Asian Cinema Fund 2018

2013 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund

Project Datong
Category BIFF Supporters Fund
Project Datong
Director ZHOU Hao
Country China
Director's Profile Zhou Hao, born in 1968, started his career as a photographer for China’s national news group Xinhua News Agency and Southern Weekly, the country’s most influential weekly newspaper. His debut documentary “Hou Jie Township” (2001) won the Black Pottery Award (Best New Professional Reward) at the Yunnan Multi-Culture Visual Festival. He went on to direct “Senior Year” which won the Humanitarian Award for Best Documentary at the Hong Kong International Festival in 2006, followed by Using, which clinched the Asia Award the Taiwan International Documentary Festival 2008. Zhou Hao was invited as jury of the Chicago International Festival 2007 and the following year, jury of the Taiwan International Documentary Festival and Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival in 2009.
 
Synopsis
Datong, located on the Loess Plateau, was an ancient capital of China 1,600 years ago. During China’s open and reform period, it became a coal mining boomtown. But decades of rampant mining choked the city in soot, depleting resources and stagnating the economy, earning Datong a reputation as one of the world’s ugliest cities. Charismatic Mayor Geng, stepped into power in 2008, cutting a striking contrast to the lackluster predecessors who had failed to lift Datong out of crisis. Geng believes that the future for Datong’s population of 3.5 million people lies in its ancient past. His radical reform plan is to demolish 140,000 houses, relocate 500,000 people to recreate Datong’s Ancient capital city side by side with a new solar energy industry.
Director's Note
I have been doing documentary films for 11 years. Before that, I worked in one of China’s top media as a journalist for 10 years. My feelings about this country are very complicated. I love it as deeply as I hate it. What kind of mode does this country take to develop? What kind of relationship is it between the government and the people? For years, topics like these always seem very interesting to me. Two years ago, when Mayor Geng Yanbo allowed me to get into his city and his work, I knew this is a chance. I hope the film will give a chance for audience to think the dilemma between development and protection, and who will have the rights to decide.
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