DIRECTOR: NANFU WANG
Meet “Hooligan Sparrow,” a.k.a. Ye Haiyan, a tireless Chinese women’s activist. In this tense, riveting first-hand account by first-time filmmaker Nanfu Wang (which she smuggled out of the country), viewers get a front-row seat to Sparrow’s activist efforts, from posing as a sex worker to shaming a high school principle accused of raping his students. With “on-the-ground urgency, [this] nervy, paranoid” (Screen Daily) docu-thriller presents a harrowing view of state surveillance and intimidation, as the characters are constantly under threats of harassment and violence. It’s also a devastating critique of China’s policies (as one of the film’s characters testifies, “China is so corrupt that it’s become fashionable for government officials to have sex with young girls.”) A “rabble-rousing” portrait, according to RogerEbert.com, “the movie’s fighting spirit is a standout.”
Nanfu Wang is a filmmaker based in New York City. Originally from a remote village in China, Wang overcame poverty and lack of access to formal secondary education. Her work often features the stories of marginalized or mistreated people. From Chinese blood donors stricken with HIV from used government-issued needles to the left-behind children of migrant laborers, Wang’s short films have been distributed on many platforms and translated into several languages. Wang is a recipient of a Sundance postproduction grant, Bertha Britdoc Journalism Fund, a Sundance Documentary Fellow, and an IFP supported filmmaker. Her feature debut Hooligan Sparrow has so far received support from Sundance Institute, IFP, IDA, and BRITDOC. Nanfu Wang holds three master’s degrees from Shanghai University, Ohio University, and New York University in English Literature, Media Studies, and Documentary respectively.