Chinese Visual Festival London

This summer the eyes of the world will be on the London Olympics. 2012 is also the Year of the Dragon and the 2nd Chinese Visual Festival. This festival of film, art and music will hold its Opening Gala on June 22nd, the eve of the Dragon Boat Festival, at the Free Word Centre in central London and will feature the UK premiere of the film Dragon Boat.

Dragon Boat is the latest film by acclaimed director Cao Dan. Through the ancient Chinese sport of dragon boat racing, the film tells the story of rapid economic development in modern China and the resulting disappearance of rural traditions. Cao Dan will be making a personal appearance at the Gala for an audience Q&A session.

The 2nd Chinese Visual Festival runs from 22nd June to 6th July 2012 across four central London venues with the theme ‘Run, China, Run’, tying in with the 2012 London Olympics. Hosting the 2008 Beijing Olympics has affected Chinese society profoundly, far more than envisaged. This year’s festival looks at the ‘aftershock’ of the 2008 Beijing Olympics through a variety of Chinese films and art. China is now racing forward as if modernisation and development are Olympic sports, and in the pursuit of speed and applause ‘Run China Run’ examines what we have gained and what we have lost.

The film section will feature 17 independent documentary films from China in 4 themed units,‘August, Beijing’,‘When Home is no Longer Home’, ‘Here and There’, and ‘Zhou Hao – The Constant Documentarian’. As well as Cao Dan for Dragon Boat, we will be welcoming several other directors for audience Q&A sessions, including Wang Bang for University City Savages on 27th June and Guo Xiaolou for Once Upon a Time Proletarian on 6th July.

Performance by Wang Ting playing the Pipa

The Chinese Visual Festival will present its first Directorial Retrospective on 30th June, ‘Zhou Hao – The Constant Documentarian’, with his two most influential films, Senior Year and Using being shown at the Birkbeck College Cinema. Senior Year has proved an extremely popular documentary in China, focusing on the lives of students in their last year of high school, and depicting the hardships and pressure both they and their teachers endure.

In making Zhou Hao followed a real life low level drug dealer called Ah Long for 7 years, their relationship moving far beyond that of documentarian and subject. The powerful film has already attracted the attention of Hong Kong producers, who plan to make it into a feature.

The art exhibition this year will feature “Indoor Movements” by artist Wu Xiaohai and will be held in Frameless Gallery from 23rd to 30th June, just 5 minutes’ walk away from the Free Word Centre screening venue. The “Indoor Movements” series is a play on words, which mirrors the many movements in our lives, and the influence of these movements on our culture, the artist’s paintings specifically attempting to create a film montage effect. His work has been shown in many different countries, and his animation video Mum, I’m Sick, which was purchased by the French government for the national art collection, will be shown as part of the exhibition. Wu Xiaohai will be making a personal appearance at the festival, with an artist’s talk on the “Indoor Movements” series being held at Frameless Gallery on 25th June.


The Chinese Visual Festival aims to build an open platform for sharing different types of Chinese art and culture. This year we are very honoured to welcome the renowned Pipa musician Wang Ting, who will be holding a concert on 28th June as part of the Chinese Visual Festival Music Night at London South Bank University.

Wang Ting is a lecturer at the Music Department of Minzu University of China in Beijing and has won awards for her Pipa playing. At the Opening Gala and Music Night, there will be a Mandarin version of the classic musical “Sweet Charity”, performed by Boulevard Productions. Tickets: Admission Free for Art Exhibition, £6-10 /session for screenings or performances, with student concession and Festival Passes available.

Details and tickets for all events are available on the Chinese Visual Festival website:

Host: China Culture Connect Curators: Zhan Xuhua (Sylvia), Xie Jingjing (Christina) PR and Marketing: James Mudge, Rachel Zhu, David Crombie, Sisi Film Consultant: Wenlan Peng, Chris Berry Partners: English Pen-Free Word Centre, Confucius Institute for Traditional Chinese Medicine, London Southbank University, Birkbeck College, Frameless Gallery, CNEX, Guangzhou Documentary

Association Venues:

Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Rd, London Borough of Islington, EC1R 3GA

Frameless Gallery, 20 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DP

London South Bank University, RM VG10 Lecture Hall, K2 Building, Keyworth Street, SE1 6NG Birkbeck College Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD

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