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Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

CNEX Chinese Doc Forum 2015: Standouts & Prizewinners

by Mark Lewis.

The CNEX Chinese Doc Forum was held in Taipei this year.

It was well attended by a large contingent of local filmmakers and representatives from funding organizations, broadcasters, distribution companies and festival programmers.

Held over four days the Forum comprised of pitching sessions, panel discussions, screenings and master-classes.

I was honored to screen “Cane Toads: The Conquest” to the Chinese audience. Afterwards International Co-coordinator, Pat Ferns, moderated the Q&A.


Standout Pitch

  • The pitching sessions were an eye-opener – not only for the high standard of the pitches and the supporting reels, but also for the variety of subjects and content.
  • For me the standout pitch was “Stammering Ballad” by Director Zhang Nan, a film about a young stammering folk singer.
  • The trailer was beautifully executed and demonstrated a filmmaker in control of all the elements.
  • The pitch was no doubt helped when the film’s subject took over the stage to serenade the forum audience with song.
  • Other pitch highlights were “A Guangzhou Love Affair”, “Ma Liang’s Time Machine” and “To be a Buddha or Not.”


The Taipei Documentary Film Festival ran concurrently with the Forum and showed a wonderful collection of contemporary non-fiction.

As a true independent with no funding, license fees or co-production monies to divest, what struck me the most was the extraordinary variety of history, characters and contemporary stories that China and Asia have to offer.

The good news is these are being produced, told and now watched through the world with the assistance and support of the Chinese Doc Forum.


Here are some of the prizewinners for the best pitches from CCDF-6.

  • The winner of the Best Pitch was Stammering Ballad about a folksinger from North West China.
  • The runner up was Balancing Act about a Chinese poet with cerebral palsy.
  • The project with most international potential was Double Life about Chinese twin ‘Living Buddhas’.
  • The runner up was Guangzhou Love Story about two Chinese women with African immigrant husbands.
  • Docs Port Incheon chose as its winner Ma Liang’s Time Machine about two artists, father and son, with the latter succumbing to Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Tokyo Docs chose Balancing Act.
  • Sheffield gave passes to Chronicles of the Night Kingdom which deals with the Chinese gay underground world.
  • Asian Side of the Doc chose Balancing Act and, with CNEX, If She Leaves about a Taiwanese farmer and his Vietnamese immigrant bride.

Whare Are They From?

  • Five of these seven projects are from China.
  • Guangzhou Love Story is from the USA and If She Leaves is from Taiwan.

Cane Toads: The Trailer

Report from Mark Lewis who must remember to speak slowly during the master-class when being translated into Chinese.