UNSUNG HEROES OF INK is a documentary on the art of papermaking in Jing County, Anhui Province, China, the foremost region for the production of xuan paper—the favoured paper for painters and calligraphers from the late sixteenth century. The film shows the steps of making the handmade xuan paper, from the harvesting of trees and preparation of raw materials, to producing sheets of paper and eventually the treatment of paper for specific artistic purposes. These processes adhere to traditional methods and have remained largely unchanged throughout the centuries.
The film shows the continuing importance of high quality papers today through the artists Liu Dan and Shao Fan, two Chinese ink painters who are exceedingly respectful of and exacting about the papers they use.
As we see craftsmen carry out a multitude of labour intensive processes to produce the perfect handmade papers, and as we see how important such papers are to artists, viewers will gain a greater understanding and an enriched appreciation of the Chinese ink painting—and artistic—tradition.
Olivia Wang 汪鈴
Producer & Director
Olivia Wang is an independent art historian and writer, with a focus in contemporary Chinese ink art. Her writing on contemporary Chinese art has been published in the Wall Street Journal, ArtAsiaPacific, Orientations, Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, among others. See her writing here.
Olivia is Representative of the Ink Society (Hong Kong), a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting ink art. She is on the panel of judges for the UOB Art in Ink Award, which was inaugurated in 2017.
Olivia holds a BA from Brown University and MPhil from Oxford University.
Vincent Du 杜海
Director of Photography
As director and/or cinematographer, Vincent Du has made four documentaries for Al Jazeera English. His fiction film Five to Nine (2015), co-produced with three other Asian directors has been screened at the Singapore International Film Festival, and the Taiwan Golden Horse Film Festival. Vincent now teaches documentary at the Journalism School of Tianjin Normal University.
Bob Lee 李博
Bob Lee is a Beijing-based non-fiction-film editor. His most recent film Our Time Machine premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. He was co-editor of Plastic China (2016), which won the Best Editing Award at the 2017 Golden Horse Film Festival, and was selected at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Other recent works include The Hammer And Sickle Are Sleeping (Best Short Fiction Film, 2014, Golden Horse Awards), and Please Remember Me (2015).
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