Xmas Without China Explores What it Means to Be “Made in China” in Identity and as a Consumer During Christmas

“A surprising, sweet, funny documentary that provokes without sermons.”— James Grimaldi, The Wall Street Journal

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(San Francisco, CA) — Imagine living a month without the ubiquitous “Made in China” label on anything you purchase. Now imagine that month is December. One All-American family accepts this challenge from Chinese immigrant Tom Xia, who moved to the US as a boy and wanted to explore the material relationship between his new home and his native one. The rules: One family must remove everything made in China from their home (temporarily) while not purchasing anything new with that label for an entire holiday season. In Alicia Dwyer’s film Xmas Without China, there’s comedy and tragedy, but more than that questions of family, success, and consumerism that swirl around our idea of personal identity. Xmas Without China, which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival, is coming to PBS beginning November 11, 2013 (check local listings.)

 In the film, the Jones family gives up not just toys, plates, lamps, and clothes, but their beloved hair dryer, coffeemaker, XBox, and many Christmas decorations, challenging the way they both live everyday life and celebrate Christmas. Meanwhile, Tom's parents construct a new home, using Chinese materials to proudly build their American dream. As they decorate for Christmas for the first time and the interactions between the Xias and the Joneses intensify, Tom realizes that he’s on a deeper journey to understand the complexities of his own divided loyalties between America and China. 

Visit the Xmas Without China website (http://www.itvs.org/films/xmas-without-china) which features information about the film and filmmakers, as well as press photographs and a trailer. 

About the Filmmaker 
Besides Xmas Without China, director/producer Alicia Dwyer was the second unit director for the acclaimed film Bully, which appeared in theaters nationwide, distributed by The Weinstein Company. Dwyer was a co-director on The Calling, a four-hour PBS series that aired on Independent Lens in 2010. She was associate producer of the 2004 Emmy Award-nominated HBO series Pandemic: Facing AIDS, and of the 2001 Academy Award-winning feature documentary Into the Arms of Strangers. Dwyer helped start Veracity Productions, an independent production company making cinema and media content for PBS, The Jim Henson Company, The New York Times Magazine Online, Oprah.com, The California Endowment, and a variety of nonprofit organizations. Dwyer studied German and politics at Princeton, and received her MFA in film production from USC. 

Director: Alicia Dwyer
Producer: Tom Xia
Co-Producers: Juli Vizza & Michael Dwyer
Cinematographer: Michael Dwyer
Editor: Juli Vizza 

About ITVS 
The Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds, presents, and promotes award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television and cable, innovative new media projects on the Web, and the Emmy Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens Monday nights at 10:00pm on PBS. ITVS receives core funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Posted on September 24, 2013