ACF Asian Cinema Fund

Asian Network of Documentary(AND) Fund

2009 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund

LIST Karamay
Category PIFF Supporters Fund
Project Karamay
Director XU Xin
Country China
Director's Profile Xu Xin, an independent filmmaker, was born in Taizhou City, Jiangsu Province, China in 1966, and is now based in Nanjing. Since 2002, he has produced six documentary movies including [Ma Pi], [Carriage], [Fangshan Church], [Torch Troupe], and [The Bridge]. He has been invited to several film festivals around the world, for example, Sheffield International Documentary Festival in Britain, the Chinese Independent Documentary Exhibition in Berlin, and the 3rd Beijing Documentary Film Festival.
December 8th, 2007, in the morning, Xiaoxihu cemetery of Karamay is covered by a cold hue of grey-blue. With a first fixed long take of six minutes the film starts. Then, the camera moves from a grave to another, focusing on the innocent face of a child in the photo on every tombstone. Thirteen years ago, the Municipal Education Committee of Karamay organized at the Friendship Hall a reporting performance for the delegation of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Education Committee. During the performance, a terrible fire broke out and caused the tragic deaths of 323 people, most of which were school children between the ages of six and fourteen. All local government officials present at the event managed to escape and survived. On the evening a single candle was burning in the dark in front of the Friendship Hall’s Remaining facade, in memory of all the victims in Karamay Fire.
Director's Note
The Karamay Fire happened on December 8, 1994, and the famous slogan “Let the leaders go first” was born that day. The reason I started to shoot this film originated from a discussion with Zhu Rikun, the producer of Karamay. As once I was a teacher, I was really shocked by the government and media attitudes towards the victims and their relatives when this man-made disaster happened. I went to Xiaoxihu cemetery in Karamay alone on December 8th and met some parents, thus came the first long take of the film. The shooting then went on secretly in Karamay, Urumqi, Beijing, Shanghai and other cities. This film aims to invite people to deeper thinking. During the production process, I realized that in China, this kind of disaster may happen to everyone at anytime without warning.
2010 Hong Kong International Film Festival - Documentary Competition
2011 Cinema du Reel International Documentary Film Festival
Still Cut