China (mainland), FESTIVALS / EVENTS, NEWS — 12/12/2011 9:23 AM

Mainland China: successful re-start for Guangzhou Documentary Festival / GZDOC

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For its new start under the administration of Guangzhou city government, the Guangzhou Documentary Festival 2011 (5 to 9th december 2011) has been a very successful event in all its dimensions: festival and awards, pitching sessions and seminars.

A new start

With its 2011 edition, GZDOC had a new start.

. The event is now organized by the Government of Guangzhou City (Culture and Media Bureau) with the strong support of China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT).

. China (Guangzhou) International Documentary Film Festival has been chosen as the only international documentary film festival in China, with the aim to become a key platform for domestic documentaries to engage in international exchanges. The festival has been upgraded from a “convention” to a “festival”.

. As a prove of its strong support to the domestic documentary industry, the SARFT granted the awards of “the SARFT Supportive Project of 2011 Domestic Documentary and Production Talents” at the opening ceremony of the festival and rewarded excellent domestic documentaries, outstanding documentary production talents and top documentary production and broadcasting organizations with five million Chinese yuan for the first time.

. China Central Television (CCTV) ’s full and in-depth participation in the festival for the first time greatly boosted the role of the festival as a publicity platform. CCTV formally launched its documentary channel on January 1st, 2011.

. In order to boost the efficiency of this new cooperation platform,  the festival has invited not only experienced producers from well-known TV production organizations in the United States, France, the UK, Japan and South Korea to be jury members, but also many famous international producers and directors to attend various forums and specialized market activities held during the festival. A total of 41 foreign industry insiders from 17 countries have been invited to be jury members and guests, including Nigel Marven, the world’s top wildlife documentary producer, John Lindsay, vice president of American KCTS Public Broadcasting Service, Marcel Golding, CEO of South Africa ETV, Sakura ONO, senior producer at Japan’s NHK, and Kenny Kihyung Bae, senior producer at South Korea’s KBS.

According to the organizers, “These famed international guests’ presence symbolizes the strong international influence of the festival and offers favorable opportunities for excellent Chinese documentaries to showcase themselves to international buyers, which will boost Chinese documentary films’ “going out” into the world.”

 . For a better involvement of the audience, 48 films have been chosen  for public screening during the festival. They have been screened at universities and in communities, cinemas, rural areas, industry zones and many other places for 363 session times from November 28th to December 20th. Both the session times and the audience number of the public screenings grow dramatically compared to those in the last session.


GZ DOC 2011 Prizewinners

Among the 65 entries, 11 docs have received awards including 3 from China, 2 from Asia outside China (Australia, Iran), 4 from Europe (Denmark, Germany, Poland, Spain ) and 2 from other parts of the world (Canada).



Grand Prize

Name of Film:Argentinean Lesson
Country of Production:Poland
Director(s): Wojciech Staron

This film presents the vagrant life and troubles of two families with a vast panorama. The film features naturalness, exquisiteness, and mild but with passion. The scenes of the film are real and smooth, sober but also poetic. While giving a vivid picture of the cruel reality and unfairness in life, the film also reveals the warmth and merit of human nature.

Jury Prize

Name of Film:The Next Life
Country of Production:China
Director(s): Jian Fan

This film pays homage to the lives of the future as well as the past, because that’s what we have and we are willing to save other’s life with our own. This film praises the bitterness as well as the sweetness of life, because that’s what we have and we can explain another one’s life with it. This film presents us the very profound human life with plain language.

Best Documentary on Society & Humanity

Name of Film:Nastyas Hjerte
Country of Production:Denmark
Director(s): Lise Birk Pedersen

This film is about a teenager’s hard life in an extreme condition. In the realistic society, people has always been put labels by others with their indifference. However, with human beings’ inner heart of love as the limitless energy, we could overcome all hardships and lead the disadvantaged girl to win her independence and dignity.

Name of Film:Inside Lara Roxx
Country of Production:Canada
Director(s): Mia Donovan

This is a world full of hunting for stimulation and losing any sense; a world full of hunting for benefits and losing any humanity. Lara Roxx, a girl of 21, dreams to find her new life in this manhood stimulated world. Unfortunately, once a sex show before the lens made her the AIDS victim. However, AIDS is not the deadly hurt for her. After she entered this world, she found that she was thrown into a world full of deception and selfness. This really made her feel desperate. She had to have a new status with her weak body and begin a new life. This film almost records her special life without any distance which could see the courage and sincerity of both the protagonist and the author.

Best Documentary on Wildlife & Environment

Name of Film:Baboon Bandits
Country of Production:Germany
Director(s): Herbert Ostwald

The winning film – Baboon Bandits – follows the exploits of the Smit Gang. An extended baboon family that makes its living stealing food from dwellings, restaurants and tourists’ cars on Tabletop Mountain in Cape Town South Africa. The jury found the film funny, affectionate and very watchable whilst at the same time delivering real insights into baboon behaviour.

Name of Film:What a Salty Lake was My Lake!
Country of Production:Iran
Director(s): Hassan Ghahremani

This film records that the size of the salty lake is enlarging and the salty water is turning to sweet water, which incredibly causes the flood. In form, it is inconsistent; in content, it fails to tell the cause of the phenomenon and the scientific basis of the process, pointing out that it has certain relations with the atomic power plant. Yet, its significance lies in that it unveils its existence of such phenomenon on earth. The jury hopes that through this film, the phenomenon can go public and draw the attention of the scientists to find out the cause. By then a more persuasive film would be made.

Best Documentary on Science & Technology &Education.

Name of Film:Keep on Rolling (The Dream of the Automobile)
Country of Production:Spain / Andalussia
Director(s): Oscar Clemente Galan

It successfully visualizes the dream of automobiles with outlook, imagination, and desires of the experts from various fields. On top of that, its styles attracted the jury’s attention by using animated cartoons.

Name of Film:New Technology of Sturgeon Artificial Breeding
Country of Production:China
Director(s): Yue Gu

It follows an improvement on breeding sturgeon artificially with detailed pictures, efficient interviews, and accurate narrations. We can also see the passion of scientists for the new technology which will help consumers enjoy the rare fish more easily.

Best Documentary on History & Culture

Name of Film:Lost Years
Country of Production:Canada(Filmed in Canada, China, USA, New Zealand, Australia)
Director(s): Kenda Gee & Tom Radford

Lost Years reveals a life story and emotional experiences of four generations in the family of Kenda Gee, the author of this film, through his root-seeking journey. Soaked in a yearning home sickness, it truly reflects the culture gene of Chinese and the 150-year Chinese dispersion. This film is a personalized epic, featuring a delicate structure and a vivid but calm narration.

Name of Film:Mrs. Carey’s Concert
Country of Production: Australia
Director(s): Bob Connolly & Sophie Raymond

Mrs. Carey’s Concert also followed the fortunes of Chinese People abroad. In this case a very talented 15 year old violinist Emily. Issues of adolescence, peer pressure, compliance and rebellion are closely observed as the Sydney Girl’s school prepares for a major classical concert at the world renowned Opera House. The jury found the film well shot and edited and expertly structured which together delivered an engaging and ultimately moving portrait of its young subjects.

Best Multimedia Short Documentary Film

Name of Film:My World on Bus
Country of Production: China
Director(s): Zimu Zhang

Black and white images and English voice-over draw the audience out of the reality. It is also an eye of discovery of a softened world where a bus could be a stage, and passengers, actors, with meaningful faces and story-telling shoes. It shows a dramatic, dynamic and wonderful city you’ve never known.

The jury was composed of Woo Chong-Taek (South Korea / KBS), Steve Hewlett Biog (UK / The Guardian), Michel Noll (France / ICTV), Kitagawa Satoshi (Japan / NHK), He Suliu (China / China Documentary Research center), Liu Xiaoli (China / TV & Doc Academic Committee) and Chen Xiaoping (China / CCTV Doc Channel).

New doc projects pitching

25 new doc projects were selected by the organizers to be pitched in front of international commissioning editors. Among them, 10 were finalists of the DocuMart. We will soon present these projects in detail in our EADn projects database.

GZDOC invited the following commisioning editors: Marcel Golding (South Africa / eTV), Flora Gregory (UK), Kenny Kihyung Bae (South Korea / KBS), Margaretha MA de Koning (Netherlands / Ikon), May-Yi Lee (Taiwan / National Geographic), Han Lei (China / DocuChina – SMG), John Lindsay (USA / KCTS-PBS), Qiu Ning (China / Guangdong Tv), Sakura Ono (Japan / NHK),  Patricia Schlesinger (Germany/NDR).

Seminar & conferences


Different conferences and seminars were also organized during the 5 days of the Festival.

. CCTV Doc Channel presented its international coproduction new policy

. Guangdong TV have set up the documentary network in Guangdong province

. French director and producer Jacques Perrin, one of the special guests of GZDOC 2011, met Chinese independent producers

. A panel discussion was organized between English and Canadian producers and one of the major Chinese online video network Sohu.


Special mention to the organization (very efficient and friendly), the venue (not too large to allow more communication among the attendees) and the quality of the social events (especially the wednesday wedding dinner).

Related posts:

Filmmaker tracks Khmer Rouge killers to learn the truth
UK / Pakistan productions on top !
HK Film Festival 2012 includes 4 doc films in its competition
Zeitgeist acquires Canada/China doc "China Heavyweight"
Sundance embraces documentary film on girls adopted from China (Washington Times)

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