Location:Kaifeng & Zhengzhou, Henan
By:Su Qing & Mi Na
White Tower is the first Chinese documentary that focuses on the emotional lives of the hearing impaired.
Price: RMB 40
Venue: Chinese Culture Club, Beijing, China.
At 20.57 million, China' s hearing impaired account for one fifth of the world' s total. Although their numbers are massive, they are often misunderstood and alienated. Most live on the fringe of society in a disconnected, silent and ignored world. Their voices are left unheard, their feelings untouched and their fears unknown. Receiving little respect inside the family, their fate is entirely controlled by others. Outside the household, they can hardly earn a living themselves. Some people even use the word "deaf" derogatorily as a synonym for "thief". The best treatment they receive is unwanted sympathy. Whether it be within the family or society, the hearing impaired have no power to 'speak up' for themselves and are considered weak.
As friends of the protagonists, the filmmakers were granted permission to record their lives in intimate detail in order to give the public a chance to have a better understanding of their world. There is no commentary added to the documentary - it was edited according to the unraveling of their story. All forms of communication, whether they be verbal or sign language, are treated equally.
The filmmakers would like to emphasize that as human beings we are born equal, and we have the right to live out our lives and emotions. It was very difficult to complete this film independently, and the filmmakers sincerely hope there will be more people willing to understand the hearing impaired, to walk into their world, even to learn some sign language. Even a small effort would carry great significance for them.
Festivals and Awards
Best First Film Award, Marseille International Documentary Film Festival, 2004
Toronto International Film Festival, 2004
Pusan International Film Festival, South Korea, 2004
DocAviv, Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival, 2005
Su Qing was born in 1969 in Inner Mongolia and currently resides in Beijing. After earning a degree in railroad design, he wrked as a welder, miner, labor union secretary, rock guitarist and advertising executive before turning his talents to program directing for Chongqing TV and CCTV in 1998. He began exploring the condition of the hearing impaired in 2002 in a series of documentaries of which White Tower is an installment.
Born in 1973 in Chongqing, Mi Na now lives in Beijing. She worked in fashion design after earning a degree from the Beijing Institute of Clothing Technology and before becoming an advertising executive in 2000. She began collaborating with Su Qing on a series of documentaries about the hearing impaired in 2002. She is currently a postgraduate degree candidate in Art Management at the Central Academy of Fine Arts.