Ep 104: The Chinese Dream - exploring the extraordinary new documentary Ascension
In this episode of Girls On Film, we dive into the film Ascension, which has been shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature for the 2022 Academy Awards. The film explores the contemporary Chinese Dream and the paradox of progress in China, as seen through the eyes of filmmaker and editor Jessica Kingdon.
Jessica joins us and talks about her unique and successful style of filming and editing, and the challenges of gaining access to places usually hidden from the cameras. Her doc is visually driven rather than by character or story and the narrative and teases out its themes, allowing the viewers to draw their own conclusions. Jessica discusses what themes she found interesting to explore from a gender perspective and the challenges she faced in both filming and editing the documentary herself.
Next, Anna reviews Ascension with critics Ashanti Omkar and Katie Smith-Wong, who discuss the film’s focus on influencers and social media as well as jaw-dropping scenes filmed in a sex doll factory. They talk about the documentary’s amazing access and its depiction of class and hierarchies, as well as the importance of raising awareness of the realities of the industry supply chain.
Ascension is out in the UK on January 14th 2022.
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Host: Anna Smith. Executive producer: Hedda Archbold. Audio producer: Benjamin Cook. Intern: Shanaiya Pithiya. House band: MX Tyrants. This episode was produced in partnership with MTV Documentary Films.