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American Filmmakers in China, Part II

by Bart Weiss 12 Dec 2011 4:35 PM

Guest Blogger Bart Weiss writes about his experience in China during the American Documentary Showcase. Here is his second post from the trip.


Bart meets the local authorities.

Guest blogger Bart Weiss is the Artistic Director of VideoFest. He will be blogging from China during his trip for the American Documentary Showcase. You can read his previous post here.

Saturday was officially a rest day, and I did get a good night’s sleep. We (Harrod Blank the filmmaker I am traveling with and I ) wandered around the streets near the hotel, encountering some kids playing with toy guns who were really cute. We happened on something that looked like an art fair with lots of work from galleries. But there were no English titles or markings, so I really don’t know much of what is there. I am actually suprised that there are lots of people who do not speak English – I was under the impression that China has a large group of English speakers. Later we had our first program, during which we screened Harrod’s film at the Cinematheque at MOMA. I loved the place – it was filled with films and posters about films and books about …  film.

After the film finished, we had a lively discussion, which was strange because we had a translator, which meant that everything that was said had to be repeated. It is amazing to hear how long something you talked about seems when you have to have it translated.

We were interested to see how this film about art cars would do with the Chinese , and it went over really well – they loved it. The first question asked was about the difference between China and the U.S. for art cars. And the questioner told us that there are laws in China about how you can paint your car, so these cars would not be street legal. There were several questions about how the film was made, but there were more questions about Harrod’s cowboy hat. The Q&A went well past the scheduled time, but nobody left.

Like I said, they loved the film.

After the screening, we went to an authentic dumpling house and had a nice dinner.

Tomorrow the IDOCs festival will finally start. Should be fun.

The audience at the Q&A