** Yellow Ox Mountain WINS "BEST SHORT FILM AWARD" at the Asian Film Festival of Dallas!
Throughout China's Cultural Revolution in the 10 years between 1966 and 1976, books were burnt, ancient temples trampled, and professors denounced due to fervent revolutionary fervor ignited in the hearts of youths by Mao. Teachers, intellectuals, and artists were the primary targets of attack. Young students became Red Guards who denounced their teachers and often even their own parents. The only form of art taught at the time was a socialist propaganda style, all else was considered counter-revolutionary. Education came to a halt for several years. The arts and culture were highly sanitized. It was a revolution sought to turn old China's traditions upside down and create a new culture and art for the working people.
On the thirtieth anniversary of Mao's death and the end of the Cultural Revolution, Yellow Ox Mountain examines the lives of two artists who grew up under this regime. Both of them later decide to migrate to the U.S. in search of the opportunities to freely express themselves and to reach higher plateaus with their creative manifestation. They are two among a thriving community of such immigrant contemporary Chinese artists that have brought with them a deeply rooted tradition in their diaspora to a new city. This documentary is a cross between cinéma vérité and a biography style documentary. It tells the story through only the voiceovers of the artists themselves, without any use of a third person narration. It gives a personal and poetic rendition of their stories through a tightly edited presentation of a brief flash of the historical context, their story, artwork, artistic process, and a dynamic music score that reflects their East-West mixed cultural background.
This project has given me a chance to reflect and meditate on what it is like for my parents' generation to go through the Cultural Revolution, what it is like to be an artist in Communist China, and what it is like to be a Chinese immigrant artist in America. I have developed a deep connection to both Hongtu and Jian-Jun. They have opened my eyes to the side of China I have been searching for.
Born in Beijing, China just after the Cultural Revolution, Miao Wang grew up with the last remnants of a pre-modernized Communist China. She grew up with the concept that science is the one thing that will lift the Chinese people into a new era. Scarred by more than a decade of art for politics' sake, the creative life is widely shunned. Miao's parents immigrated to Boston in 1988 as visiting science scholars at Harvard University. She followed in 1990. She entered eighth grade without speaking any English. In 1999, Miao graduated from the University of Chicago with an honors degree in Economics.
Miao soon moved to New York, where she found constant sources of creative inspiration. She began to open up and embrace her passions in photography, design, and film. Her multi-disciplinary pursuits have led her to organize large scale art happenings, publish an art book-"Overkill"-on Booth-Clibborn Editions (London), and work on award winning designs with acclaimed graphic designer and art director Stefan Sagmeister. Miao was an assistant at Transformer Films, where she worked on post-production of a program called "Blood and Memory" that aired on National Geographic TV. She also worked as an assistant at Maysles Films, the studio of the legendary direct-cinema documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles. She edited a documentary style promotional video-"Linked Hybrid"-for the renowned architect Steven Holl's large residential housing complex in Beijing. Student Academy Award winner Ethan Spigland directed the video.
Miao is currently promoting her first short documentary film, Yellow Ox Mountain, and editing a feature-length HBO produced documentary for independent filmmaker Joseph Jacoby, with cinematography by Albert Maysles. She is also doing pre-production for her next film, a documentary that shows a city under transformations through the eyes of three Beijing taxi drivers.