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  7. Panel discussion: Community Construction and Space Generation in Chinese Independent Film

Panel discussion: Community Construction and Space Generation in Chinese Independent Film

With Zhang Yaxuan, Dr. Zhou Yunyun, J.P. Sniadecki and Chen Dongnan, moderated by Tang Xuedan (Echo)

Hybrid: In-person & Online

The representation of marginalized and minority groups has always been a focal point and narrative tradition in Chinese independent cinema. These works provide a series of portraits, either of individuals or groups, that not only present their daily living conditions in an extended time and space, but also reveal the connection between their survival and the society in which they exist. This connection may be discrete or folded , but in any form, it is clearly under constant compression. Yet at the same time, this pressure also implies a counterforce - struggle, resistance, and the liberation of subjectivity.

Through this panel, we hope to discuss the construction of the community and the generation of the space in Chinese independent cinema, so as to shed light on some underlying themes contained in these works: Is resistance possible? How can social identity as well as self-identity be be built? What kind of subjectivity is generated in this process? What potential relationships exist between cinema and present experience, and what role do independent filmmakers play in this scene?How does the production of (documentary)cinema extend practices of cultural analysis and reflection? We welcome you to join us!


Zhang Yaxuan is a film critic, a film curator and an independent film producer. She got her master degree from Beijing Normal University in 2000 and started her critical and curatorial practices in creative visual art since then. She has followed and witnessed the development of Chinese independent film in the past two decades, and has produced a large amount of reviews and interviews on this subject, published in various media.

Dr. Zhou Yunyun is an associate professor at the University of Oslo, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, Norway. She received her doctorate in Contemporary Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford. She is a political sociologist with a feminist analytical approach and is exploring the use of ethnographic films in her research. Her research focuses on gender and political institutions, feminism(s), affective governance in contemporary China. She is the co-founder of the Norwegian non-profit organization FRA ØST TIL NORD. 

J.P. Sniadecki is a filmmaker, anthropologist, and professor of documentary media at Northwestern University in Chicago. He works between the US and China as a filmmaker and anthropologist. From Chengdu demolition sites to New York City junkyards to the Sonoran Desert borderlands, he collaborates with people and places to explore film's capacity for transfiguration of the discarded and transgression of the status quo. His films are in the permanent collection of New York 's Museum of Modern Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Chen Dongnan is a filmmaker and graduate of the documentary program at New York University. Her debut film, THE TRAIL FROM XINJIANG, a profile of three pickpockets from China's far west, has been widely screened at festivals, universities and museums worldwide. SOUND OF VISION, an experimental short following a blind man’s exploration of New York was nominated for an Emmy award, premiered at HotDocs and broadcasted on PBS POV. SINGING IN THE WILDERNESS, her first feature documentary, is supported by Sundance, DMZ, Xining First International Film Festival etc.