IDFA Special Jury Award for First Appearance in memory of Peter Wintonick
Official Selection 2017 Sundance film festival
2014 Sunnyside of The Doc Best Politics & Society Pitch Award
Best Director Award For One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival (2017)
Best film on Sustainable Development For Millenium Film Festival (2017)
FULL FRAME ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD For Full Frame Film Festival (2017)
Grand Jury Award winner for Best Documentary Feature - Asian International of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (2017)
Taipei Golden Horse Awards Nominated For Best Documentary (2017)
Taipei Golden Horse Awards Nominated For Best Film Editing (2017)
Newspaper articles on Prince William’s grand wedding is the magic cape for the kids; eye patches from the Qantas Airways is the protection mask for the workers; a Dutch SIM card brings in a message of “Welcome to China” once inserted to a cell phone. Welcome to the land of “Plastic China.” As the world’s biggest plastic waste importer, China receives ten million tons per year from most of the developed countries around the world. With high external costs impacting the local environment and health, these imports are reborn here in these plastic workshops into “recycled” raw materials for the appetite of China - the world factory. This waste is then exported back to where they came from with a new face such as manufactured clothing or toys.
PLASTIC CHINA’s main character Yi-Jie is an unschooled 11-year-old girl whose family works and lives in a typical plastic waste household-recycling workshop. As much as her life is poor and distorted, she’s a truly global child who learns the outside world from the waste workshop that her family lives in and works in - also known as the “United Nations of Plastic Wastes.” She lives her happiness and sorrows amongst the waste,, as well. Small packs of discarded instant black powder tells her the bitter taste of “coffee”; the English children’s learning cards teach her words like “summer” and “father’s day”; and brokenBarbie dolls are her best friends to talk to. This is her world.
Her father has promised to send her to school five years ago but not yet delivered on it. Instead, he spends his hard-earned money from the plastic workshop on alcohol. However, Yi-Jie keeps her wish alive of going to school one day, and we see her holding her playful campaign towards learning and schooling. Will she succeed to sit in a classroom and learn? Or will she succeed her parents as an illiterate laborer in the recycling workshop? What is her future?
Kun, the owner of this household-recycling workshop, represents money, power and the educated class for Yi-Jie. He looks down on Yij-Je’s family, but also depends on them to do the dirty labor that nobody else wants to do. Often, he teaches Yi-Jie to read and write, when he is in a good mood.
Kun works day and night, and ignores the physical and mental health problems of his own family and himself, just to save for a sedan car like any other factory boss in the region. He’s afraid of being looked down upon and owning a car is the status symbol of being successful in the world.
Following these families’ daily lives, PLASTIC CHINA explores how this work of recycling plastic waste with their bare hands takes a toll not only on their health, but also their own dilemma of poverty, disease, pollution and death. All of this to eek out a daily living.
PLASTIC CHINA also unveils the true face of China. The current world image of the growing China prosperity is similar to that of plastic surgery – fake and fragile with uncertain consequences. People lose their mind over this unreal beauty and their own fates are formed into whatever shape reality requires - just like those plastic products coming out of the mold machine.
Tracing further to the plastic waste imported from around the world, this signals and symbolizes the lives of those on the other side of the world - far away from China’s plastic recycling workshops. When these symbolic wastes immersed deeply in this impoverished world of these Chinese workers, we are confronted with the truth that the world is flat and issues don’t go away by changing time and location. At the end of the day, as a global nation, we are all in this together, and we all play a part in this ever changing world.
Director of award-winning and impactful documentary film BEIJING BESIEGED BY WASTE. WANG graduated from Communication University of China, School of Cinematic Arts in 2007. From 2007 to 2008, he finished a set of photography work about Chinese traditional superstitions. He started investigating the landfill pollution around Beijing in 2008. In 2011, he finished BEIJING BESIEGED BY WASTE, a set of photography work and a documentary with the same name. From 2012 to now, he has been working on the documentary PLASTIC CHINA.
RUBY CHEN is the Co-Founder and CEO of the non-profit CNEX Foundation Limited, the CEO of CNEX Studio. She had been working in McKinsey & Company since 1992, and left as the Director of Leadership Institute in China prior to joining Peking University in its Business School (GSM) as the Executive Director for Executive Education in 2009. With her passion to explore talent, support and promote Chinese documentary films internationally, she is the executive producer for almost 80 documentaries, including the award-winning 1428, KL: Life and Music, Mothers, Look Love, A Young Patriot, etc.
EP & SUPERVISING EDITOR
Jean Tsien is an editor, producer, and consultant whose works in non-fiction films span over 30 years. Her editing debut, Something Within Me, won three Awards at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. Tsien’s notable editing credits include: the 2001 Academy Award, Best Documentary Feature nominee, Scottsboro: An American Tragedy; three Peabody Award-winning films: MALCOLM X: Make It Plain, Travis and Solar Mamas; Please Vote For Me, a 2008 Grierson award recipient for most entertaining documentary; Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing and Miss Sharon Jones! both directed by two-time Academy Award winning director Barbara Kopple; A Place At The Table – which was presented in a special screening at the White House.
Ben TSIANG co-founded Sina.com (Nasdaq: SINA), and switched gear and co-founded CNEX in 2006, with two partners Ruby Chen and Chaowei Chang. CNEX, a platform dedicated to documentary film production and promotion, is aiming at building Chinese visual literacy and creating social impact through factual films. CNEX works with independent filmmakers to produce contemporary Chinese documentaries. Products have achieved impressive milestones not only at prominent international film festivals such as Venice Film Festival and Cinéma du réel, but also at domestic awards Golden Horse.
Chang Chao-wei, born in Tainan, Taiwan, is a veteran writer-producer who has worked at various publications and production companies throughout Asia. In 2006, he co-founded CNEX and currently served as Chief Producer. CNEX is a platform which supports Chinese independent documentary in great China area and provide domestic/international promotion. CNEX has completed almost 80 productions so far.
An Executive Producer of more than a dozen documentary films supported by CNEX, Mr Hsu had directed and debuted DUST OF ANGEL at the Director’s Fortnight of Cannes Film Festival in 1992, he has since directed many acclaimed films including HEARTBREAK ISLAND (Cannes 1995), and HOMESICK EYES (Berlinale 1997). He produced first documentary film UN PORTRAIT DE HOU HSIAO-HSIEN by Olivier Assayass in 1998. Since then he kicked off his award-winning producer's career in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. His production including THE FOOLISH BIRD (Huang Ji, in Competition 2017 Berlinale Generation), EGG AND STONE (Huang Ji, Tiger Award in Rotterdam), CHONGQING BLUES (Wang Xiaoshuai, Competition Cannes), COURTHOUSE ON THE HORSEBACK (Liu Jie, Best Feature film of Orizzonti in Venice), BEIJING BICYCLE (Wang Xiaoshuai, Silver Bear award in Berlinale), and BETELNUT BEAUTY (Berlinale Silver Bear, by Lin Zhengsheng).
Guanting Yue, Benjamin. Graduated from Communication University of China as MFA. He starts filmmaking as director and producer from 2006. Benjamin started PLASTIC CHINA with the director in 2010, and founded BEIJING TYC MEDIA to support independent films in China. BEIJING TYC MEDIA focus on producing and filmmaking which base in Beijing.
Since her inauguration as the General Manager of Oriental Companion Media from 2007, Liu Jing has been Producer and Production Director for many large-scale documentaries. She integrated the company resources and established internationally advanced documentary production management mode. In addition, she is also focusing on the documentary market both at home and abroad to promote international cooperated programs and seeking actively to establish business mode for the documentary industry.
Tyler Strickland is a film composer based in Los Angeles. Tyler's scores have accompanied recent award-winning documentary films such as Netflix Original, AUDRIE & DAISY (Sundance 2016), THE RETURN (Tribeca 2016 Audience Award Winner), BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS (SXSW 2016), CNN Films' FRESH DRESSED (Sundance 2015), Emmy-nominated Netflix Original, HOT GIRLS WANTED (Sundance 2015), and a dozen others since he began composing for film in 2011, shortly after transitioning from long career as a touring musician. Starting off 2017, Tyler will be attending Sundance in support of his two recent films; THE MARS GENERATION (Netflix Original Documentary), and PLASTIC CHINA.
As a twisted Gemini, Bob Lee’s career spans from accountant to elementary school teacher, yet his dream was to be a postman when he was a little kid. Bob was exposed to documentary filmmaking started 2010; he has been (collaborating? Assisting?) with Ruby Yang as an editor of The Blood of Yingzhou District Revisited and the television documentary Whisper Of Minqin. In 2015, he worked as an editing assistant with Jean Tsien on feature length documentary Please Remember Me. He also edited the Golden Horse award winning short fiction film, The Hammer And Sickle Are Sleeping. Lee hopes to keep editing as a long-term career.