Chinese Independent Cinema Observer is a bi-lingual peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the study of Chinese independent films and film culture. It publishes twice a year on the official website of Chinese Independent Film Archive (CIFA).
Chinese Independent cinema has been at the forefront of socially-engaged and artistically-innovative filmmaking in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) since its emergence in the 1990s. Marginalised and largely inaccessible domestically, this cinema has nonetheless functioned as a dynamic counterweight to official discourse around art, truth, history, reality and ethics, while simultaneously exploring alternative spaces, places, voices, and images that have been ignored or misrepresented in mainstream Chinese media. An independent exhibition culture, developed since the beginning of the twenty-first century, has further expanded the public space for these films, facilitating the formation of a unique film culture that has attracted critical acclaim and international attention.
Building on the existing English and Chinese-language scholarship and critical discourse on Chinese independent cinema, our journal aims to revisit established concepts, theories, and narratives; tease out new themes, topics, and directions; encourage diverse forms of critical engagement; facilitate transnational knowledge exchange; and hence contribute to the advancement of the study of Chinese independent cinema. Our journal provides space for both Chinese and English-language criticism, film reviews, interviews and video essays, and strives to bridge academics and the general public, film critics and filmmakers, and sinophone and anglophone readers. Our journal will also provide a platform for graduate students around the world to publish their work. We draw on, but are not restricted to, the materials collected in the Chinese Independent Film Archive. The editorial team is made up of twelve film scholars and/or independent filmmakers from six different countries who are eager to push the boundaries as a team and to create a journal that is inclusive, retrospective, creative and interactive.