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An unsustainable precedent. A city at odds. A creative capital. A documentary examining Beijing's rampant development. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on February 20, 2014.

An unsustainable precedent. A city at odds. A creative capital. A documentary examining Beijing's rampant development.

About this project

THE FILM

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 YorkerNational GeographicWiredThe New York Times MagazineForeign 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.

REWARDS

Beijing Smokestack - 20"x30" & 40"x60" - Editions of 8
Beijing Smokestack - 20"x30" & 40"x60" - Editions of 8

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.

The Forbidden City - 20"x30" & 40"x60" - Editions of 8
The Forbidden City - 20"x30" & 40"x60" - Editions of 8
Xizhimen Traffic Interchange - 20"x30" & 40"x60" - Editions of 8
Xizhimen Traffic Interchange - 20"x30" & 40"x60" - Editions of 8
The Temple of Heaven - 20"x30" & 40"x60" - Editions of 8
The Temple of Heaven - 20"x30" & 40"x60" - Editions of 8
CCTV Tower - 20"x30" & 40"x60" - Editions of 8
CCTV Tower - 20"x30" & 40"x60" - Editions of 8

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.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    38 backers

    Get on the Kapital Creation mailing list, receive behind-the-scene updates of the project, plus a DIGITAL THANKS on Facebook and Twitter.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    60 backers

    Receive a signed Kapital Creation 8"x10" poster, 3 temporary tattoos (an architectural Beijing design), and a special thank you on the website. + everything above!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    21 backers

    Receive a one-of-a-kind mix tape (digital download) from live concert soundboard recordings by local Beijing bands included in the film. + everything above!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    30 backers

    Receive a Kapital Creation t-shirt, get a personalized postcard from production HQ in Beijing, and SPECIAL THANKS credit in the film. + everything above!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    9 backers Limited (41 left of 50)

    The Kapital Creation CHINESE PUNK CARE PACKAGE (spicy peanuts from Beijing, baijiu local fire water, authentic Beijing band t-shirt, Chinese gangster temporary tattoos, and original DIY copy of Matthew Niederhauser's photo book Sound Kapital). + everything above!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    19 backers Limited (31 left of 50)

    Leave your mark on Beijing! We will graffiti your name somewhere in the capital, take a photograph, and send you an 8"x10" image. + rewards #1 to #5!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    10 backers Limited (15 left of 25)

    Four invitations to a private friends and family screening of Kapital Creation in either New York City, Los Angeles, or Beijing - you choose. (Travel/lodging not included.) + rewards #1 to #5!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    8 backers Limited (2 left of 10)

    The filmmakers will take you and a friend out for a one-of-a-kind Beijing-style dinner in Flushing, Queens. (Travel to NYC/accommodations not included. But we'll pick you up from where ever you live in the 5 boroughs and drop you off afterwards). + rewards #1 to #5!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $800 or more

    5 backers Limited (35 left of 40)

    Receive a limited edition, exhibition-quality print from Kapital Creation locations around Beijing (20"x30" / Edition of 8 for each). You can choose from one of the photographs at the bottom of information page. + rewards #1 to #5!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,400 or more

    3 backers Limited (37 left of 40)

    Receive an over-sized, limited edition, exhibition-quality print from Kapital Creation locations around Beijing (40"x60" / Edition of 8 for each). You can choose from one of the photographs at the bottom of information page. + rewards #1 to #5!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    3 backers Limited (1 left of 4)

    Receive of a set of five, exhibition-quality prints from Kapital Creation locations around Beijing (40"x60" / Edition of 8 for each). Plus you will receive an Associate Producer credit in the film! + rewards #1 to #5!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $10,000

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    An exclusive tour of Beijing and set visits during the next round of production in early spring. 5 wild days in the city. You purchase the flight - we pick you up at the airport and cover the rest! Matthew has been living in Beijing for 6+ years, and, as John can attest to, he's the most amazing tour guide around. You will receive the KAPITAL CREATION FAN PACKAGE in person! Plus you will receive an Executive Producer credit in the film!

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (34 days)