Narrowing the Export Gap in Indies
THE director Lixin Fan had already shown “Last Train Home,” his acclaimed documentary about Chinese migrant workers, around the world when, a few weeks ago, he finally got to screen it for Wuhan, his hometown. And, more important, for his mother.
“Mom invited all her best friends to be my cheering section,” Mr. Fan said. “And that was very special, because it took me years to make this film, and I never had much time to spend with her.” He said he felt guilty.
In Chinese culture a child is supposed to support his parent, “and the family should be together, the way they are in my film,” he said. “The day I brought the film to Wuhan I felt somehow I was repaying her for my not being a good Chinese son.”
Mr. Fan’s mother is not exactly the “underserved audience” that the organizers of Film Forward had in mind when they started bringing independent film to unlikely global locations in December. But she does suggest that the benefits of such a program can be a two-way street of enlightenment and validation.