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New Chinese Documentaries: The Folk Memory Project


On October 19, the School of Media Studies, the India-China Institute, Parsons The New School for Design, and International Student Services will present an all-day program featuring documentary exploring the collective memory of the Great Chinese Famine as told by villagers who survived. The films will be presented by their creators.

Daytime events, which are only open to New School students, faculty, and staff will be held from 9:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Kellen Auditorium, 66 Fifth Avenue lobby. Filmmakers Luo BingZhang Mengqi, and Zou Xueping who are members of the 80-hou generation (born after 1980) will present their films, which have been showcased at festivals in China, Europe, and North America. After the screenings the filmmakers will be joined for a panel discussion by New School faculty Lei Ping, associate professor of Chinese Studies, Eugene Lang College; Zhijian Qian, part-time faculty in the School of Art and Design at Parsons The New School for Design and Eugene Lang College; and Deirdre Boyle, associate professor of Media Studies, The New School for Public Engagement who organized the day’s events.

The evening event, a screening of Treatment, the latest feature-length work by Wu Wenguang will be held from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. in Wollman Hall, Eugene Lang Building, 65 West 11th Street, 5th floor and is free and open to the public. In Treatment, Wu explores the emotions stirred by facing the filmic “resurrection” of his mother, who died in 2007, as he edited 12 years of footage.

Wu Wenguang is considered the father of China’s independent documentary movement. A prolific videomaker, performance artist, and writer based in Beijing, he is a founder of Caochangdi Workstation, where he teaches documentary production and curates festivals of new work. In 2005, Wu established the Village Video Project to document village life in China today. Out of this enterprise emerged the Memory Project, devoted to recording pivotal historical moments and movements in socialist China as recalled by village elders.

After the screening, Wu will be joined by the other documentary filmmakers Luo Bing, Zhang Mengqi, and Zuo Xueping, for a discussion of the Memory Project and the importance of recuperating collective memory for China.