Los Angeles Chinese Film Festival Special Virtual Panel ‘Documenting the Pandemic’

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Chinese Film Festival (LACFF), presented by the nonprofit organization Chinese in Entertainment, will host a special virtual panel “Documenting the Pandemic” at 7 PM PST on Friday, April 23rd.

Registration link for the panel:

In 2020, many documentaries and investigative reports were produced about the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. To deliver the most objective stories, many filmmakers went to the frontline of the pandemic—Hao Wu and Hao Zhou are two of them. Wu and Zhou document the stories of the real people who confronted this unprecedented challenge head-on, sharing their lived experiences through the camera’s lens. With its harrowing, direct depiction of the crisis on the ground in Wuhan, Hao Wu’s 76 Days was shortlisted for the 2021 Academy Awards. Golden Horse Awards winner, Oscar member Hao Zhou will also share his experience while filming Wuhan Factory (working title, in post-production).

LACFF invites these two directors to share their experiences of making the film and their stories behind the camera. Experienced film critic, scholar of modern Chinese literature, and Golden Horse Award judge Professor Michael Berry will join the panel as well and discuss his translated book Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City (2020). Rebecca Davis, the China bureau chief of Variety will serve as the moderator of the panel.

Xinwen Chen, project manager of the event: “The COVID-19 pandemic is a topic of great concern to everyone. This time we are honored to have these influential guests with diverse cultural backgrounds to bring us views from different perspectives. We believe the exchange of views will be very engaging and can inspire our audience to think more about this topic. At the same time, we also hope that the audience can pay more attention to the documentary, to understand the stories that are distanced from their lives, to feel, to think, and maybe to make a difference.”

Introduction of event guests

Panelist: Hao Wu

Hao Wu studied in the Department of Biology at the University of Science and Technology of China, and later studied abroad in the US, obtaining a master’s degree in biology from Brandeis University and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Wu has worked at well-known Chinese and American companies such as American Express, Excite@Home and Alibaba. At the end of 2011, he resigned as the general manager of the world’s largest travel website, TripAdvisor China, to devote himself to documentaries, writing, and filmmaking.His documentary films have received funding support from the Ford Foundation JustFilms, ITVS, Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, NYSCA and international broadcasters. His previous feature documentary, People’s Republic of Desire, won the Grand Jury Award at the 2018 SXSW. His All in My Family, a Netflix Original Documentary Short, launched globally in May 2019.

76 Days, Wu’s latest work, captures the struggles of patients and frontline medical professionals battling the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan. It had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2020. Distributed by MTV Documentary Films, it was named a Critic’s Pick by The New York Times, nominated for the Gotham Independent Film
Awards, and shortlisted for the 2021 Academy Awards.

Panelist: Hao Zhou

Hao Zhou is a documentary filmmaker who worked as a journalist for more than a decade. He has been producing documentaries since 2001, and his award-winning work has been screened at film festivals around the world more than a hundred times. His 2014 film Cotton won Best Documentary at the 51st Golden Horse Film Festival. In 2015 his film The Chinese Mayor won the Special Jury Award for Unparalleled Access at the 31st Sundance Film Festival, Best Documentary at the 9th Asian Film Awards, and won Zhou the Best Documentary award for the second time in a row at the 52nd Golden Horse Film Festival. In 2020, he became a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The documentary Wuhan Factory (working title) he filmed during the pandemic documents the resumption of work at Lenovo’s Wuhan Industrial Base after the pandemic, and explores how a Chinese company can find a way of developing globally against the background of Covid-19. Wuhan Factory (working title) is currently in post-production.

Panelist: Michael Berry

Michael Berry is a translator and author who is Professor of Contemporary Chinese Cultural Studies and Director of the Center for Chinese Studies at UCLA. He has written and edited eight books on Chinese literature and cinema, including Speaking in Images: Interviews with Contemporary Chinese Filmmakers (2006) and A History of Pain: Trauma in Modern Chinese Literature and Film (2008). He has served as a film consultant and a juror for numerous film festivals, including the Golden Horse (Taiwan) and the Fresh Wave (Hong Kong). A two-time National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellow, Berry’s book-length translations include The Song of Everlasting Sorrow: A Novel of Shanghai (2008) by Wang Anyi, shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, To Live (2004) by Yu Hua, a selection in the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read library, and Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City (2020) by Fang Fang. He was a consultant and screenwriter for film production companies,
and he was also a judge for the Dream of Red Chamber (Hong Kong), Golden Horse Film Festival (Taiwan), and Fresh Wave (Hong Kong).

Michael translated Fang Fang’s Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City (2020). He has been invited by Yale University, Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, and Washington University in St. Louis to give lectures on Fang Fang’s Wuhan Diary.

Wuhan Diary is an online diary written by Chinese writer Fang Fang about the life of the people of Wuhan, China during the Wuhan lockdown during efforts to quarantine the center of an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and stop from spreading. An English translation of the diary, titled Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City, was published
in book format by Harper Collins in June 2020.

Moderator:Rebecca Davis

Rebecca Davis is Variety’s first China bureau chief, part of the organization’s expansion of its international coverage. She has worked as a multimedia reporter for AFP, Le Monde and the New York Times. Rebecca is a former fellow with the Princeton-in-Asia, Tow Foundation and Davis Projects for Peace programs. She can speak fluent English, Mandarin, and French, and intermediate Spanish.

Los Angeles Chinese Film Festival®
The Los Angeles Chinese Film Festival committee is devoted to finding and curating high-quality original films from all over the world, focusing on works produced by the Chinese language or heritage community. The programming features a balanced selection of feature-length and short films, including narrative, documentary, and experimental filmmaking

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic limiting the feasibility of large gatherings for the remainder of 2021, we will be postponing the next in-person edition of the Los Angeles Chinese Film Festival to 2022.

In lieu of a physical festival, we will be curating a series of online events to continue our mission of highlighting great films from the Sinophone community and fostering filmmaking talent. Our virtual screenings will explore the breadth of what is considered “Chinese cinema” through thematic programming that showcases formats such as animation and documentary, and perspectives including women and ethnic minority-led narratives. Alongside our screening program, we will host virtual roundtables with filmmakers, critics, and scholars. We will also launch a brand new screenwriting competition with an open call for submissions in April.

For more LACFF lineup announcements and event information, please visit lacff.org.

Chinese in Entertainment
Chinese in Entertainment is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization based in Los Angeles, California with a branch in Beijing, China. Our mission is to connect and empower talent from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Chinese descent or heritage of the Chinese diaspora, and to promote Chinese culture in the global entertainment industry.