Liu Jian’s Berlin Competition Entry ‘Art College 1994’ Unveils Clip, Poster (EXCLUSIVE)

Sales agency Memento Intl. has unveiled the first clip and poster from Liu Jian’s Berlin competition title “Art College 1994,” which world premieres on Feb. 24.

The film is a portrait of youth set on the campus of the Chinese Southern Academy of Arts in the early 1990s. Against the backdrop of reforms opening China to the Western world, a group of college students live in full swing as they take their first steps into adulthood, where love and friendships are intertwined with artistic pursuits, ideals and ambitions. Caught between tradition and modernity, they now have to choose who they want to become.

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It is the director’s third animation feature after 2010’s “Piercing I” and “Have a Nice Day,” which premiered in competition at the Berlinale in 2017, and quickly built a cult following. “Have a Nice Day” was also honored with the best animated feature award at the Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan.

Memento Intl. racked up healthy sales on “Have a Nice Day” to more than 30 international territories.

The film features an all star Chinese voice cast including Dong Zijian (“Mountains May Depart,” “At Cafe 6”), Zhou Dongyu (“Better Days”), musician RenKe, comedian Papi, Huang Bo (“The Island,” “Journey to the West”), actor and director Da Peng (“City of Rock,” “A Final Reunion”), as well as internationally renowned auteurs Jia Zhangke and Bi Gan.

“Art College 1994” is produced by Nezha Bros. Pictures Company Limited, Modern Sky Entertainment Company Limited, and China Academy of Art’s School of Animation and Game.

The director said: “The nineties were a very special time in the development of Chinese society. The average people’s daily lives were going through huge changes. Along with the shift to a market-driven economy, the Western culture and thoughts flooded people’s horizons.

“It was a time where we were discussing philosophy, literature, art and so on… A time full of hope and ideals! I was enrolled in an art college in the early nineties, and I devoted myself to artistic creation passionately. I felt that everything around me on the campus was lively, hopeful, new. This is the background I chose for ‘Art College 1994.’

“What was happening on college campuses was part of the larger social transformation of China. I feel like this is something that has touched everyone.

“I want to expose the choices and dilemmas people had to make in artistic creation, personal goals, love, friendships… All of these choices and dilemmas reflect the constant struggle between tradition and modernity.

” ‘Art College 1994’ takes us back to this college campus life of the 1990s. It’s a time that is both far away but also very close, both distant but also intimate. To me, recreating that period with animation is more free, more accurate, and easier to control. But more importantly, I hope to create a sense that this word is both real and surreal. If the audience can feel that sense of beauty while watching this film, that would be very special.”

Memento Intl. said: ” ‘Art College 1994’ is a delicate, intimate and nostalgic look at campus life in the 1990s, full of pop culture references. Liu Jian’s stunning visuals makes it all the more compelling and mesmerizing.”

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