A bureaucratic nightmare lies at the center of Johnny Ma’s debut feature “Old Stone,” which examines the old adage of how no good deed goes unpunished from the lens of China’s corrupt healthcare and criminal justice system. The film follow cab driver Lao Shi (Chen Gang) who accidentally swerves and hits a motorist when a drunken passenger distracts him. Though he drives the victim to the hospital, he soon finds himself liable for the man’s medical bills. On the verge of losing everything, Lao Shi resorts to desperate measures in order to stay afloat. Watch an exclusive clip from the film below.
After a career in mergers and acquisitions in business and fashion, Ma turned to documentary filmmaking in 2008. Graduating from Columbia University’s M.F.A. in Directing/Screenwriting, and a recent alumnus of the 2014 Sundance Institute Screenwriting/Directing Lab, Ma’s short films screened in Toronto and other international festivals, garnering him a DGA Student Award, and a nomination for Best Live Action Short Drama at the 2014 Genie Awards. He is currently developing his second feature project also set in China.
“Old Stone” first premiered at this year’s Berlin Film Festival in February. It later screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it won Best Canadian First Feature Film, the Stockholm Film Festival, where Ma won Best Director and Best Screenplay and AFI Fest. It’s currently playing at the IFC Center in New York, courtesy of Zeitgeist Films.