INTERVIEWS, NEWS — 11/03/2010 10:44 AM

Hengqi GUO (China) : “I welcome European partner for my next doc”

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Hengqi GUO just won the Pusan Documentary Award. The emerging new director and producer accepts to answer the questions of EAD.

You have just won the Pusan Doc Award. How do you feel ?

With “New castle”, it’s my first international award. I’m so exiting. And it’s a big encouragement for my next projects.

What is your own story ?

photo-director-new-castle-sm-sizeI was  born in 1979 in Shanxi Province, China. I studied Post Production in Beijing Film Academy in 2006. I worked as an assistant editor on Ai Weiwei’s documentary Fair Tale (2007), and as the editor of Bing Wong’s documentary Crude Oil(2007), which was the film installation of the 2008 International Film Festival Rotterdam, and in January 2008, as the editor of Chi Zhang’s drama film Ubu Roi(2008), which was collected by the 2008 Seoul Film Festival Committee.

“New castle” is your first documentary as director ?

Yes, it is. As director, I shot my first film “New Castle” during February 2008 and April 2010.

What Is the story of “New Castle” ?

new-castle-piffNew Castle is a remote rural village where houses and mountains have been distorted due to excessive mining. Under the “New Village”campaign, all the villagers will be moved into the nearly completed Luxury Buildings. The documentary depicts the life of two groups of people, miners and villagers.

The miners who are from all over the country, lost their jobs because of the Olympic Games in Beijing – the mine was shut down to make the air less polluted.

new-castle-miners-sm-sizeThe villagers had no better luck. Granny Fan lost two sons and two grandsons in a mining accident. Old Han and Old Wang are still farming. Some youngsters are gambling in the house of Han Bin, who was crippled in another mining accident. In the film, you can also see the village election, the service of local Christians, and people worshipping for a better year to come.

In a declining mining town, as uniform, modern buildings replace the town’s simple beauty, a future promised by The New Castle approaches us like a mirage.

It’s a very hot topic with Chilean and Chinese minors accidents. Did you had problem with Chinese government to shoot and produce your doc ?

Yes its a hot topic in our country but i had no problem with Chinese goverment.

How did you produced it ? alone or with partners from China or other country ?

As we do very often in mainland China for the documentary production, I produced it all by myself. I directed, shooted, edited alone.
Have you shown  “New Castle” in mainland china ?

Yes, it has been shown in Beijing Independent Film Festival last year.

Do you have new projects ? about which subject ?

Of course that’s my life !  I am thinking to do a new documentary about chinese education. I hope i will be able to do it soon. The Pusan Award will encourage me and maybe will help me to find partenrs and support.

Are you looking for partners in Europe ?

Ye I DO wanna a partner in Europe. It can be a producer or a broadcaster. Such a partner could help me to make my documentary and to promote it abroad.

Would you like to show / screen your docs in Europe ?

Yes, of course. I really want to, if there has some chances.

“New Castle” GUO Hengqi (China)

“For the PIFF Mecenat Award for Best Asian Documentary, the jury recognizes a courageous film which brings dignity to the people it observes, despite the severe difficulties of their daily lives. Skillfully filmed and edited by a first-time director, GUO Hengqi, the award goes to NEW CASTLE.”

[The New Castle] has slow rhythm to the story. Unlike most documentaries dealing with undifferentiated development and the sacrifice of individuals and local communities, there is no sense of criticism or aggression. As the camera silently follows workers and residents who are concerned with making a living, this documentary conveys power and the sensation of a drama. As uniform, modern buildings replace the town’s simple beauty, a future promised by The New Castle approaches us like a mirage. (CHO Young-jung)

PIFF Award website’s page

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