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As part of China Week 2023, the Lau China Institute at King's College London with Sine Screen are delighted to present a special screening of independent documentary-film 'Children at a Village School' with introduction by filmmaker and director, Jiang Nengjie .

Children at a Village School is a documentary-film that follows the families of three left-behind children in Yishan District, Hunan province while their parents find work in the city. Filmed over six years, Jiang Nengjie documents the hardships faced by children in Guang'an village, providing a glimpse into the reality of life, and state of education, for the millions of children in rural China who are left to live with their grandparents or other relatives whilst their parents work low-paid jobs in the bigger cities. 

Join us at The Garden Cinema in Covent Garden for a private screening with introduction from director, Jiang Nengjie, and panel discussion with experts in film, migration and education from King's College London. Sine Screen are an emerging screening project showcasing independent cinema from China and East and Southeast Asia.

Watch the trailer

Jiang Nengjie is an independent filmmaker, documentarian and director. He was born in Hunan province in 1985 and was part of the first generation 'left behind' by parents looking for work in China’s cities. ‘Children at a Village School’ is the second in a trilogy of ethnographic documentaries by the filmmaker examining the life and education of children in Guang’an village, Hunan province. The film won Best Documentary Feature in the 3rd Phoenix Documentary Awards, and First Prize at the 2013 Frankfurt Film Festival – China in Motion. His other works include The Ninth Grade, Jia Yi and The Road.


Lisa Lin is a lecturer in Screen Industries and Cultures in the Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King's College London. Before joining King’s, she worked as a documentary producer in the UK, Singapore and China. Her producing credits include Matter Patterns (2014), I Wouldn’t Go in There Season 2 (National Geographic, 2015), G-Force (Splinter Films/Hummingbird Music, 2016), Last Breath (One World Media, 2017), The Truth about Fake News (Channel News Asia, 2018), Frontline Medics Diaries (Channel 4, 2020).

Lisa is the author of Convergent Chinese Television Industries (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022). She previously taught at Royal Holloway, University of London, University of Kent and Anglia Ruskin University. She was the principal investigator for the GCRF-funded project ‘Environmental Documentary as Visual Evidence on Social Injustice Behind Air Pollution’ (2019-2020).

Lisa holds a PhD in Media and Communications, an MA in International Broadcasting from Royal Holloway, University of London, and a Diploma in Factual Development and Production from the National Film and Television School.

Xiaxia Yang is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Chinese Migration at the Lau China Institute. Before joining King’s, she received her PhD in Geography from the University of Washington. Her dissertation looked at the exploitative age-selective process of internal migration in China in the reform era. Her current research examines various disadvantages faced by migrants in China induced by the selective migration process and other related topics.

Giulia D’Aquila (moderator) is a PhD Candidate in Chinese Studies at the Lau China Institute. Her current research focuses on the role that Chinese contemporary films play in the international relations between the UK and China. In 2021 she was selected for the Future Talent Programme by the UK-China Film Collab and carried out film-related activities and preparatory research as part of her project. In 2020 she graduated with a Distinction from the University of Edinburgh with a Master’s in Chinese Studies, with a focus on Chinese cinema.

Film running time: 90 minutes

At this event

Lisa Lin

Lecturer in Screen Industries and Cultures

Xiaxia Yang

Research Associate in Chinese Migration

Event details

The Garden Cinema
39-41 Parker Street, London, WC2B 5PQ