How Is Your Fish Today? a Genre-Defying Blend of Feature and Documentary Set in a Village in Northernmost China

Film to premiere on the PBS series Independent Lens on Tuesday, January 29, 2008

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(San Francisco, CA)—HOW IS YOUR FISH TODAY? a film that spins threads of fiction and nonfiction into a gossamer web will have its television premiere as part of the sixth season of the Emmy® Award–winning PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by Terrence Howard, on Tuesday, January 29, at 10pm (check local listings). 

The film, a 2007 Sundance Film Festival selection, was directed by Xiaolu Guo. It is set in the mythical village of Mohe, the northernmost point of an imaginary landscape between China and Russia. Blurring the lines between the real and the imaginary, Guo’s feature debut is co-written by Guo and screenwriter Rao Hui. The film operates on two levels—there is the focus on a frustrated writer (played by Hui himself) and the focus on his dramatic subject, a young man named Lin Hao, whom we witness traveling across China in a visual depiction of Rao Hui’s still-unfolding screenplay. Rao Hui is a disillusioned Beijing screenwriter who supports himself by writing television soap opera scripts. When his newest screenplay, Northern Lights, is rejected by a film producer, he decides to throw himself into rewriting it, diving deeply into creating the character of Lin Hao, a young man in southern China who has killed his lover. 

Lin Hao starts a lonely escape across country toward Mohe, a mystical snowy village at the northern border. As he writes, Rao Hui begins to live the life of Lin Hao, blurring the boundaries between reality and fiction, even starting his own journey northward as he works out the details of his fleeing character. When the scriptwriter arrives in that mysterious village, he meets his own fictional character, lying on the frozen river at the border, covered in snow. 

To learn more about the film and the issues, visit the companion website for HOW IS YOUR FISH TODAY? at Independent Lens online. Get detailed information on the film watch preview clips, read an interview with the filmmaker and explore the subject in depth with links and resources. The site also features a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions. HOW IS YOUR FISH TODAY? companion website launches January 8, 2007, at 

HOW IS YOUR FISH TODAY? is in Mandarin with English subtitles. 

About the Filmmaker 
HOW IS YOUR FISH TODAY?’s director/co-writer Xiaolu Guo is a filmmaker and novelist. Born in 1973 in a fishing village in south China, Guo started publishing poems when she was 14. She has published seven books since graduating with an M.A. from the Beijing Film Academy. Guo won the Chinese National Film Award for Best Screenwriting for her first feature, Love in the Internet Age, in 1999. She wrote and directed The Concrete Revolution, which won Grand Prize at the 2005 International Human Rights Film Festival in Paris and the 2005 Special Jury Prize at the EBS International Documentary Festival in Seoul. HOW IS YOUR FISH TODAY? is Guo’s narrative feature debut. It screened at the 2006 Edinburgh Film Festival, the 2006 BritDoc Festival, and the 2007 Sundance and Rotterdam film festivals. Her new feature documentary, We Went to Wonderland, is an official selection for the 2008 Rotterdam Film Festival. Guo’s first English-translated novel, Village of Stone, short-listed for the 2005 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the 2006 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her most recent novel, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, is to be published in America and Europe in 2007. 

About Independent Lens 
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing Tuesday nights at 10pm on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Independent Lens features unforgettable stories about a unique individual, community or moment in history. Further information about the series is available at The series producer is Lois Vossen. 


Voleine Amilcar, ITVS, 415-356-8383 x 244,
Mary Lugo, 770-623-8190,
Cara White, 843-881-1480,

Posted on December 6, 2007