China’s Next Generation: Actor-turned-director Daming Chen On Making It In China

From Digital Content Producer:

At 17, Daming Chen was expelled from the Peking Opera School for fighting with the principal’s son. He was acquitted, but he could not return to school. In 1988, he graduated from Beijing’s prestigious Film Academy. Before directing his first movie, he spent eight years working as an actor in Los Angeles. He is the writer/director of two films: Manhole (2004) and One Foot Off the Ground (2006).

millimeter: Please describe the next generation of filmmakers in China. I’m asking about artists who are just starting out and have made at least one or two movies.

Daming: The new generation is called the seventh generation, but most the generations of filmmakers were referred to graduates from the Beijing film academy. But since many filmmakers weren’t necessarily a BFA graduate, I think they don’t use this term anymore.

What are the influences on these new filmmakers? Popular culture, Western movies, Hong Kong movies from the past?

I think it’s a hybrid influence: Hollywood films, European films—but not many Hong Kong films. The older generation of Chinese filmmakers were influenced by European films, like those from the French La Nouvelle Vague and neo-realist directors. The younger generation has been influenced by Hollywood films, American indie films, and also European films since you can get pretty much everything on DVD. Clearly, the rapid social and economic changes the Chinese have been subjected to in recent times are having a strong impact on the younger filmmakers as well. In recent years, many films focus on the transformations of new China. So there are multiple influences.

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