Visual Storyteller. AR/VR Experience Designer
Screenshot 2015-08-06 11.26.34.png

Watson Fellowship

Cineaste: Back to the Underground

I've published a feature article in the Cineaste summer issue detailing the effects of censorship on independent film in China. It's titled Back to the Underground: A Year of Chinese Film Festival Shutdowns. Here's a short excerpt:

This summer I went to Beijing to attend the 12th annual BIFF and explore some alternative cinema outside this year’s otherwise poorly received domestic theatrical releases produced within the state sponsored studio system. Upon arrival in Beijing, information on the festival was painstaking to find, even in Chinese. One phone call on the supposed day of the festival revealed that it would not take place at all. When I pressed for further information, the woman quietly said on the phone “It’s inconvenient for me to talk right now.” A raucous argument broke out in the background. “I have to go.” Clack.

It should have come as no surprise: BIFF has had a slew of troubles over the past few years. At the 9th BIFF film festival in 2012, the power supply was cut to the main venue by authorities and participants were told to leave. In a scramble volunteers at the festival handed out free DVDs to guests as they left. In the summer of 2013, around 25 students at the LXT Film School were rounded up and imprisoned in a nearby hotel for twenty-four hours. They were brought meals and incessantly questioned by police before being escorted to the train station and told to return to their respective homes. The film school was subsequently organized in a secret location outside Beijing.

If you're in a metropolitan area, chances are you can get your hands on the magazine or you can order online directly here