WU Wenguang, one of the founding figures in Chinese independent documentary, brings three young filmmakers from China to present their collective work, “the Memory Project.” The project is based at Coachangdi Workstation in Beijing. From there, young filmmakers fanned out to return to family villages and their own pasts, real and imagined, to inquire about The Great Famine of 1959-61 — a disaster of whose memories have been actively abandoned by the state. Aiming to create a “folk memory archive,” the project, which combines documentary films, oral history records, and live performances, presents an alternative narrative of Chinese history than the one written in official textbooks. As these young filmmakers search for the distant memory from an old generation that is still living in rural poverty, their encounter with the past reveals as much about the wish for memory as of memory itself and of the interesting role of film in such projects of retrieval..
Time: November 1 (Saturday), 1 pm- 5 pm
Location: LANGLEY HALL A224
Screening and Discussion
Discussants: Jinying Li, Neepa Majumdar, Robert Clift
(1:00 pm - 2:16 pm) Huamulin, Boy Xiaoqiang (2013, 76min) Directed by Li Xinmin
(2:30 pm - 3:55 pm) Children's Village (2012, 85min) Directed by Zou Xueping
(4:10 pm - 5:00 pm) Discussion with filmmakers Wu Wenguang, Zou Xueping, Li Xinmin, Zhang Mengqi and Pitt faculty Jinying Li, Neepa Majumdar, and Robert Clift.
Huamulin, Boy Xiaoqiang (2013, 76min)
Directed by Li Xinmin
The filmmaker’s statement:
This film is about a four-year-old boy, Xiaoqiang. His mother, Xiaoqun, is just of my age. I filmed Xiaoqun and her family last year. This year I went back filming her son Xiaoqiang who I found so interesting. We hung out together and picked up garbage in the village, witnessing the real life of old villagers and the damage they did to the environment.
Children's Village (2012, 85min)
Directed by Zou Xueping
The filmmaker’s statement:
In the winter of 2012, I returned to my village to continue interviewing elderly villagers. Meanwhile, I began investigating and gathering statistics on those who died during the Great Famine. I also started fund-raising to build a memorial for those who died. Many village children, from 10-15 years old, voluntarily joined these activities. They took the DV camera I gave them, visited old folks, interviewed them, and collected statistics and donations. This project gave them their first opportunity to learn about and appreciate the history of their village. Assisted by these "little angels," I no longer felt lonely in the village. I started seeing hope for the future. This film forms an important part of my Zou Village series.
Zou Xueping was born in Bingzhou City, Shandong Province, in 1985. In 2009 she graduated from the Department of New Media at the China Academy of Fine Arts. She is currently a resident artist at Wu Wenguang's Caochangdi (CCD) Workshop in Beijing. She has completed a documentary series centered on her home Village, including Mom (2008), The Starving Village (2010), Satiated Village (2011) which won an “Award of Excellence” at Beijing Independent Film Festival 2012, Children's Village (2012) and Trash Village (2013).
Li Xinmin was born in a mountain village in Yunnan Province in 1988. Her formal education stopped at the fifth grade due to poverty. At the age of 16, she began working as a migrant worker in the city to provide for her rural family. Since 2007, she has been working in CCD Workstation and completed documentary films Back to Huamulin (2011), Huamulin 2012 (2012) and Huamulin, Boy Xiaoqiang (2013).