About this project
- Who are we?
We’re Ting (China, NYU '12) and Adam (UK, Stanford '12), two filmmakers currently based in Beijing, China. We want to kick start our fundraising efforts for the production of our first feature documentary "The Land of Many Palaces". We were drawn to working together due to a mutual desire to explore the unprecedented changes occurring in Chinese society through documentary film production, a belief in cross-cultural collaboration, and a hope to foster a better understanding of China abroad.
- What is the documentary about?
It all began when a Time magazine photo essay (http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1975397,00.html), about the new city of Ordos, that was been built on the back of enormous coal wealth in a remote part of China, grabbed our attention. The city became famous for been a ghost town, until recently when new residents started to arrive.
We traveled to the city in 2011 to see if there were stories worth following, with funding from the Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts and the Stanford Center for Graduate Student Engagement. After this, and one additional scouting trip, we decided to embark upon a feature length documentary project about Ordos.
In the local language Ordos means “the land of many palaces".
(From left to right: Hao Shiwen, Yuan Xiaomei, and Wang Xuecun)
The film is about the allure of urban life in China, set against the backdrop of the new city of Ordos. We are following three characters who represent various facets of the dream of urban life, whether these be governmental, familial, or personal:
Xiaomei, a young government official responsible for the relocation of farmers to the new city, and their education about how to become new urban citizens, Shiwen, a herdsman who sells his land to a coal mining company and moves his family to the new city with the compensation money he receives, and Wang, a taxi-driver who arrived in Ordos in search of over night wealth. The city itself, beating with new construction, and an influx of new residents, will serve as a 4th character.
- Why are we making the film?
We believe that there is a desire to understand more about China abroad, and that there is a demand for documentaries that illuminate the unprecedented changes and situations present in this country. Ordos represents many of the current issues and scenarios China is grappling with, and we feel the documentary will be of great interest to audiences interested in China, urbanism, and migration. The film will focus on the human experience and dreams being pursued in Ordos, so it will speak to a general audience as well.
- What will the money be used for?
The money will be used to cover production expenses. We are trying to achieve the highest production values possible on a limited budget:
- Cinematography... we will rent an HD camera with accessories and carry them all the way from Beijing to Ordos. The transportation of bulk equipment also adds cost.
- Sound... even though it's a small team, we plan to rent professional sound recording equipment for all the shoots. We boom, and we use a wireless microphone on our main characters in order to get the best quality of sound possible.
- Travel... Ordos is 770 km from Beijing, so we fly to Hohhot - the capital of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and then drive 5 hours to Ordos. Once in Ordos we use a car to get from one shooting location to another. There are also gas costs and highway taxes.
- We will hire a local fixer.
We’ve managed to keep expenses down by being based in Beijing rather than outside the country. We plan to go on three production trips during 2013: a 2-week trip in May, a 3-week trip in September, and a 10-day trip in November.
The amount we set on Kickstarter we can surpass, as our production expenses will be much greater. The idea behind this Kickstarter campaign is just to get us started, and to let the foundations we are applying to know that people want “The Land of Many Palaces” to be made.
- How does this Kickstarter campaign work?
- When can you expect the delivery of your gifts?
Just click the green “Back This Project” button! You will be asked to enter your pledge amount and select a reward. “The Land of Many Palaces” is a UK based project, and the amount is shown in Great British Pounds. There’s no extra fee charged for backers if a pledge is made in dollars or any other currency. You’ll see the exact amount deducted through Kickstater on your credit card statement. If our project is successfully funded, your card will be charged when the project reaches its funding deadline on April 21, 2013. If the project does not reach its funding goal, your card will never be charged. You don’t have to have a US or UK credit card to back our project. Anyone, anywhere (with a major card such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express etc) can pledge to Kickstarter projects.
You can help by donating here on Kickstarter, sharing our project with friends, ‘liking’ us on Facebook, and ‘following’ us on Twitter. Your help means A LOT to us.
Depending on the package you select: regular updates via email (and of course on our blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account) during the production, post-production, and completion stages of the documentary, gifts via mail throughout 2013, and completed DVD’s and screenings of the film from fall 2014.
- When will the film be finished?
- The Team:
We plan to wrap the production up by the end of 2013, and go into 7 months of editing and post-production from January 2014. We hope the film will be finished by mid-summer 2014, ready to submit to film festivals. We plan for the film to tour film festivals throughout 2015.
Ting is a Chinese filmmaker. She went back to China in 2012 and has been working for co-production films. As a director, her short films have been selected for competitions at film festivals such as Hawaii International Film Festival and Los Angeles Asian American Film Festival. She was selected to attend workshops at the Busan International Film Festival 2011 and Golden Horse Academy at Taipei Golden Horse International Film Festival 2011. Before going to Tisch, Ting worked for the leading financial company PriceWaterhouseCoopers as Associate Auditor and worked as an integral part in several auditing teams that assisted media and entertainment companies during their IPOs. Ting will get her MFA degree in Film Production from Tisch School of the Arts New York University in 2013. She holds dual BAs in English Literature and Finance from University of International Business & Economics (Beijing)
Know more about Ting at:
Adam Smith (Director, Producer)
Adam is a filmmaker from England, currently based in Beijing China, where he teaches fine art studio practice at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. To date he has directed five short films: "DubaiWorld", "The Diner", "Love & Allegiance", "Shangri-Li", and "Role Play". His documentaries have screened at film festivals throughout America, including: Starz Denver Film Festival, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Phoenix Film Festival, Palo Alto International Film Festival, and San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. His film "Role Play", about the challenges immigrants face pursuing their acting careers in Hollywood, won 'Best Culture Documentary' at the International Student Documentary Competition, and "Love and Allegiance", a film about military weddings in Las Vegas co-directed with Tijana Petrovic, was a Student Academy Award finalist. He holds a BA in Fine Art, and an MFA in Documentary Film from Stanford University.
Check out more information about Adam on his Stanford profile: http://art.stanford.edu/graduate/mfa-documentary-film/student-projects/2012/adam-smith/Kathy Huang (Production Advisor), graduate of Harvard and Stanford, director/producer of “Tales of the Waria”, and current Blakemore fellow at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Tim Crowley (Artistic Advisor), graduate of University College London and Chelsea College of Art, curator of “Reasons We Still Need Superman”, and current head of Historical and Critical Studies at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.
Indie Choudhury (Editing Advisor), graduate of Cambridge, previous curator at the Tate, and current PhD at Stanford.
- Learn More:
Learn more about the film and our production trips by following us on:
Or please feel free to email us with any questions or thoughts you might have at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for making this documentary possible!
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Risks and challenges
We understand that making a documentary in China is challenge, but we feel it is achievable given our experience as filmmakers, and our past experiences living and working in China. We also think that because of the nature of our collaboration, and with it being cross-cultural, we have developed a way of working in China that is efficient and effective.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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