IFChina Original Studio

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IFChina Original Studio Participatory Documentary Center is a non-profit art and cultural organization that utilizes film, photography, oral history, and theater productions to promote local culture and document history and realities from the perspectives of ordinary citizens. IFChina was founded in 2008 by Chinese independent filmmaker, artist, and writer Jian Yi, Douglas Xiao and Eva Song. Jian Yi co-founded the China Village Documentary Project with filmmaker Wu Wenguang in 2004, which was the impetus for the development of IFChina.

IFChina is located in Ji'an of Jiangxi province, China. The inland province has the distinction of being at the crossroads of the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta and provides large numbers of migrant workers to the three prosperous coastal provinces it borders. The small city of Ji’an is within the Jinggangshan region, the “cradle of the Chinese revolution” and birthplace of the Chinese Red Army (the People's Liberation Army of China). This location is representative of an urban community within a vast rural area, providing a template for other cultural organizations to follow. Real Time magazine reported that “[IFChina] is said to be China’s first non-profit art and cultural organization that collects and documents the stories of ordinary Chinese.”[1]

In June 2009, the organization sought to be under the umbrella of the state-owned Jinggangshan University and established its Participatory Documentary Center on JGSU campus. dGenerate Films reports that “The IFCHINA team reach out to people from every walk of life from unemployed workers, school children, college students, migrant workers, to rural women, children, and elderly”.[2] Currently, much of its work focuses on self-governance of China’s rural communities and the social and demographic changes occurring due to urban migration, specifically for children and elderly who have been described as “left behind”. Emphasis is placed on offering perspectives of the villagers themselves and their daily lives through independent documentary film and theater with the aim to preserve individual and communal memories.

The organization’s undertakings include oral history interviews; participatory documentary workshops; school photography workshops; a documentary theater project; exploration of Red History and Culture (state efforts to generate public support for its political ideology and legitimacy); a rice collection project (“A Scoop of Rice”) which utilizes volunteers to deliver rice or noodles to senior citizens as a “compensation” to their “taking” of people’s stories; a “Happy Rooms” mural painting project; university courses offered in partnership with Jinggangshan University; a Rural Design Workshop; and a planned “Museum of Memories” (MoM) to collect and preserve the organization’s projects. IFChina reports on its website that “Our documentations can raise civic awareness, spur engagement and a stronger sense of shared human values, and redefine the relationships between individuals to foster a more civil society and functional world.” [3] Funding derives from ARTiSIMPLE Studio in Beijing, the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development, the Narada Foundation, as well as through online private donations for both funding and media equipment.


  1. ^ Edwards, Dan, “You can’t build on emptiness.” Real Time Arts, June/July 2011, 103, p. 16. http://www.realtimearts.net/article/103/10321, August 21, 2011
  2. ^ Cai, Isabella Tianzi, “Jian Yi launches IFChina website highlighting work in rural China.” dGenerate Films, December 28, 2010. http://dgeneratefilms.com/china-today/jian-yi-launches-ifchina-website-highlighting-work-in-rural-china/, August 21, 2011
  3. ^ IFChina Original Studio Web site. http://www.ifchina.org

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