UNDER THE GROUND: Coal, Water, and Labor in Environmental Documentaries From China and Taiwan

Wednesday, May 25th 2016, 5pm
Franke Institute
1100 E 57th St

Screenings and Q&A with director Ke Chin-Yuan
— Black Harvest (黑, 2013, 58')
— Ebb and Flow (退潮, 2010, 59')

Followed by a reception.

Thursday, May 26th 2016, 7pm
Cobb Hall, Room 307
5801 S Ellis Ave

Screening and Q&A with Dir. Song Zhantao
— In the Underground (地层深处, 2015, 90')

Followed by a reception.

Friday, May 27th 2016, 3-5pm
Harris School, Room 319
1155 E 60th St

Workshop with Ke Chin-Yuan and Song Zhantao hosted by the Arts and Politics of East Asia (APEA) Graduate Student Workshop at the Center for East Asian Studies.


KE Chin-Yuan has been recording stories of Taiwanese people and ecology since 1980. Since 1997, he has been working for Taiwan Public Television Service (PTS). He has conducted extensive fieldwork on Taiwan’s environment and produced twenty documentaries and many other TV programs on environmental issues. Ke has received many awards in Taiwan and internationally, including the prestigious Taiwanese Golden Bell Award for Best Photography and Best Non-Drama Director, the Green Film Festival in Seoul for Excellence Prize, and the International Wildlife Film Festival for Best TV Program and Best Point of View.

SONG Zhantao worked for China Central Television (CCTV) for over twenty years and is now the Artistic Director of Beijing Apsaras Television Company. He has contributed to over 200 TV documentaries about Chinese workers and directed a ten-episode series on the history of China’s coal industry. His works have gained many awards, including the “May Day Good News Prize” by All China Federation of Trade Unions. Song also made documentaries for Discovery Channel and directed “China’s Hollywood” (2007) produced by National Geographic Channel. In the Underground is his first independent documentary film since he left CCTV.


Black Harvest (黑, 2013, 58')

Black Harvest investigates the cycle of water pollution and its consequences on the environment and on communities who have to rely on contaminated crops. Why have factories been allowed to sprout amidst green fields? How can a country address the issue of food security when it turns a blind eye to the poisoning of its croplands? Ke Chin-Yuan raises important questions on how pollution affects the livelihood of the poor.

Nominations & Awards
2014 台北電影節(Taipei Film Festival)- 入圍紀錄片類
2014 香港華語紀錄片電影節(Chinese Documentary Festival)- 獲得短片組亞軍First Runner-Up
2014-台灣國際紀錄片影展( Taiwan International Documentary Festival, TIDF)-入選台灣映像
2015 斯洛伐克環境影展 (IFF Ekotopfilm - Envirofilm 2015)
2015 第五屆舊金山綠色環境影展 (5th San Francisco Green Film Festival)

Ebb and Flow (退潮, 2010, 59')

Ebb and Flow focuses on the life and work of oyster farmers on the western coast of Taiwan, and their reactions to the government’s plans to build a petrochemical plant in their area. Beautifully shot and carefully composed, it offers a compelling argument for the need to protect delicate ecosystems.

Nominations & Awards
2011 入圍第46屆-台灣金鐘獎 -「非戲劇導播\導演獎」
2011 獲頒第8屆美國蒙大拿影展 (Montana CINE International Film Festival) - 保育意識項目嘉勉(Honorable Mention for Conservation Awareness)
2011 入圍第16屆-亞洲電視獎 -「最佳自然歷史或野生動物節目」(Best Natural History or Wildlife Programme)
2012 美國休士頓影展 (WorldFest Houston Film Festival) - 獲得紀錄片特別節目 TV Special – Documentary 評審團特別獎 SPECIAL JURY REMI
2012 義大利 "I've Seen Films" 影展(International Competition Feature Documentary Films)- 入圍國際紀錄片競賽
2012 台北電影節 - 入圍紀錄片類
2012 香港華語紀錄片電影節(Chinese Documentary Festival)- 入圍短片組決賽
2012 台灣國際紀錄片雙年展(Taiwan International Documentary Festival, TIDF)- 入選台灣映像

In the Underground (地层深处, 2015, 90')

In the Underground depicts the toil of coal miners in Handan, northern China. The filmmaker descends into the mine-shaft to capture the claustrophobic environment under the ground and the sense of camaraderie among workers, documenting how their dangerous working conditions affect their personal and family lives. It is one of the most powerful works of the past few years dealing with labor and environmental pollution in contemporary China.

Click here for the tralier.

Nominations & Awards
2015 Silver Hugo Prize in Documentary at the 51st Chicago International Film Festival
2015 Special Jury Prize at the 37th Cinéma du Réel, Paris
2015 Gold Silk Road Best Documentary Prize at the second Silk Road International Film Festival
2015 Special Jury Award at Beijing International Film Festival
2015 14th Festival international du documentaire en Cévennes
2015 5th Ecofalante Environmental Film Festival in in São Paulo