MOCAREADS: Into the Wilds of a Changing China with Val Wang

Thu, Nov 20, 2014 @ 7:00pm - 9:00pm


Admission: Free and open to the public, courtesy of TARGET.


Click to Register or RSVP to


Join Val Wang as she shares her unique, not-quite-outsider’s Chinese American perspective of life and the independent cultural scenes in contemporary China. She will read excerpts from her memoir, Beijing Bastard, and share film excerpts from China's Sixth Generation directors.


Val’s humorous and moving memoir chronicles her coming-of-age journey and also discovery of a city rebelling against its roots. Raised by Chinese émigré parents in the American suburbs, Val chafed against their rigid expectations for her to become a doctor or lawyer. After being inspired by seeing the underground Chinese film Beijing Bastards in 1995, she embarked on a unique form of rebellion: moving to Beijing with the secret ambition to become an artist. She worked as a journalist and became a subtitler and friend to a cohort of underground filmmakers who were telling previously untold stories about contemporary China. These so-called Sixth Generation filmmakers worked in opposition to the lavish costume dramas and the propaganda of the state-run media that extolled the virtues of the country’s transition to capitalism. Instead they shot loose, observational documentaries and feature films that showed the effects of these social and economic transformations on everyday people.


At this event, Val will talk about the affinity that she as a second-generation American immigrant had with the Chinese filmmakers and read from Beijing Bastard, as well as screen clips from the works of seminal filmmakers such as Zhang Yuan (Beijing Bastards, Crazy English), Wu Wenguang (Bumming in Beijing), and Yang Lina (Home Video). Book signing to follow.


This program is co-presented by Asian CineVision (ACV). Lesley Yiping Qin, ACV's Program Manager, will be moderating.



BEIJING BASTARD Trailer from Val Wang on Vimeo.


About the Author


Val Wang is an author and multimedia storyteller, who most recently created and produced Planet Takeout, an interactive, multiplatform documentary project on the role of Chinese takeouts as a vital cultural crossroad in America. She teaches writing and multimedia storytelling at Bentley University.



About the Moderator


Hailing from Shanghai, China, Lesley Yiping Qin holds an M.A. degree in Cinema Studies at NYU. She is currently the Program Manager at the New York-based Asian American International Film Festival, the longest running Asian American Film Festival in the country. She has co-curated the "We Landed / I Was Born / Passing By: New York Chinatown On Screen" series at Anthology Film Archives in 2014. As a journalist, she has had conversations with directors like Jia Zhangke, Anthony Chen, Khyentse Norbu and Midi Z.