticism, and political criticism. She has translated the works of the democratic opposition in Central and Eastern Europe. Her current research focuses on Chinese independent culture and heretical thinking. She is the author of Ideas and Nostalgia (2010), Charming Lies (2012), Narratives of Our Time (2008), Dawn with Wounds (1999), Invisible Voices (2000), Active Life (2003) and Before Justice (2005). Translations include The Spirit of Prague (1998), The Havel Collection (2003), and The Road to Civil Society (2004) (co-translated).
GAO Bo is an independent artist who lives and works between Beijing and Paris. He is Guest Professor at the FRESNOY Studio National des Arts Contemporains in France from 2017-2018. He graduated from the High School Affiliated with Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in 1983 and from the Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University in 1987. In 1990, he lived in France and worked with Agence VU and Galerie VU. In 2002 to 2009, he established architecture studio BoARCHI and engaged in architectural designing. In 1986, he won first Prize (Hasselblad camera) in a national photography competition in China, the Gold Prize at the 1989 VISA International Photography Festival of Perpignan in France, the “Most Beautiful Book in the World” the German UNESCO-Kommission Prize in 1998. His works have been shown in exhibitions in China, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, the US, Brazil, England, Japan and South Korea and have been collected by the museums, art institutions and private collectors around the world.
QU Leilei is one of the founding members of the ‘Stars’ group, the first ever contemporary art movement in China. As one of China’s leading contemporary artists, he has continuously created numerous major projects in form of a combination of paintings and installations in recent years including ‘The ’Sun in my Dream, ‘ Facing the Future’, ‘Everyone’s Life is An Epic’, ’Brush, Ink, Light, Shadow’.’ ‘Empire’, and the installation ‘Silence and Screaming’. These have been exhibited both nationally and internationally at venues including for instance the British Museum, Venice Biennale, the Beijing Biennale, the Ashmolean Museum, China National Gallery and the Royal Palace Museum in Milan. His contemporary artworks comprise a blend of Chinese and Western art techniques combined with modern concepts. In unison these pieces reflect the artist’s deep concern about humanity in particular today’s peoples and the conditions in which we all live. His work has been collected by the British museum, the V&A museum, the Ashmolean Museum and China’s National Gallery. He has published 7 books so far about contemporary and traditional art.
TANG Danhong was born in 1965 in Chengdu, China. She is a feminist poet and avant-garde filmmaker. Before Tang became a filmmaker, she studied Library Science at Sichuan University, then went on to become an important poet in the 1980s. Tang’s first documentary, At Tsurphu Monastery, came out in 1998, and she has made several films about Tibet. Her parents’ abuse when she was a child is a major theme of her controversial 2000 documentary, Nightingale, Not the Only Voice. She currently resides in Israel.
WEN Pulin, writer, director and art critic. In the 1980s, he set up the ‘China-America Drama Club’ at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, initiated and joined forces with teachers and students from eight art schools in Beijing to set up the ‘Beijing Student Art Troupe’, and planned a large-scale avant-garde art event at the Mutianyu Great Wall in the autumn of 1988. From the mid-1980s, he began to document underground rock music and avant-garde art activities in Beijing, and in the 1990s he continued to participate in and document the process of contemporary art in China through video. The Wen Pulin Archive of Chinese Avant-Garde Art (a video archive) was established in Cornell University and the University of California San Diego from 2005 to 2007. Since the late 1980s, Wen Pulin had been using visual documentation to tell the story of Tibet and to record the changes in Tibet over 20 years. In the last decade or so, Wen has travelled around the Himalayas, meditating and writing. His video works include The Great Earthquake (1988-1989, incomplete), “Qingpu – A Sacred Place for Ascetics” (1992), Damu Sky Burial Platform (1992), and China Action (2016). He has published books such as ‘Wind Horse Flag Book Series’, Drifting in Jianghu (2000), and Meeting the Living Buddha of Bajaj (2002); major exhibitions include ‘Seven Sins’, ‘Liberation’, ‘China Action’, ‘Through Death’, ‘Datong Dazhang’, and ‘Wen Pulin Chinese Avant-Garde Art Archive Exhibition of the 80s and 90s’.
XI Jianjun was born in Nantong, China. He is a renowned British-Chinese artist. He graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts (now Tsinghua University Art School) in 1986 and completed his studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, in 1995. Currently living and working in London and Beijing, his artistic expressions encompass performance, installation, sculpture, and painting. In 1986, he, along with Sheng Qi and fellow students from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, staged their first performance piece titled “Concept 21” at Peking University. In 1999, he collaborated with Cai Yuan to establish “Mad for Real” in London, creating performance works such as “Trampoline” and the series “Urinating on Duchamp’s Urinal” at the Tate Modern, which were categorised as “interventionist” conceptual works by art critics and had a significant impact on the international contemporary art scene. He has held solo and group exhibitions in over 20 countries, including the Tate Modern in the UK, Berlin Palace of the Arts in Germany, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, Malmö Konsthall in Sweden, Himalayas Art Museum in Shanghai, and the Gwangju Museum of Art in South Korea.
Launch Roundtable 3: CIFA’s Roles in Teaching and Researching China in Higher Education and Secondary Schools
Chair: Sabrina Qiong Yu
Participants: Chris Berry, Kuo Li-Hsin, Luke Robinson, Zhang Zhen, Zhu Xiaoming
Date: 10am-12pm, 29 Sept. 2023
Venue: Armstrong Building Keeton Lomas Lecture Theatre, Newcastle University
Chris Berry is Professor of Film Studies at King’s College London. In the 1980s, he worked for China Film Import and Export Corporation in Beijing, and his academic research is grounded in work on Chinese-language cinemas and other Chinese-language screen-based media, as well as work from neighboring countries. He is especially interested in queer screen cultures in East Asia; mediatized public space in East Asian cities; and national and transnational screen cultures in East Asia. Together with John Erni, Peter Jackson, and Helen Leung, he edits the Queer Asia book series for Hong Kong University Press. Prior to his current appointment, he taught at La Trobe University in Melbourne, The University of California, Berkeley, and Goldsmiths, University of London.
KUO Li-Hsin is Part-time Professor, College of Communication, NCCU and critic of photography and documentary film. Kuo is also Juror for various film competitions including Taiwan International Documentary Festival, Golden Horse Award, Taipei Film Festival, Chinese Documentary Festival, Fresh Wave Short Film Festival, HK, The Beijing Independent Film Festival, etc. He obtained his PhD in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths Colleage of University of London. Recent publications include More Writings on Photography (2013), Interrogating Reality: politics and de-politicisation of documentary film (2014), and Manufacturing Meaning: discourse, power and cultural politics in realist photography (2018).
Luke Robinson is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies in the Department of Media and Film, University of Sussex, UK. He is the author of Independent Chinese Documentary: From the Studio to the Street (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), and the editor, with Chris Berry, of Chinese Film Festivals: Sites of Translation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). His writing on Chinese-language feature film, animation, documentary, and film festivals has appeared in books and journals including DV-made China: Digital Subjects and Social Transformations after Independent Film, The New Chinese Documentary Movement: For the Public Record, The Routledge Companion to Cinema and Politics, positions: asia cultures critique, Film Studies, Journal of Children and Media, and Journal of Chinese Cinemas.
Sabrina Qiong YU, Professor of Film and Chinese Studies at Newcastle University, UK. Her research and publications focus on Chinese independent cinema, stardom and performance, gender and sexuality, and audience/reception studies. She is the author of Jet Li: Chinese Masculinity and Transnational Film Stardom (2012, 2015), the co-editor, with Guy Austin, of Revisiting Star Studies: Cultures, Themes and Methods (2017, 2018). She is the Principal Investigator of UK Arts & Humanities Research Council funded project (2019-2024) on Chinese independent cinema, the founder of Chinese Independent Film Archive (CIFA) and bi-lingual journal Chinese Independent Cinema Observer.
Zhang Zhen is Professor at New York University who teaches Cinema Studies and directs the Asian Film and Media Initiative. She has published widely on Chinese independent cinema, including two edited books The Urban Generation: Chinese Cinema and Society at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century (2007) and DV-made China: Digital Subjects and Social Transformations after Independent Film (2015, co-edited with Angela Zito), as well as her latest monograph Women Filmmakers in Sinophone World Cinema(2023). She is the main organiser of the biannual Reel China Documentary Festival at New York University since 2001.
ZHU Xiaoming is lecturer in Teacher Training and Professional Development, UCL IOE. As the first native Chinese speaker to attain qualified teacher status to teach Mandarin in the UK back in 2002, Xiaoming’s career as a teacher and teacher educator spans over two decades. She served as a teacher and head of Mandarin in the East Midlands for several years before joining the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust as the National Network Coordinator, where she provided guidance and support for the teaching and learning of Mandarin across schools in England, on both practical and strategic levels.
Xiaoming became part of IOE community in 2012 and has consistently played a pivotal role in advancing Mandarin education in schools on a national scale. Her contributions extend to curriculum design, teacher training, and resource creation. Since 2015, Xiaoming has assumed an additional role working on UCL IOE’s PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) programme’s Mandarin pathway. The roles involves in planning, teaching, and assessment of the programme, which is a critical source of qualified teaching force for secondary school Mandarin instruction in the UK. Xiaoming is also a published author, having co-authored a series of teaching resources, including “Jinbu 1,” “Jinbu 2,” and the “Edexcel GCSE Chinese” textbooks in partnership with Pearson, as well as “Edexcel Chinese for AS” with Hodder. These resources, covering the teaching and learning of Mandarin Chinese from beginner to advanced levels, are widely utilised in schools across the UK, and by some schools in New Zealand and Australia.
Launch Roundtable 4: Film Archives: Building Collections, Preservation, and Access in the Digital Era
Chair: Chris Berry
Participants: Karen Chan, Adrian Wood, Sabrina Yu, Markus Nornes, Georgina Orgill
Date: 10am-12pm, 30 Sept. 2023
Venue: Old Library Building Interpreting Suite, Newcastle University
Karen Chan is the Executive Director of the Asian Film Archive (AFA) and is focused on the preservation and access of collections, increasing film literacy, and training archivists. She writes and publishes about film preservation, most recently in Keeping Memories: Cinema and Archiving in the Asia-Pacific (2022). She presents at industry and academic events, collaborating with international institutions like the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) and the EYE Filmmuseum Amsterdam. Karen is the current president of the Southeast Asia-Pacific Audiovisual Archive Association (SEAPAVAA) and serves on the Singapore Film Commission advisory committee. Her previous experiences include working at the National Archives of Singapore, National Arts Council, and the Natural History Museum in New York City.
Markus Nornes is Professor of Asian Cinema at the University of Michigan. Much of his work has explored the history of Japanese documentary and its theoretical implications. He has also written about nonfiction production in other parts of Asia. In the 1980s and 1990s Nornes worked as a programmer at the Hawai’i International Film Festival and the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, where he organized major retrospectives. Nornes’ research centers on the cinemas of Asia, particularly the non-fiction form. His first book is a history of the first half-century of documentary in Japan. It examines the emergence of documentary, its exploitation by left-wing movements, and ultimately its cooptation by the government in waging war across Asia. He followed this up with a monograph following the life trajectory of director Ogawa Shinsuke, who had a formative impact on Chinese independent documentary. As with his work on Chinese documentary, Nornes is foremost concerned with the political and ethical complexities of producing documentary at times of social tension or political crisis. Nornes also specializes in film translation. He has translated subtitles for Japanese films and written a monograph on the subject entitled, Cinema Babel. He has also published books on the Japanese pink film, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s City of Sadness, Korean Hallyu and social media, Pacific War cinema, and Japanese prewar film theory. Professor Nornes has just finished a book entitled, Brushed in Light: East Asian Cinema and Calligraphy.
Georgina Orgill is the Stanley Kubrick Archivist at University of the Arts London and is responsible for promoting and facilitating research into the Stanley Kubrick Archive. She has written on issues around archival curation and access and teaches on MA Culture, Criticism and Curation at Central Saint Martins.
Adrian Wood has worked with archival material for over 40 years either in the context of documentary production for broadcast as well as theatrical release or in the restoration of motion picture films. Restorations supervised by him include films by directors such as Fanck, Riefenstahl, Ichikawa, Marcellini and Shinoda. The restorations have screened at key festivals and Cinémathèque around the world. Whilst retaining a deep commitment to the supervision of restorations he continues to develop productions led by archival content. His long-standing commitment to research and to the discovery of forgotten content has led to him being honoured with several prestigious awards both in the UK and in the US.
Sabrina Qiong YU