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1.15.2008

ruby yang, documentary filmmaker

Here's an interesting article on Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Ruby Yang, whose work examines some of China's most serious and controversial domestic issues -- HIV/AIDS, tobacco and the ravages of smoking, homosexuality and the environment: Filmmaker exposes gay life, pollution in China.

Yang won an Oscar last year for her The Blood of Yingzhou District, a powerful film tracking a year in the life of AIDS orphans in China's Anhui Province. It's an amazing, important work, painting a bleak portrait of a rural health crisis. It's also one of the most depressing movies I've ever seen.

She's also worked on a series of public service advertisement promoting condom use, featuring the likes of stars like Jackie Chan. The shorts, produced with the support of the Ministry of Health, were the first condom ads ever to air on state-owned broadcaster China Central Television's national network, CCTV1.

Her next film, a half-hour documentary tentatively titled Double Life, examines gay life and the pressures created by China's one-child policy. I have a strong feeling this one will not be getting a public release in China. Expect instead to see it on the international film festival circuit later this year.