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Huang Wenhai, aka Wen Hai, studied at the Beijing Film Academy and has been active as an independent film director since 2001. Among his best known films are Floating Dust (2003), that received the Prix Georges Beauregard at the 16th Festival International du Documentaire in Marseille in 2005, Dream Walking (2005), and the film We (wo men) that won the Horizons Special Mention award at the 2008 Venice International Film Festival. Wenhai also worked as a camera man on Wang Bing’s film Three Sisters (2012). His 2016 book The Gaze of Exile: Witnessing Chinese Independent Documentary Films was published in Taipei by Tendency.

We the Workers: A Conversation with Huang Wenhai

Shot over a six-year period (2009–2015) mainly in the industrial heartland of south China—a major hub in the global supply chain—the 2017 film We the Workers (xiongnian zhi pan) follows labour activists as they find common grounds with workers, helping them to negotiate with local officials and factory owners over wages and working conditions. Threats, attacks, detention, and boredom become part of their daily lives as they struggle to strengthen worker solidarity in the face of threats and pressures from police and their employers. In the process, we see in their words and actions the emergence of a nascent working-class consciousness and labour movement in China. What follows is a conversation between Zeng Jinyan, producer of the movie, and its director Huang Wenhai.

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