Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An Evening with the Activist Documentary Filmmaker Ai Xiaoming

Documentary filmmaker, academic and activist Ai Xiaoming filming recently in Beijing. All images Dan Edwards.
Recently I was privileged to spend an evening with the academic and documentary filmmaker Ai Xiaoming, a key figure in China's network of activists employing digital video to put stories on screen the Chinese authorities would prefer remained out of sight.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pyongyang Cinemas – a Peek into North Korea

Kim Il-Sung pictured above the performers at the Mass Games in Pyongyang, August 2010. The picture backdrop constantly changes throughout the performance and is formed by thousands of school children holding various coloured boards. Image Dan Edwards.
I recently took a break from the hustle and bustle of Beijing with a brief trip to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea – more commonly known as North Korea. Unfortunately I didn't see any local films – unless you count the teeth-grindingly dull propaganda videos were were shown at every museum – but we did catch glimpses of a couple of Pyongyang cinemas.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

China's Blockbusters: Selling Tickets and Whitewashing History

Kindly old Uncle Mao takes time out from the civil war to play with a couple of kids in a field full of flowers. A heartwarming image from The Founding of a Republic.

Apologies that Screening China has been a little quiet of late. I've been extremely busy with work at the Beijinger, a slew of freelance articles and some traveling. There are a couple of holidays coming up here in China, so I'm hoping I can use that time to do some catching up. I've got lots to post about!

To get things rolling again, here is an article I recently had published in The Diplomat, a current affairs magazine based in Japan covering the Asia and Pacific region. The piece is a look at China's recent state-sponsored blockbusters like Aftershock and Founding of a Republic, and the rampant protectionism the Chinese state maintains to help shore up the success of these locally-made studio films.