Beijing is one of the fastest growing urban sprawls in China with over twenty million people and rising. It is becoming clear, however, that change is coming at the expense of cultural heritage, equal opportunity, and quality of life. Kapital Creation tells the story of artists, musicians, architects, and writers striving to bring new direction to Beijing's race to modernize, and we need your help to film the final chapter.
Beijing: An Unsustainable Precedent
The Chinese state uses Beijing to advocate for “modern” and “civilized” lifestyles that give rise to “harmonious” municipalities, but their tactics are unsustainable. Such propaganda seemingly ignores the 250 million people expected to move into cities across China by 2025. The largest infrastructure buildout in the history of mankind will continue unabated.
Beijing is now caught in the first consumer wave of a new China that faces widespread resource depletion, exponentially higher energy use, and fierce pollution. The country will be forced to lean on an already overburdened planet in order to sustain the sheer immensity of such growth.
Beijing: A Creative Capital
Beijing is also home to a burgeoning number of creatives confronting its transformation into a greater metropolis. It is the intellectual epicenter of the largest country on the planet. We are talking to people at the top of their respective fields, especially those who are trying to bring new meaning to their urban environment. So far we have interviewed the following subjects for the film:
- Artists: Ou Ning/欧宁, Cao Fei/曹斐, Ai Weiwei/艾未未, Xia Xing/夏星, Zhang Dali/张大力, Yao Lu/姚璐, Wang Jinsong/王劲松
- Musicians: Chen Xi/陈曦 (Snapline), Yang Haisong/杨海崧 (P.K.14), Helen Feng (Nova Heart), Zhang Shouwang/张守望 (Carsick Cars), Huo Dong/华东 (ReTROS), Xiao He/小河, Wordy, Fox Pang/庞宽 (New Pants), MC Webber
- Architects: Yung Ho Chang/张永和, Ma Yansong/马岩松, Ole Scheeren, Jie Hu/胡洁, Jake Walker, Daniel Gass, Neville Mars, Liu Chang/刘畅
- Writers/Pundits/Curators: Chan Koonchung/陈冠中, Rania Ho, Michael Pettis, He Shuzhong/何戍中, Phil Tinari, Kaiser Kuo, Karen Smith, Bao Dong/鲍栋, Elaine Ho
Beijing: A City at Odds
In order to elicit the ongoing upheaval in Beijing, Kapital Creation moves through visual and narrative fugues that mash together sweeping urban landscapes, candid interviews, underground concerts, bustling hutong scenes, studio visits, as well as historical and contemporaneous media footage. The unrelenting pulse of the capital drives those who question the propaganda regarding its development and strive for a different future. This is Kapital Creation.
WHO WE ARE
Matthew Niederhauser spent six years living in Beijing while photographing urban development and the rise of a consumer culture across China. His work on these subjects has been featured in The New Yorker, National Geographic, Wired, The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Policy, and Time Magazine amongst many others. He also published a monograph on Beijing's punk music scene entitled Sound Kapital.
John Fitzgerald is a critically acclaimed director/cinematographer based in New York City and Rio de Janeiro. He has created work for a diverse range of clients such as The World Wildlife Fund, Coca Cola/Burn, The Discovery Channel, Tribeca Film, Sony Records, Henri Bendel, and has shown his videos and installations in a number of group and solo shows at galleries and museums in the US, Brazil, Italy, Bolivia, Panama, and Argentina.
Close friends since high school, John brought fresh eyes to Matthew's extensive knowledge of Beijing. Over the course of three rounds of self-funded production this past year, the two have compiled a large archive of compelling footage. Some of those highlights are found in the Kapital Creation teaser above.
KICKSTART KAPITAL CREATION
We want the world to hear this story, no matter the price. Funding has come out of our own pockets so far, but now we need your support to finish the film. Your contributions will help with the following costs:
- Continued use of a Canon C300 camera
- Final round of production in Beijing this spring
- Post-production (editing, sound mixing, visual effects, color grading)
- Dynamic website for extended interviews and concert footage
- Procuring music rights (from Beijing musicians of course)
- Festival submissions
Lastly, the more we raise, the more we can also invest in speciality equipment for aerial filming and stabilized motion capture. We are complete gear heads and computer nerds who want to capture the chaos of Beijing in the most technically elaborate ways possible. Although we are extremely pleased with the material shot thus far, improvements in our production capabilities would really capture the urban spectacle that is Beijing. Every dollar raised beyond our funding goal will only make Kapital Creation that much more of an immersive visceral experience.
WHY WE NEED YOU
What is occurring in Beijing right now is absolutely critical, not only for the future of China, but also the rest of the world. This is a unique chance to support a grassroots film delving into a momentous urban transformation. It's time to show what is happening in China's capital through the eyes of those exploring the possibility of a different future.
Thank you for your time and support.
Your contribution can get you a multitude of rewards including awesome t-shirts and temporary tattoos, a one-of-a-kind Beijing punk care package, live music from bands in the film, limited edition photographic prints, your name graffitied in the city, a chance to taste Chinese delicacies with Matthew and John in Queens, or witness the madness of Beijing yourself with the filmmakers while shooting their final round of production this spring. Check out all the items on the right.
Photographs from this section were taken while shooting Kapital Creation and can be acquired as limited edition prints. See the rewards sidebar for more details.
Risks and challenges
We are very confident that Kapital Creation will be brought to completion. The core of the film is already shot, and we just need to do one more round of production in the spring to fill in all the gaps after editing this winter. Plus, with these funds, we can undertake some specialty filming with quad-copters and stabilization equipment. Lastly, we are already getting a lot of support from friends who will donate time and resources to post-production. We feel very fortunate to have so many people interested and excited about the project. Hopefully you will join us on this adventure. It's going to be awesome.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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