Four Rising Stars of Chinese Cinema

Keep an eye on these promising filmmakers

Jing Tian The Great Wall
Courtesy of Universal

Jing Tian (pictured)
The 28-year-old actress is the rising star of China. A graduate of Beijing Dance Academy and Beijing Film Academy, she has appeared in big productions such as costume epic “The Warring States” (2011), and acted alongside Donnie Yen in “Special ID” (2013) and Jackie Chan in “Police Story 2013” (2013). She has signed on three films with Legendary Pictures, including a prominent role in Zhang Yimou’s “The Great Wall” (2016) and joined the cast of “Kong: Skull Island” (2017) and “Pacific Rim: Uprising” (2018).

Liu Jian
Born in 1969, Liu Jian was trained as a painter at Nanjing University of the Arts, but he embarked on a career in animation in 2001 with a three-minute short featured in Feng Xiaogang’s comedy “Big Shot’s Funeral.” He made his debut with animated feature with “Piercing I.” The film was dubbed China’s first independent animated feature and won critical acclaim. His second animated feature, “Have a Nice Day” (Hao Ji Le), will have a world premiere at the Berlinale as one of the competition entries, the first Chinese animated film to compete for the Golden Bear.

Jevons Au
Au, a leading figure among a new generation of Hong Kong filmmakers, began his filmmaking career with short films. His “Romancing in Thin Air” (2012) was named best screenplay by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society. Au is one of the directors of “Ten Years” (2015), the controversial dystopian film about the future of Hong Kong under Beijing’s growing influence, named best film at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Au’s “Trivisa” (2016), produced by Johnnie To, was co-directed with fellow young directors Frank Hui and Vicky Wong and was featured in the Forum section of the Berlinale last year. Hong Kong film critics named it best film.

Huang Hui-chen
Taiwanese documentary filmmaker Huang began taking part in social movements when she was 20. She described herself coming from an “abnormal family” — an alcoholic father and lesbian mother. Her background gave her a different lens through which to see the world. “Small Talk” (Ri Chang Dui Hua) is her first feature-length documentary about her mother, who survived social discrimination. The doc was nominated at the 2016 Golden Horse Film Awards and will be shown in the Panorama section of this year’s Berlinale.