Follow Your Heart (China, 2007)

Directed by: Duncan Jepson


The current generation of youth in China are the first Chinese in 5000 years to experience freedom, choice and the rites of passage to adulthood without the commanding power of an emperor or an all-encompassing political ideology.

With an ever-widening range of choices and opportunities and the benefits of a booming economy, this generation of Chinese youth live as many of their western peers have for generations. Yet this particular generation of Chinese youth, while experiencing new freedoms, also find themselves growing up to inherit a political and economic superpower. They are the generation that will build China’s future and negotiate the vital relationship with the US and the international community.

Follow Your Heart – China’s New Youth Movement explores the life and ideals of this new generation of Chinese from those in the wealthy coastal cities to those living in the small interior cities. The film focuses on the beliefs, work and family life of a number of China’s successful and independent Hip Hop artists who have an increasingly widening influence in a society quickly proselytising from communism to consumerism. The group, spread across China, believe in Hip Hop as it began in New York in 1970s; that it is a means of expressing freedom and that being true to oneself is most important. While political and traditional values do not encourage their work and beliefs, it is actually the extensive and powerful forces of commerce and consumerism that conflict most with their ideals but yet provide the most assistance in spreading the word.

The film investigates the conflicting dynamic between an inflexible political environment and an ancient culture embarking on modernisation. It also examines the issues that are affecting Chinese youth such as Chinese-ness, freedom, family, information, consumerism, wealth and individuality. The film also looks at youth culture in China and the country’s development from the perspective of the builders of the communist nation, their parents, and the architects of the new economy, the consumer corporate stakeholders.

Most importantly the film sets out to describe the high optimism and convictions of this new generation and the future that they want to build.

Cast: Gary Wang aka DJ VNutz, Sic (graf. artist), Wang Bo aka MC Webber, LJ (DJ), Stanly (B-boy), Momo (flygirl)

Festivals: Finalist, Las Vegas International Film Festival; Best Documentary, Urban Mediamakers Film Festival; New Beijing International Movie Week, Hawaii International Film Festival, San Diego Asian Film Festival, Bayou Film Festival (Houston), Black Soil Festival (Amsterdam), Tiger Far East Film Festival (London)

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