Dreaming Against the World

When 23 Apr 2015
6:30PM - 8:00PM
Where Asia Society
725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street)
New York, NY 10021
United States
Enquiry (212) 288-6400

Film Screening and Discussion

Dreaming Against the World
Directed by Timothy Sternberg and Francisco Bello
2015. China/USA. 35 min.

While imprisoned during China’s Cultural Revolution, the artist Mu Xin risked his life writing and painting in solitary confinement. It was through his daily artistic meditations that he survived, while so many others did not. After immigrating to New York in the early 1980s, Mu Xin continued his ink painting and calligraphy practice in obscurity for close to 20 years before being discovered at the age of 74 to great critical acclaim. Filmed on location in China and New York, Dreaming Against the World is the story of Mu Xin, one of the most original and under-recognized contemporary Chinese artists of the past century, and his incredible commitment to his artistic vision and integrity. A Ropa Vieja Films and Half Mile Hill Production.

Post-screening discussion with film directors Timothy Sternberg and Francisco Bello, joined by Chen Danqing, art critic and painter. The discussion is moderated by Michelle Yun, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Asia Society.

About the filmmakers:

Timothy Sternberg is the OSCAR®- and Emmy-nominated co-director, co-producer, and editor on Dreaming Against the World. He started his career working in the editing rooms of Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope Studios in San Francisco while still in high school. After moving to New York, Sternberg has worked in positions as diverse as sound effects recorder on Nora Ephron’s Sleepless in Seattle and Robert Benton’s The Human Stain, re-editing the 1992 OSCAR®-winning Meditteraneo for U.S. release, script consultant for IFP and American Zoetrope, and music editing for Milos Forman’s Goyas Ghosts and the OSCAR®-winning The Blood of Yingzhou District directed by Ruby Yang. In 2008, his directorial debut Salim Baba was nominated for an OSCAR® for Best Short Documentary. After airing on HBO, Canal+ and EBS (Korea), it received a Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Culture Programming. He co-directed HBO’s El Espiritu de la Salsa, which premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. He recently adapted Hanif Kureishi’s novella Gabriel’s Gift into a feature script as well as editing director Brendan Toller’s feature doc Danny Says, which recently premiered to great acclaim at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival.

Francisco Bello is an OSCAR® and three-time Emmy Nominee. He studied at the Cooper Union School of Art, and has worked in the post-production of films by Kevin Smith, Michael Moore, and George Butler, among others. Bello launched Ropa Vieja Films with the 2008 OSCAR® nominated Salim Baba, which he shot and produced in Kolkata, India in four days. He later produced and edited War Don Don, which won the Special Jury Prize at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival, and for which he was awarded the first Karen Schmeer Award for Excellence in Documentary Editing. War Don Don was nominated for two 2011 Emmys in the categories: Outstanding Coverage of a News Story (Long Form) and Outstanding Editing. In 2012, Francisco completed his work as writer, producer, editor of Code of the West, which premiered at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival. He spent most of 2012 editing Best Kept Secret (POV broadcast, 2013 Gotham Audience Award Nomination, 2014 Peabody Award winner) and Our Nixon (2013 Rotterdam, SXSW, New Directors New Films + CNN broadcast), for which he won his second Karen Schmeer Award for Excellence in Documentary Editing. He is currently developing his feature directorial debut, The Murder and the Journalists.

Additional panelists:

Chen Danqing is a Chinese painter, art critic, and public intellectual. Born in Shanghai, he spent many years in the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, where he learned to paint on his own. In 1978, he entered the Central Academy of Fine Arts as a graduate student and graduated in 1980. His Tibetan Series (Xi Zang Zu Hua, 1980) had a tremendous influence on the then emerging Native Soil Painting movement, breaking away from the officially sanctioned social realist style of art. Chen came to New York in 1982 and returned to China in 2000 when he was invited to teach at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He currently lives in Beijing, where he continues to paint and write.

Michelle Yun (moderator) is Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Asia Society Museum. Her most recently curated exhibition at Asia Society was Nam June Paik: Becoming Robot in fall 2014. Prior to her appointment to Asia Society, Yun was the curator of the Hunter College Art Galleries. She has previously served as the project director of Cai Guo-Qiang’s studio and as a curatorial assistant in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, in addition to organizing numerous independently curated exhibitions.

Program followed by a reception.

For more information on the artist Mu Xin, check out Asia Society’s 2003 exhibition of the artist’s work, Landscape and Memory, here.

Exhibition catalogues for Landscape and Memory are available at AsiaStore — click here.

For more information on Dreaming Against the World, please visit the film’s home page or Facebook page.

Poster courtesy of the filmmakers

For more information, please click here.