This China Now: Independent Visions tour is modelled on how independent cinema is exhibited in China today. Savvy programmers, producers, and filmmakers have taken to organizing informal networks of screenings to get their works into distribution. In China, packages of new indie films are circulated to an ad hoc collection of art galleries, campus screening clubs, and enterprising independent art spaces, through China’s first, second, and third tier cities, finding local audiences through a new model of grassroots, artisanal exhibition circuits.
That’s what we propose to do with China Now: Independent Visions. We are making available the complete package of 29 Cinema On The Edge curated films to venues around the world, and working with their curators and programmers to tailor a selection suitable to each venue.
The films we are bringing to audiences around the world are a collection of illuminating documentaries, brilliant shorts, and spellbinding fiction features from the last four years of Chinese independent cinema. Independent Chinese filmmakers are inventing new ways of mobilizing, adapting, and innovating film languageunder pressure from the incredibly rapid and fundamental changes Chinese society is undergoing. These films do various things: intensely engaged meta-journalism, alternative history-making, genre-defying performance/documentary art hybridization, and visually playful experimentalism. All of the films interrogate how cinema art can and should stand against the real, all stretch cinema art under the pressure of seemingly un-representable new Chinese realities, and all invent images and sounds that try to keep up with a present that is changing before our eyes. And it’s not just Chinese realities. China now is actively engaged with and is shaping our own future at the same time.