China has been on the spotlight for its rapid urbanization and tremendous economic growth. Big cities form a major theme in the mainstream Chinese film industry. On September 13, we will explore a different China —far from the bright lights of Shanghai and Beijing—with independent film scholar Karen Ma and Columbia University professor Richard Peña to talk about Karen’s new book: China’s Millennial Digital Generation: Conversations with Balinghou (Post-1980s) Indie Filmmakers. The book charts some of the newest cinematic and societal trends to emerge from China since the year 2000. It also features extended conversations with seven young indie artists born in the decade of 1980s—China’s first generation to benefit hugely not only from life-changing new technology, including digital video cameras, cell phones and the Internet, but also an unprecedented film industry boom. Karen will explain her motivation for writing this book, and how Chinese film is far more than Hollywood style blockbusters or star-powered comedies such as The Battle at Lake Changjin, Hi, Mom and Detective Chinatown franchise. The post-1980s generation of auteurs, many from regional China, have focused their cameras squarely on China’s backwater towns, helping to shine a light on social concerns that are often missed in under-represented communities where tens of millions of Chinese still live.

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Date: September 13

Time: 6:30 pm

Cost: $10

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