'Faith' through film

Series of shorts on China quake makes debut

A series of short films about China's recent deadly earthquake made by prominent directors including Chen Kaige was unveiled Wednesday by the Shanghai Media Group.

SMG, which is distributing the series for free, said it is meant to arouse China's "national spirit" as well as the "faith" and "strength of mind that allows us to endure pain and adversity."

The series is dubbed "Action 1/2008," a title SMG said is meant to remind viewers that every event in 2008 — a year in which China has faced criticism over human rights, censorship and pollution — is important to each of China's 1.3 billion citizens.

Echoing the series "11'09'01-September 11," each roughly three-minute film addresses an aspect of the May 12 earthquake that killed 70,000 people and left 4.8 million homeless in China's Sichuan province.

The films, by Chen ("The Promise"), Gu Changwei ("Peacock"), Wang Xiaoshuai ("Beijing Bicycle") and others, are donated works of art, SMG said.

Stanley Kwan's "Petals" is one of the shorts to be featured. The Hong Kong director's contribution focuses on a Chinese woman who is delivering her child at the moment the quake hits — only she's not in Sichuan.

SMG is taking "Action 1/2008" to the AFM in November and is in talks with participating directors about making a follow-up series in 2009 to raise disaster relief funds.

The Hollywood Reporter serves as a co-sponsor for the series.

Alex S. Dai reported from Shanghai, China; Karen Chu reported from Hong Kong.