- J.P. Sniadecki, Huang Xiang, Xu Ruotao
“This highly experimental twist on the ethnographic documentary visits the town of Yumen in China’s northwest Gansu province, a once-thriving, oil-rich community in the 1980s that has been left depleted and derelict. Strikingly shot on film, Yumen tells the story of this ghost town through a series of wandering characters and inventive vignettes in which even the spirit of Bruce Springsteen is summoned to comment on a world in ruins. A collaboration between Chinese and American filmmakers, Yumen pushes the boundaries of the documentary aesthetic in depicting China’s past and present.” (MoMA)
A filmmaker and Assistant Professor in the Performing and Media Arts department at Cornell University, J.P. Sniadecki produces work at the intersection of cinema and ethnography. Prior to coming to Cornell, he lived and worked for several years in China, and studied under the umbrella of the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University, a collaboration between the departments of anthropology and visual and environmental studies.
Sniadecki’s films screen at festivals such as the Berlinale, the New York Film Festival, and the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and have received several awards, including the Joris Ivens Award at Cinema du Reel for Demolition (Chaiqian) (2008), a Jury Award at FICUNAM for Yumen (2013), as well as a Golden Leopard and a Special Jury Prize at the Locarno International Film Festival for Foreign Parts (2010), co-directed with Verena Paravel. His most recent documentary, People’s Park (2012) co-directed with Libbie Cohn, won the Best Anthropological Film award at Festival dei Popoli and Best Cinematography award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and had its New York City premiere at New Directors/New Films.
His filmography includes: Yumen (2013), People's Park (2012), Foreign Parts (2010), The Yellow Bank (2010), Demolition (Chaiqian) (2008), and Songhua (2007). He is also founder and co-curator of Emergent Visions, a film series that screens new independent cinema from China.