Filmmaker Wu Wenguang Seminar | Chinese Independent Documentary Film


Seminar with Wu Wenguang, Zhang Mengqi, Zhang Ping, and Liu Xiaolei 

Tuesday November 22,2016  7-9 PM, Communications 139 

Please RSVP to Prof. Yiman Wang ( to reserve a place in the seminar.

co-sponsored by Porter College, Film + Digital Media, the Institute for Arts and Sciences, and Cowell College. 

Wu Wenguang is a foundational figure of Chinese independent documentary film and cofounder of the Caochangdi Workstation in Beijing. In 2010, Wu launched the multidisciplinary and collaborative Folk Memory Project to document the gathering of oral histories from the rural survivors of China’s Great Famine (1958-1961). In the past six years, the project participants have interviewed 1,220 villagers in 246 villages spread across 20 provinces. Wu and three of his collaborators will be on campus for two public events: a night of film screenings followed by a Q&A with the directors, and a hybrid media performance, Reading Hunger, that combines theatre, documentary and oral history. The CDAR seminar will be for in-depth discussion with faculty, graduate students and advanced undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz and other Bay Area universities.


SCREENING on NOV 21st, 2016 at 7pm, Comm 150 (Studio C)

InvestigatingMyFather.stillInvestigating My Father

Directed, edited by Wu Wenguang

80 min. /2016

Investigating My Father is a film made by a son to investigate his father’s history to see how he changed from a man of the “old society” to a man of the “new society” after 1949. It documents the son’s investigation into his father’s history prior to 1949. The film chronicles the unfolding story between a father and a son.



SelfPortrait.ZhangMengqiSelf-portrait: Dying at 47 KM

Directed, edited by Zhang Mengqi

77 min. /2015




This is the fifth documentary I created in my village “47 Kilometer” since 2011. My grandpa passed away in 2014. What does the village mean to me without my grandpa? I started to search for stories about death in the village: some are of unnatural causes, some are bizarre, and some are results of hatred. In the daily life accompanied by so many deaths, how should I understand death?”



TrueBeliever.LiuXiaoleiA True Believer

Directed, edited by Liu Xiaolei

80 min. /2015

Five years in the making, this documentary started in the direct cinema style, yet spiraled into a self-reflective engagement with the pickpockets (with spotlight on a Uyghur boy) and the anti-pickpocketing organization.




NoLand.ZhangPingNo Land

Directed, edited by Zhang Ping

40 min. /2015 This is my first film work, exploring the possibility of making a narrative out of photography and sound. It is centered on my father, once persecuted as an anti-socialist, now an aging man digging his own grave in his home village.




Wu Wenguang, commonly recognized as the founder of Chinese independent documentary, also known as the New Documentary Movement. He is a Beijing-based independent documentary maker, freelance writer, and creator and producer of dance and theater since 1988. Wu’s documentaries include Bumming in Beijing (1990), 1966, My Time in the Red Guards (1993), Jiang Hu: Life on the Road (1999), Fuck Cinema (2005), Treating (2010), and Investigating My Father (2016). In 2005, Wu co-founded the independent art space Caochangdi (CCD) Workstation with a dancer and choreographer, Wen Hui, in Beijing. The Caochangdi Workstation has fostered two major ongoing collaborative documentary-theater-oral history projects: The Village Documentary Project (launched in 2005) and The Folk Memory Project of China’s Great Famine (1958-1961) (launched in 2010).

Zhang Mengqi, a resident artist at CCD Workstation since 2009, after graduating from the Dance Academy of China Minorities University. She has created and completed the “Self-portrait Series,” consisting of Self-portrait with Three Women (2010), Self-Portrait: At 47 KM (2011), Self-portrait: Dancing at 47 KM (2012), Self-portrait: Dreaming at 47 km (2013), Self-portrait: Bridging at 47 KM (2014), and Self-portrait: Dying at 47 KM (2015).

Xiaolei Liu, participant in The Folk Memory Project since 2014, has completed a documentary, A True Believer (2015). Liu graduated in TV editing and directing from Liaoning University, worked at DDATV, founded a culture and media company, and then engaged in producing advertisement, documentaries, and feature films as a freelancer.

Zhang Ping, writer, painter and filmmaker, participant in The Folk Memory Project since 2013, and has completed her first documentary, No Land (2015).

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