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A young vegetable seller from Hunan province challenges the boundaries of free speech by reporting on censored news stories.
Stephen Maing is a New York-based filmmaker. He is a fellow of the Sundance Documentary Institute and a grant recipient of the MacArthur Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, and the Independent Television Service. His filmmaking merges an interest in underrepresented individuals and communities,… and the evolving considerations of identity, visual language, and narrative structure. He co-produced and edited the award-winning documentary Lioness, which had its broadcast premiere on PBS’s Independent Lens, and directed the narrative film Little Hearts. His film High Tech, Low Life won Best Documentary awards at the Independent Film Festival of Boston and the Little Rock Film Festival, and Best Cinematography at the Woods Hole Film Festival. Stephen works as a director, cinematographer, and editor on documentary and narrative films and teaches summer classes in documentary cinematography at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston.
Inspired by a search for truth and the potential for fame, a young vegetable seller from Hunan province challenges the boundaries of free speech by reporting on censored news stories in cities throughout China. An older blogger from Beijing makes sense of his past by riding his bicycle across the mainland documenting the struggles of villagers deep within China's countryside.
Armed with laptops, cell phones, and digital cameras, “Zola” and “Tiger Temple” travel the country as independent one-man news stations while learning to navigate China’s evolving censorship regulations and avoiding the risk of political persecution. High Tech, Low Life captures the untold story of two of China's first citizen reporters and the achievements of a fearless new digital generation.