Wu Wenguang and the Caochangdi Workshop Screening of “Children’s Village” and Post-Realism Seminar #6

CDAR hosted two events centered around the visit to University of California, Santa Cruz of Wu Wenguang, one of China’s leading independent documentary makers, and three artists (Zhang Mengqi, Li Xinmin, Zou Xueping) from the Caochangdi Workshop in Beijing.

Screening of Children’s Village (85 min., 2012)
Directed, Photographed, edited by: Zou Xueping
Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 at 7 pm
Followed by discussion with Wu Wenguang and the Caochangdi artists

“This film is the third one I have made for the People’s Memory Project, returning again to the same village. In the beginning of 2012, in winter, while continuing my interviewing there, I began investigating and gathering statistics on deaths during The Three Year Famine. I also began soliciting donations for a memorial for those who had died then. Kids from 10-15 years old voluntarily joined these activities, taking the video camera I gave them, visiting old folks, interviewing, and getting statistics, donations. This project gave them a first opportunity to learn about and appreciate their village’s history. With these “Little Angels'” help, I suddenly no longer felt alone in the village. I could see the future and its hopes. This film completes my three-film Zou Village Series.”
– Zou Xueping

CDAR Post-Realism Seminar #6
Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014,  10 am – 1pm,
An opportunity for in-depth discussion with the Caochangdi group on issues of documentary field work, remembering, and collective choreography.

 

The Caochangdi Workshop (CCD) was founded by filmmaker Wu Wenguang and choreographer Wen Hui in Beijing 2005, through Wu Wenguang’s film studio and Living Dance Studio. Wu and Wen aim to build a collaborative platform for the development of documentary and performance in order to foster young artists as and independent space. Since 2005, the workshop has created a series of projects for documentary and performance. In the summer of 2009, the workshop began a documentary film project to chronicle the events that took place between the “3 year famine” period of 1959 and 1961. By the summer of 2010, the project had gained twenty one participants, collectively creating the Caochangdi Workshops’s landmark “folk memory project.” These 21 participants traveled to their respective villages to interview and take notes for this event. Among the participants were people aged above 60, people with experience in making documentaries, theatre and other arts-related individuals, as well as university students.  By 2012, the project had increased to 103 participants going back to their villages for interviews, incorpoating more than 900 interviewees coming 18 provinces and 130 villages. Interview topics ranged from the “3 year famine”, the “Great Leap Forward,” the “Land Reform” and the “Cultural Revolution,” across different historical periods. This project is an experiment in the creation of folk memory archives.

Wu Wenguang was born in Southwestern China’s Yunnan province in 1956. After graduating from high school in 1974, Wu was sent to the countryside, where he worked as a farmer for four years. Between 1978 and 1982, he studied Chinese Literature at Yunnan University. After University, Wu worked as a teacher at a junior high school for three years, and later he worked as a television journalist for four years. Wu moved to Beijing in 1988 to become an independent documentary filmmaker, freelance writer and creator and producer of dance/theater. Wu has completed documentaries including Bumming in Beijing (1990), 1966, My Time in the Red Guards (1993), Jiang Hu: Life on the Road (1999), and  Fuck Cinema (2005). In 2005, Wu co-founded the independent art space Caochangdi Workshop with Wen Hui in Beijing.

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