GMU Visiting Filmmakers Series: Hooligan Sparrow with Nanfu Wang

Thursday, March 2, 2017 4:30 PM to 7:10 PM EST
Johnson Center, Cinema

Hooligan Sparrow 

March 2, 2017, Thursday 4:30pm

Johnson Center Cinema 

Documentary screening and discussion with director Nanfu Wang


The danger is palpable as intrepid young filmmaker Nanfu Wang follows maverick activist Ye Haiyan (a.k.a Hooligan Sparrow) and her band of colleagues to Hainan Province in southern China to protest the case of six elementary school girls who were sexually abused by their principal. Marked as enemies of the state, the activists are under constant government surveillance and face interrogation, harassment, and imprisonment. Sparrow, who gained notoriety with her advocacy work for sex workers’ rights, continues to champion girls’ and women’s rights and arms herself with the power and reach of social media.

Filmmaker Nanfu Wang becomes a target along with Sparrow, as she faces destroyed cameras and intimidation. Yet she bravely and tenaciously keeps shooting, guerrilla-style, with secret recording devices and hidden-camera glasses, and in the process, she exposes a startling number of undercover security agents on the streets. Eventually, through smuggling footage out of the country, Wang is able tell the story of her journey with the extraordinary revolutionary Sparrow, her fellow activists, and their seemingly impossible battle for human rights.

The film is a co-presentation with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and is currently on the Academy Awards' shortlist for Best Feature Documentary.

The film premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition and was the opening night film at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York. It was nominated by the Critics Choice Documentary Awards for Best First Documentary Feature and received a special award from the International Documentary Association for Emerging Documentary Filmmaker. 

Nanfu Wang is winner of the Truer Than Fiction award at the Independent Spirit Awards, presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not received significant recognition. 

Hooligan Sparrow is winner of Cinema Eye Honors' Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film (January 11 2017).

Our screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Nanfu Wang. 

Film website and POV website, with Nanfu Wang interview and discussion guide

NPR interview with Nanfu Wang.

The Q&A will be facilitated by GMU's Rita Chi-Ying Chung, Professor at the Counseling & Development Program. 

Our event is sponsored by Film and Media Studies, Film and Video Studies, Chinese Studies in MCL, Global Affairs, Global Programs, History and Art History, Latin American Studies, University Libraries, University Life, Women and Gender Studies, and Delta Kappa Alpha.

Information: Cynthia Fuchs 

Add this event to your calendar