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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Erica Moriarty at 2:05PM
Bo Wang, Chinese Filmmaker

Blog posting written by Erica Moriarty, Documentary Studies and Production '16, FLEFF Intern, Houston, Texas 

Hello FLEFFers! Can't make it to the FLEFF Lab in Park 220? No problem! I'm here live blogging to bring you the highlights!

And due to a last minute change, filmmaker Bo Wang, the first Chinese filmmaker to attend FLEFF, will be doing a presentation this hour.

Bo directed a film called China Concerto at 4PM and 9PM tomorrow at Cinemapolis. dGenerate films brings underground, new generation Chinese cinema out of China. This new generation of films emerged post-Tiananmen with a new, radical spin. 

"Set the stage for us and walk us through China," Dr. Patricia Zimmermann began the 

Bo described a brief history of China. After Mao died in 1976, the country began to adopt capitalism.

"It's been described as socialism with Chinese characters," said Bo. 

After 1989 and the incident at Tiananmen Square, a new movement emerged. It began with the avant-garde movement which was politically driven in the form of personal expression. However, many movies continued to be censored. In the 90s, many artist began making movies and used connections in the western world to distribute the Chinese independent filmmaking. 

In August, Bo attended a film festival in Beijing, one of the biggest in China. During this time, there was a significant party shift in Chinese government. 

Bo described the interruption by the government: "After a half hour of the festival beginning, the electricity was cut...There was a back and forth resistance from the festival, but eventually, the festival was shut down."

After the festival shut down, the films became even more independent, often being shown in artists' studios or houses. Therefore, Bo's film, China, was never shown in an actual festival.

Although he is very involved in Chinese filmmaking today, Bo did not begin college as a filmmaker. He originally planned to go into the sciences, but he felt that he could connect with people more through art and film. 

"I struggled with whether or not I wanted to pursue art or my research," said Bo. He spent one year continuing his work in the sciences, but in 2008, he came to New York for art school.
Bo shared one of his first landscape projects in which he shows the discrepancies in the Chinese landscape. You can see more at
China Concerto was made in Bo's hometown. The essay film examines propaganda and organized crime in China. 
"I do sense this pressure of if I tell this story too explicitly - will I get in trouble?" Bo shared. "So I decided to make this film in a personal essay format with some reflection and thoughts of what's going on."

"Do you worry about censorship at all?" asked a member of the audience.

"I'm not attacking any specific person or authority," answered Bo. "I also did not expect this film to have a public showing in China. I think it should be okay. It should be safe." 

In all of east and southeast Asia, the film screened at only one shut down film festival. We're lucky enough to have it this week at FLEFF! Come to Cinemapolis Saturday at 4PM or 9PM to learn more.

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