The best of the Beijing Independent Film Festival, which was barricaded by officials in August 2014, comes to our shores this Summer thanks to a Kickstarter-funded repertory program in New York.
From August 7 to September 13, Cinema on the Edge will screen a selection of films intended to be shown at Beijing across venues including the Anthology Film Archives, the Asia Society, Maysles Cinema at the Maysles Documentary Center, the Museum of Chinese in America and UnionDocs.
“Seeing the empty shelves where they once had a giant collection of DVDs of experimental films and archives of their printed materials,” Shelly Kraicer, a festival programmer of Chinese cinema, told The New York Times, “was shocking. It made us want to go beyond expressions of solidarity.” Films and documents were seized last year when BIFF organizer Li Xianting was visited by police and local officials, who quickly brought the 10-year-old indie fest to an end at the behest of China’s state censors.
Cinema by the Edge comprises 28 films from BIFF’s 2012, 2013 and 2014 programs, including works by Ai Weiwei, Hu Jie, Li Luo, Zou Xueping and Yang Mingming that otherwise would have a hard time making it to the US, let alone onto screens in China’s fast-growing movie marketplace.
Organized by producer/distributor Karin Chien, critic/curator Shelly Kraicer, and filmmaker/anthropologist J.P. Sniadecki, the New York slate is divided into four categories: political films, historical films, female-directed films and experimental cinema, including documentaries, narrative features, shorts and animation. The ongoing Kickstarter campaign will fund programs and festival materials, and will help bring filmmakers and organizers to New York. More here.