石牌往事 Once upon A Time in Shipai Village

For Xiao Song, who is in his early thirties and a new father, the largest existing urban village in Guangzhou, Shipai Village, is a place that supports him in achieving his goal of supporting his family. He loves and hates Shipai Village at the same time, just as his feelings for the city of Guangzhou are complicated: Although the household registration system prevents him from being afford to keep his three-year-old son with him to go to school in Guangzhou, he believes that this is a fair city after all. It has provided many migrant workers like him with an opportunity to "earn the first pot of gold".

This film uses a large number of daily life video clips taken by Xiao Song with his mobile phone in the past 7 years, trying to use the first person perspective of a "floating population" to tell the story of the deep relationship between Shipai Village and migrant workers in Guangzhou, and provide a perspective of “the others” in the context of anthropological research methodology in the topic of urbanization of first tier cities of China.



  • Manman Yang
  • Manman Yang
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    1,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Mandarin Chinese
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Manman Yang

Manman Yang / Mrs / Believing is Seeing Co., Ltd./ China

As a documentary filmmaker, visual storyteller, and visual anthropology scholar, Manman was born and raised up in Hunan province of southern China. She got her M.A. in Drama and Film Study from Beijing Film Academy in 2015, then started working as a documentary filmmaker. Driven by cultural shocks from her study and living experience in the Europe, she has been using documentary film making as a way to explore the world and affect the reality since 2016. She was enrolled as a M.A. student of the Germany university HMKW in the program of Visual and Media Anthropology in Oct. 2020. Her works were official selections of 2019 SVAFMF, 2020 EASA Lisboa Film Program and 2021 SVAFMF. In 2019, She set up BELIEVING IS SEEING STUDIO in Guangzhou, focused on documentary production, visual arts and visual anthropology.

2015年毕业于北京电影学院获戏剧与影视学硕士学位,后学习和旅居于欧洲逾一年, 2017年回国,2019年南下广州。德国柏林HMKW大学视觉与媒体人类学硕士在读。其作品曾入选2019年国际视觉人类学电影节(SVAFMF)(加拿大温哥华),2020年欧洲社会人类学协会双年影展(葡萄牙里斯本),2021年国际视觉人类学电影节(SVAFMF)(美国)。


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Director Statement

This is a machinima documentary about a young house rental agent in Shipai village of Guangzhou.
In this ten minutes film, I made use of the social media footage posted by the protagonist in his past 7 years life experience which was related to Shipai village closely, to endow him the subjective position of the visual storytelling in the film.

By telling his life stories as a migrant worker with his own perspective, I want to introduce him to the audiences in various latitudes as below:
Where he is from;
Who he is;
Why he is in Shipai village;
What he is doing there for making a living;
What he cares about most now and how Shipai village relates to it.

Through the personal life story of a marginalized migrant worker in a first tier city of China, I wish to disclose that to what extent Shipai the village and Guangzhou the city have made their own effects on his life routes, and most importantly, to depict the inner connection existing in between the urban village and the floating population in the context of violent urbanization progress in contemporary China.