Chinese Documentary Festival 2017

Visible Record announces The 10th Chinese Documentary Festival

To mark the 10th anniversary of the Chinese Documentary Festival, Visible Record announces a compelling lineup of film screenings and public events. The Festival will open on 9 September, 2017. Festival Prelude took place in July and August.

The first Prelude programme was "The Future of Hong Kong Documentary" seminar held on 21 July. Four fresh and distinct voices of local documentary filmmaking, including directors Ma Chi Hang, Chan Hau Chun, Chui Chi Yin, and Wong Siu Pong had an engaging conversation about the joys and travails of the artistic process. They also shared with the audience candid thoughts on future challenges in the field.

The second Prelude programme was "Shen Ko-shang's Journey of Sight and Sound", held on 6 August. The director's critically acclaimed documentary A Rolling Stone and feature film End of A Century: Miea's Story were screened. After the screenings, Shen gave a talk on his creative life, in which he presented his commercials, to demonstrate his multi-faceted cinematic skills.

The Chinese Documentary Film Festival will open on 9 September. The programmes include Competition (Shorts and Features); Hong Kong Selection, The New Taipei City Documentary Awards Selection, International Selection, and Retrospective of films from the previous Festivals.

The Shorts and Features Competition includes 13 films from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Local productions in the Shorts Competition include Call Me Mrs Chan, co-directed by Chan Hau Chun and Chui Chi Yin about the endless toil of a cleaning lady, and This is The Man Fu directed by Tse Nga In, in which the filmmaker tries to get to know her estranged father by filming his life. Other shortlisted entries include four works from Taiwan: Happy Birthday advocates the benefits of natural childbirth; About the maritime drifters records the struggles of foreign fishermen; Cheng Hsing Tse's 48 hours chronicles a death row prisoner's release after a decade-long struggle for freedom, and BRIGADE27 portrays a Taichung voluntary brigade that resisted the Kuomintang army after the 2.28 Massacre. Craftsmen of Coffin is an entry from Gansu, China that shows the increasingly obsolete craft of coffin-making.

The Features Competition includes six titles, of which two are from Taiwan and four from China. Taiwan entries include Small Talk, a mother-daughter dialogue on mum's sexual orientation, and Boys in Pixelation, a moving story about juvenile delinquents from Taoyuan's Halfway House. Competing Mainland titles include We the Workers, an investigation of union struggles in a wharf; Old Couple and Old House, a tale of an old villager's effort to save his village from demolition orders; Factory Youth, an examination of the everyday lives of factory workers in Shenzhen, and Songs from Maidichong, a testimony of the Miao ethnic group's strong Christian faith under brutal repression.

This year, the Festival continues our collaboration with The New Taipei City Documentary Awards and will screen four of their award-winning films. The presence of these filmmakers at the Festival will continue to foster cultural exchange between the two cities.

Continuing the Festival's 10th anniversary celebrations are the new Festival programmes, International Selection and Retrospective. The International Selection will be the Hong Kong premiere of five documentaries from Europe, India, Myanmar and Thailand. These films are of diverse styles and contents: A Family Affair is a story about complicated and tragic family history; We Come as Friends depicts how the African continent is exploited by rich foreign countries; Cities of Sleep portrays the survival tactics of the destitute homeless in India; Sinmalin follows a Myanmarese migrant family working in Thailand, and My Leg documents a group of disabled army veterans turned prosthesis makers in Myanmar.

The Retrospective programme presents seven outstanding and popular shortlisted titles from previous Festivals, including four films from China: Though I Am Gone, Survival Song, Emergency Room China as well as Farewell, Beijing and three from Taiwan: Someday, My Fancy High Heels and The Moment.

During the Festival, three seminars will be held. On 10 September, "The Craft of Storytelling" welcomes Taiwanese veteran producer Gary Shih and winners of The New Taipei City Documentary Awards as guest speakers. On 12 October, "The Future of Chinese Independent Documentary" will invite Mainland directors in competition to discuss the prospects of documentary under the influence of state politics and the market economy. On 15 October, "On the Road with Taiwanese Documentary" will feature directors in a dialogue about the relationship between the commercial market and artistic creation in Taiwan, which has a developed commercial distribution network in place.

Winners of the Shorts and Features Competition will be announced at the Festival Awards Ceremony on 14 October.

Following the 228 Incident, Taichung citizens occupied the police station, seizing weapons to form Brigade 27 to fight against the KMT.

Mrs Chan, a cleaning lady collecting garbage for the entire building, works over 10 hours each day. Not only must she make a tough living, she is also looked down upon on by others.

Two sisters tried to revive midwifery as a profession while advocating for the right of natural birth for pregnant women.

A father who walked out on his family years ago suddenly falls ill and is hospitalised. The director decided to film this stranger whom he calls Dad, in an attempt to get to know him better.

With few masters of coffin making left in Gansu, and with the government advocating cremation, this traditional trade is fast dying.

Cleared of a murder of a policeman he didn't commit and released after 14 years, Tse Hsing Tse finally returns to society a free man.

Facing a labour shortage, the fishing industry hires huge numbers of South Asian workers. Their poor salaries and lack of proper protection is a source of labour conflicts.

Millions of rural youths work in factories in Shenzhen. By following their daily lives, the film tries to understand the inner world of these young workers.

China's ship manufacturing industry is world-class, but the rights of the workers remain those of a third world country. The film describes the difficulties faced by the underground labour union activists.

A daughter finds she has nothing to say to her androgynous looking mother, much less discuss the topic of sexual orientation. A secret became the key to opening up their hearts and conversation.

The youth home takes in hundreds of problem adolescents in the hopes of guiding them back on track in life. Some succeed, some fail.

Our retired protagonist doesn't like housework, leaving everything in the hands of his aging wife. He later turned his focus to protecting his home from being demolished and making his small village a tourist spot.

Even though the Miao Christians living in the Yunnan hills faced persecution for their faith during the Cultural Revolution, they struggled to preserve the practice of hymn singing.

An illness-ridden centenarian wants to rid herself of pain, only to realise she is not in control of her own life and death.

The story of three families taking care of ailing parents, revealing how helpless and distressed people are when they are faced with death.

These short films featuring Cheung Chau residents, and their joys and sorrows, are the works of the graduates from 2016's Master Class.

As the two young directors making a film out of the lives of three Vietnamese people run into many difficulties, they start to examine the nature of documentary.

A Hong Kong pastor serving an LGBT church in Taiwan gives LGBT Christians a safe place to continue their worship.

Despite the odds stacked against him, a son is determined to follow his late father's footsteps as a medium.

Middle aged, bankrupt and divorced in Taiwan, Lao Xue attempts to make a 'comeback' by starting all over again in China.

An old market with 50 years of history is facing demolition. The shops need to tackle all kinds of obstacles as they move out.

The African continent has had a history of exploitation by rich countries. The director flew over Sudan in a light plane to understand this ravaged piece of land.

Handicapped Burmese soldiers of different races, who survived landmine explosions, open a prosthetics factory to help themselves and others.

The poor in India's Delhi can barely find food, let alone find shelter for the night.

The director's father was abandoned as a child by his supermodel mother, and they now see each other as strangers. The director tries to look inside the concealed world of his evasive grandmother.

A pair of newlyweds from Burma work as foreign workers at the border of Thailand. Though life is tough, they are contented with their simple life.

In the snowy hills of the Changbai area, a homeless man finds shelter at a hunter's home, forming a strange family of three.

A young student who heeded the call of Chairman Mao to move to the country side during the Cultural Revolution, now returns to his hometown after 40 years to find himself homeless.

The Golden Horse Awards, established over half a century ago, has been a major stage for the glorious history of Chinese language films.

In early spring, young calves are skinned for their leather in North Eastern China. By year-end, the leather is made into fashionable heels available for sale in New York.

During the Cultural Revolution, the principal of an elitist secondary school in Beijing was beaten to death alive. The husband kept a portrait of his dead wife, determined to see that justice is served.

With all kinds of chaos every day, the ER in Guangzhou is a microcosm of society.

Grandmother is diagnosed with dementia. She is now well cared for by her daughter who is determined to reciprocate her mother's dedication to the family over the years.

Screening Schedule

Date Time Venue Film
9/9 (Sat) 7:30 pm SM 310 Tung Chau Street* + Call Me Mrs Chan* + This is the Man Fu
10/9 (Sun) 7:30 pm SM Songs from Maidichong
  7:30 pm SP The Shepherds + Miracle + Migration Revelation* + The Boss*
16/9 (Sat) 7:30 pm SP Cheng Hsing Tse's 48 hours + About the maritime drifters + Happy Birthday
24/9 (Sun) 2:30 pm AC We Come as Friends
  4:30 pm AC A Family Affair
  7:00 pm AC We the Workers*
  7:30 pm SP Survival Song
26/9 (Tue) 7:30 pm AC Farewell, Beijing
27/9 (Wed) 7:30 pm AC Boys in Pixelation
28/9 (Thur) 7:30 pm AC A Family Affair
30/9 (Sat) 7:30 pm SP Emergency Room China
2/10 (Mon) 2:00 pm SP Factory Youth
  7:30 pm SP Cheung Chau Diary 2016*
5/10 (Thur) 2:00 pm SP Craftsmen of Coffin + BRIGADE27
  4:30 pm SP Sinmalin + Someday
  7:30 pm SP Old Couple and Old House
7/10 (Sat) 7:30 pm SM My Fancy High Heels + Though I Am Gone
8/10 (Sun) 7:30 pm SP The Shepherds + Miracle + Migration Revelation + The Boss
9/10 (Mon) 7:30 pm GC Small Talk
  9:20 pm GC The Moment
10/10 (Tue) 7:30 pm AC My Leg + Cities of Sleep
11/10 (Wed) 7:30 pm AC Yau King + Snuggle
  8:00 pm GC We the Workers*
13/10 (Fri) 7:30 pm AC Songs from Maidichong
14/10 (Sat) 2:30 pm AC 310 Tung Chau Street* + Call Me Mrs Chan* + This is the Man Fu*
  5:30 pm AC Award Ceremony
  7:30 pm AC Small Talk*
  7:30 pm SP Old Couple and Old House*
15/10 (Sun) 2:30 pm AC Factory Youth*
  7:00 pm AC Craftsmen of Coffin* + BRIGADE27*
  7:00 pm SM Cheng Hsing Tse's 48 hours + About the maritime drifters + Happy Birthday*
  7:30 pm GC We Come as Friends
  9:40 pm GC Boys in Pixelation*
18/10 (Wed) 8:00 pm GC My Leg + Cities of Sleep
19/10 (Thur) 7:30 pm AC Yau King* + Snuggle*

*Q&A session with the director


AC Hong Kong Arts Centre
Address: 2 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
SP Hong Kong Space Museum
Address: 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
SM Hong Kong Science Museum
Address: 2 Science Museum Road, Tsimshatsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong
GC The Grand Cinema
Address: 2/F, Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon Station


Visible Record
Tel: 2540 7859

Ticketing Information

Screenings at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong Space Museum and Hong Kong Science Museum

Booking Counter: URBTIX Outlets
Regular Ticket:$70 / $50*
Ticket of We the Workers and Factory Youth:$100 / $75*
* Full-time students, senior citizens and 60 or above, people with disabilities and the minder and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients

Screenings at The Grand Cinema

Booking Counter: The Grand Cinema Box Office
Regular Ticket:$90 / $65*
Ticket of We the Workers:$100 / $75*
* Full-time students, children aged 11 or below and senior citizens aged 65 or above

Visible Record
Tel: 2540 7859

Seminar Schedule

Date Time Venue Topic Guest
10/9 (Sun) 3:00 pm 光華 The Craft of Storytelling Gary Shih, Yu Kuang-chong and Lin Huan-wen
12/10 (Thur) 7:30 pm RT The Future of Chinese Independent Documentary He Rong, Liu Lu, Wen Hai and Xie Xiuyuan
15/10 (Sun) 8:15 pm SM On the Road with Taiwanese Documentary Angel Su, Mimi Chen, Huang Hui-chen and Lee Li-shao

* The seminar will be conducted in Mandarin. Free entry. Please register phone, email or at


光華 Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Centre
Address: Suite 4907, 49/F Central Plaza,18 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
RT Rooftop Institute
Address: 10/F, Foo Tak Building, 365 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
SM Lecture Hall, Hong Kong Science Museum
Address: 2 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Visible Record
Tel: 2540 7859