BEIJING SPRING

An 

ac_films_v04_edited_edited_edited_edited

Production

"Rousing..."
New York Times

"A Portrait of Artistic Dissent."
Los Angeles Times

" A single spark can start a prairie fire"

NEWS!

Lauriers_39e_PJ_FR_B.png

25.11-12.12.2021​ - Dart Festival - Barcelona - information and tickets

 

18-28.11.2021​ - Beirut Art Film Festival - information and tickets

10-14.11.2021​ - Schermo Dell'Arte - Florence - information and tickets

04-21.11.2021 -  Saint -Louis International Film Festival - information and tickets

 

03-18.11.2021 - Leeds International Film Festiaval - information and tickets

02-07.11.2021 - Aesthetica Film Festival - York - information and tickets

21-31.10.2021 - Awareness Film Festival - Los Angeles - information and tickets

21-31.10.2021 - Festival Des Libertés -  Brussels - information and tickets

07-17.10.2021​ - Heartland International Film Festival - Indianapolis - information and tickets

​16-28.03.2021 - le FIFA - International Festival of Film on Art - Montreal - information and tickets

 

 

Beijing Spring wins the FIFA/Amnesty Int'l 2021 Jury Award!

 

NEWS!

Beijing Spring is now available on Voice of America streaming platform:

Click here to watch

04.03.2022​ - Boulder International Art Festival - information and tickets

Beijing Spring wins the 2021 Best Feature Documentary Award at Austin International Art Festival Festival, Austin!

 

19.12.2021​ - Austin International Art Festival - information and tickets

 

Beijing Spring wins the 2021 Best Feature Documentary Award at Lonely Wolf Festival, London!

 

Beijing Spring wins the 2021 Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Editing, Archival Usage & Assembly Award at Lonely Wolf Festival, London!

 

16.12.2021​ - Lonely Wolf - London - information and tickets

 

Beijing Spring wins the 2021 Best International Documentary Award at

Dart, Barcelona!

 

25.11-12.12.2021​ - Dart Festival - Barcelona - information and tickets

 

18-28.11.2021​ - Beirut Art Film Festival - information and tickets

10-14.11.2021​ - Schermo Dell'Arte - Florence - information and tickets

04-21.11.2021 -  Saint -Louis International Film Festival - information and tickets

 

03-18.11.2021 - Leeds International Film Festiaval - information and tickets

02-07.11.2021 - Aesthetica Film Festival - York - information and tickets

21-31.10.2021 - Awareness Film Festival - Los Angeles - information and tickets

21-31.10.2021 - Festival Des Libertés -  Brussels - information and tickets

07-17.10.2021​ - Heartland International Film Festival - Indianapolis - information and tickets

Beijing Spring wins the FIFA/Amnesty Int'l 2021 Jury Award!

​16-28.03.2021 - le FIFA - International Festival of Film on Art - Montreal - information and tickets

AWARDWINNER-AustinInternationalArtFestival-December2021-2.png
LW_Winner Documentary Feature_white.png.jpeg
LW_Winner Best Editing Archival Usage_white.png
Laurel 2021-International Documentary winner_edited.png
Lauriers_39e_PJ_FR_B.png
BEIJING SPRING Official Movie Trailer 2021
Play Video

Hidden 16mm Film Footage Revealed for the First Time after 40 Years

 

After the police forcefully shut down the Stars confrontational art show hung on a park fence, and arrest activist Wei Jingsheng for posting an essay on Democracy Wall, thousands of citizens take to the streets near Tiananmen Square, marching in protest and demanding the right to free speech—the first such demonstration since the Communists seized power. The authorities, provoked and threatened by the foreign media attention, close Democracy Wall, imprison another editor Xu Wenli for over 15 years, and force most of the Stars group (including a young Ai Weiwei) into exile. Recording it all is a daring young filmmaker named Chi Xiaoning. Hidden for decades, footage from these daring acts of rebellion are now featured in Beijing Spring for the first time ever. 

 
 

PRESS

Los Angeles Times - 12.2021

"Two documentaries distill the struggle of political dissent in China decades apart" - Robert Abele

The act of protesting in China is not to be entered into lightly considering the consequences: exile, imprisonment and worse. A pair of new documentaries takes us inside two of the more noteworthy, and globally recognized, stands against China’s authoritarian rule — an unsanctioned public art exhibit in 1979 organized by self-taught artists, their experiences fighting for individuality and democracy recounted in “Beijing Spring,” and, 40 years later, the citywide Hong Kong protests that challenged mainland China’s encroachment on the territory’s long-cherished autonomy, the subject of “Revolution of Our Times.”

Protest March Demanding Artistic Freedom— Beijing, National Day (1979)  ©Wang Rui .jpg

Hammer to Nail - 12.2021

"BEIJING SPRING" - Christopher Reed

Authoritarian regimes often serve as breeding grounds for serious artistic movements, creative souls inspired by imposed restrictions to rise above them, risk be damned. In Andy Cohen and Gaylen Ross’ new documentary Beijing Spring, the directors examine China in the year 1979, as new leader Deng Xiaoping appeared to be on the verge of opening up the country to a semblance of democracy. As an opening onscreen quote from the great 19th-century philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville reads, “The most perilous moment for a repressive government is when it seeks reform.” Perhaps, but what we witness ends up being more dangerous for the artists, themselves. Whatever Chairman Deng’s original intentions, he was not about to allow actual dissent to last for long.

Protest March Demanding Artistic Freedom— Beijing, National Day (1979)  ©Wang Rui .jpg

THE JERUSALEM POST - 04.2021

"Heroic artists shine in ‘Beijing Spring’" - Hannah Brown

You’ve probably heard of the protests and liberalization of the Prague Spring in 1968. A similar but not nearly as well-known movement of Chinese artists and democracy activists took place in the late ‘70s – and is the subject of a fascinating documentary, Beijing Spring, which will be shown as part of the Epos Art Film Festival (www.filmart.co.il). Epos will run from May 1-8 at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, with some screenings at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. 

BJS stills.png

SPIRALE MAGAZINE - 03.2021

"Beijing Spring, documentaire d'Andy Cohen et Gaylen Ross" - Guylaine Massoutre

À visionner Beijing Spring, le documentaire qui ouvre la 39e édition du FIFA à Montréal, on sait la barre haut placée. Quelle émotion lorsqu’on suit Andy Cohen et Gaylen Ross retraçant l’histoire de la Chine autour du Mur de la Démocratie, où se sont fracassés les idéaux révolutionnaires.

Extract of Film of Star Group Activities

LE DEVOIR - 03.2021

"«Beijing Spring»: Andy Cohen et Gaylen Ross racontent une Chine sans censure" - Caroline Montpetit

Il faut sans doute être dans la peau d’un artiste chinois pour saisir tout le poids du mot « liberté ». Le documentaire Beijing Spring, présenté en ouverture du 39e Festival international du film sur l’art, le 16 mars, en fait la troublante démonstration. Les cinéastes Andy Cohen et Gaylen Ross ont construit leur film autour d’images d’archives inédites, mises à l’abri du gouvernement chinois pendant plus de 40 ans.Ils racontent l’essor, constamment contrarié par les autorités, d’un groupe d’artistes chinois, après la terrible répression de la Révolution culturelle et la mort de Mao Tsé-Toung.

Extract of Film of Star Group Activities

Art Asia Pacific - 03.2021

"Capital Thaw: Beijing Dissidents on film" - Don J. Cohn

The title of Beijing Spring (2021) - Andy Cohen and Gaylen Ross’s heartfelt, candid, and well-crafted documentary - refers to a brief, tumultuous watershed in Chinese history that began with Mao Zedong’s death in September 1976 and ended with the crackdown on Beijing’s Democracy Wall (a public forum of sorts where citizens put up big-character posters critiquing societal issues); the arrest of activist Wei Jingsheng, who racked up 18 years in Chinese prisons; and the shutdown of the avant-garde Stars Art Group’s open-air exhibition in late 1979. 

Artist Ma Desheng Speech at Democracy Wa

HEIDI NEWS - 03.2020

"«Beijing Spring», témoignage inédit d’une expérience démocratique" - Sophie Woeldgen

"Fin des années 70 à Pékin. Dans un éphémère espace de liberté, artistes et activistes (dont Wei Jingsheng, Xu Wenli et le jeune Ai Weiwei) se retrouvent autour du Mur de la démocratie, le réalisateur américain Andy Cohen retrace cette histoire inconnue."

0067_img533.jpg

M+ STORIES - 03.2020

"The Story of Chi Xiaoning and His Smuggled Camera" - Andy Cohen

This is a story about underground film-making, radical art, and censorship. In 1979, Chi Xiaoning created his Film of Star Group Activities of 1979. It is the only known video documenting the radical activities of the Stars Group, an avant-garde group of artists from China who championed individuality and freedom of expression. The only copy of the footage is in the M+ Collections.

Capture d’écran 2021-02-24 à 10.05.49.pn

New York Times - 12.2021

"‘Beijing Spring’ Review: The Politics of Aesthetics" - Devika Girish

Can art effect real change in the world? To this ever-urgent question, “Beijing Spring” — a new documentary about the titular movement for democratic expression that exploded in the wake of the Cultural Revolution in China — responds with a resounding yes.

Protest March Demanding Artistic Freedom— Beijing, National Day (1979)  ©Wang Rui .jpg

J.B Spins - 12.2021

"Beijing Spring: Documenting the Thaw After the Cultural Revolution" - Joe Bendel

For Chinese artists, things could only get better when the Cultural Revolution ended—and they did—to an extent—for a while. During the thaw of the early Deng years, a group of artists emerged that pushed for liberalization in the artistic sphere and more democratic governance. Many of them are now living abroad (for obvious reasons). Andy Cohen and Gaylen Ross chronicle the “Stars Art Group and the related samizdat magazines that revolved around Beijing’s short-lived “Democracy Wall” in Beijing Spring, which opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles.

BeijingSpring_2021.jpg

RADIO FREE ASIA - 04.2021

"专访《北京之春》导演:民主墙、星星美展、首曝光的现场镜头" - Xiaoshan Xue

1978至1981年的“北京之春”是随着中国改革开放应运而生的公民运动,魏京生等民运人士在西单民主墙及民间出版物上,率先呼吁表达自由和民主改革。一群诗人、画家、雕塑家、摄影师也踊跃加入,他们在1979年9月策划了一场未经批准的“星星画会”,被视为中国现代艺术的序曲。由独立电影制作人兼记者安迪·科恩(Andy Cohen)执导的纪录片《北京之春》近日在蒙特利尔国际艺术电影节(LEFIFA)等地放映,以西单民主墙抗争、“星星画会”被禁后的游行抗议为主线,首次公布了摄影师池小宁在现场冒险拍下的镜头片断。请听自由亚洲电台记者薛小山对该片导演科恩的专访。 

Capture d’écran 2021-04-14 à 09.56.39.pn

LE CULTE - 03.2021

"Beijing Spring : la naissance de l’art dans la censure" - Marius Gellner

À la croisée des chemins entre un cours magistral, une exposition et un film, Beijing Spring nous fait parcourir un pan méconnu et pourtant si riche de l’histoire de l’art en Chine. Présenté actuellement au Festival International du Film sur l’Art (FIFA), ce long-métrage d’Andy Cohen et Gaylen Ross nous tient en haleine, nous éduque et nous émerveille en mêlant images d’archives et témoignages des artistes qui ont élevé leur voix contre la censure à la fin des années 70.

Extract of Film of Star Group Activities

LE TEMPS - 03.2021

"Le film secret du «printemps de Pékin»" - Frederic Koller

En 1979, plaignants, artistes, poètes et activistes donnent vie au «Mur de la démocratie». C’est le premier «printemps de Pékin». Il fut filmé par un réalisateur chinois. Quarante ans plus tard, Andy Cohen lui redonne vie.

Filmmaker Chi Xiaoning atop Democracy Wa

UTOPIA3 - 07.2020

Lors de cet entretien, Andy Cohen revient sur ce qui l’a amené à réaliser «Beijing Spring». A travers un film d’archives 16 mm caché aux autorités chinoises pendant plus de trois décennies, il nous fait découvrir l’histoire censurée des « Étoiles », un group d’artistes underground chinois dont les membres, à la mort de Mao Zedong, ont cherché à tout prix à librement s’exprimer et à protester - non sans lourdes conséquences ultérieures.  

HZKJe9z1bY0MMMqaVhp5C4dwtooFqC6mtvETeIqn

WORLD RADIO SWITZERLAND - 03.2020

"Andy Cohen on his film Beijing Spring" - Katt Cullen

Filmmaker Andy Cohen spoke to Katt about his new film Beijing Spring. The film uses never before seen footage hidden from the authorities for 35 years and chronicles China's first democracy movement.

IMG_5444.jpg

Download our Press Kit here 

FESTIVALS

logo-2_edited.jpg

Boulder International Film

Festival

austin-int_edited.png

Austin International Art Festival

lonely-wolf-2021-logo-white_1_edited.png

Lonely Wolf International Film Festival

Unknown-3_edited_edited.png

Dart,

Barcelona

Beirut Art Film Festival,

Beirut

unnamed_edited_edited.png

Lo Schermo Dell'Arte,

Florence

Loschermodell'arte_bn_edited_edited_edited.png
SLIFF_Laurels_edited_edited.png

Saint-Louis International Film Festival

LIFF2021_Laurel_Black_edited.png

Leeds International Film Festival,

Leeds

Aesthetica Films Festival,

York

ASFF21_Official-Selection_Black (1)_edited.png
OFFICIALSELECTION-AwarenessFestival-2021_edited.png

Awarness Festival,

Los Angeles

FDL2021_laurels_whiteBG_edited_edited.png

Festival des Libertés,

Bruxelles

30thLogo_Multicolor_edited_edited.png

Heartland Films Festival,

Indianapolis

Los-Angeles-Lift-Off-Film-Festival-final-logo-black_edited.png

Los Angeles Lift-Off Festival,

Los Angeles

Tokyo-Lift-Off-Film-Festival-final-logo-black_edited_edited.png

Tokyo Lift-Off Film Festival, Tokyo

epos12_top_edited_edited_edited_edited.png

EPOS International Art Film Festival, Tel Aviv

7MAEDICION_NEGRO_ES.png

Censurados Film Festival, Lima

Lauriers_39e_PJ_FR_N.png

Montreal International Festival of Films  on Art

Capture d’écran 2021-04-14 à 10.21_edited.png

M+ Screenings online: Cinema, Disrupted, Hong Kong

LAURIERS_FIFDH2021_NOIR_FR_300.png

Geneva International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights

 
 

Andrew Cohen

Andrew "Andy" Cohen is an independent filmmaker and journalist. Much of his work is investigative and human rights-based.

He produced, directed or wrote several award-winning documentaries such as Dealers among Dealers (1996), Killing Kasztner (2008), Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012), The World Before Her (2012), Hooligan Sparrow (2016), Human Flow (2017), Ximei (2019), which were shown at the FIFDH Geneva, Venice Film Festival, Telluride, Tribeca, Traverse City, Toronto International Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival among others, and broadcast on PBS, BBC, UK Ch4, ARTE, Netflix, and Amazon.

Cohen also directed and wrote a nine-part series of short films on China’s leading contemporary artists in collaboration with Art Asia Pacific for which he is a contributing editor.

The following feature length documentaries are currently in post production: 

To Kill a Tiger (2022),

Talking Tacheles(2022), 

The Village Gate (2023), 

Title Shot (2023), 

The Tibetan Void (2023).

Gaylen Ross

Gaylen Ross has directed, produced, and written award-winning documentary films for over 25 years, premiering in national and international film festivals.

She has had two films previously in the Berlin International Film Festival: the Emmy award-winning Blood Money: Switzerland’s Nazi Gold, a feature-length documentary on the Swiss Banks and the Holocaust accounts, and her film on diamond dealers Dealers Among Dealers which aired on PBS’ P.O.V and is considered the only inside look into this very cloistered world. Among her films, Killing Kasztner: The Jew Who Dealt With Nazis, was an official selection of the Toronto International Film Festival, broadcast BBC Storyville, shown in 11 countries and has enjoyed an unprecedented theatrical release in the US, Israel and France. It was named by the LA Times as one of the best documentary films of 2010. Her latest film Caris' Peace about an actress who lost her memory premiered at the Hamptons International Film Festival, won first place Athens Film Festival, Ohio; and presented as the featured film for the Rubin Museum of Art’s Brainwave series in New York.

Currently Ms. Ross is in post–production on her film Title Shot, a stark chronicle of professional boxing through the rise and fall of 1990’s junior middleweight contender Godfrey Nyakana as it focuses its lens on sides of the sweet science rarely seen and with Andy Cohen on the documentary the Village Gate.

 

CAST & CREW

Director

ANDY COHEN

 

Co-Director

GAYLEN ROSS

 

Producers

ANDY COHEN

GAYLEN ROSS

CONSTANCE LE MARIE

Editor

ANDREW FORD

Authors of Star Group Activities of 1979.

CHI XIAONING

REN SHULIN

  M+, Hong Kong

Camera

JULIEN ROBY

ROBERT RICHMAN

MATT YUE

EDDIE MARRITZ

HAGEER

MITCH BLUMMER

GREGORY BRUTUS

Associate Producers

JULIEN ROBY

WEIHUAN ZHANG

0237_30080009 b copy.jpg

Sound

EDWARD O'CONNOR

HAN ZHICHAO

PETER GINSBURG

VINCENT ROUFFIAC

XIANG CHEN

PETER MILLER

Associate Producers

JULIEN ROBY

WEIHUAN ZHANG

Post Production Manager

GIOVANNI ZONCA

Additional Archival Film

WANG RUI

HELMUT OPLETAL

EMMANUEL BELLEFROID

LI SHUANG

LI XIAOBIN

JOAN COHEN

Original Music

MATT CLIFFORD

DAMIAN LAZARUS

ZHOU YUNPENG

GALLERY