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SFFILM Festival

Trinh T. Minh-ha: Persistence of Vision Award + What About China?

Established in 1997, the Persistence of Vision Award honors the achievement of a filmmaker whose main body of work falls outside the realm of narrative feature filmmaking each year. Join renowned filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha for an in-depth onstage conversation and a screening of her latest film, What About China?


Fri, Apr 29 at 7 pm


7 pm: Award Presentation

7:30 pm: Screening

Persistence of Vision Award

The POV award honors a filmmaker whose main body of work falls outside the realm of traditional narrative filmmaking.


UC Berkeley professor and experimental filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha fascinates with this video essay examining the mercurial nature of China nearly half a century after the Cultural Revolution.



Filmmaker, writer, composer Trinh T. Minh-ha is a Distinguished Professor of the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley, whose work runs the gamut from feature films to multimedia installations to books. Her many awards include the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Caucus for Art; the 2006 Trailblazers Award at MIPDoc in Cannes, France; and the 1991 AFI National Independent Filmmaker Maya Deren Award. This year’s POV program will feature Trinh T. Minh-ha in conversation with Rizvana Bradley, Assistant Professor of Film and Media at UC Berkeley, followed by the North American premiere of Minh-ha’s latest film, What About China?

Nearly a half century after the Cultural Revolution, images of the Asian superpower as friend or foe to a beleaguered, industrialized West belie a mercurial nature that fascinates in this latest video essay by esteemed UC Berkeley professor and experimental filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha. Similar to Forgetting Vietnam (2015), low-res video footage shot 30 years ago of Chinese rural life centering on women, children, labor, and family is reanimated and reframed through photomontage, oral histories, travelogues, poetry, and folk songs in order to interrogate what China has been, is, and could be. The generational transmission of values and ideas weighs heavily, impacting identity formation at home and in diaspora. Like seminal works, Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989), Shoot for the Contents (1991), and Forgetting Vietnam (2015), the materiality of texts (video, sound, this film) captures the effect experienced by global citizenry.

Moderator Rizvana Bradley

Rizvana Bradley is assistant professor of film and media at UC Berkeley. Her research and teaching focus on the study of film and media at the intersections of literature, poetry, contemporary art, and performance. Bradley’s scholarship has appeared in a wide range of academic publications, including Film Quarterly, Black Camera, and Discourse. Her book, Anteaesthetics, is forthcoming with Stanford University Press. Before coming to UC Berkeley, Bradley was an Assistant Professor in the History of Art and African American Studies at Yale, an Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality at Emory University, and a Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of the History of Art at the University College London.

Director Trinh T. Minh-ha

A native of Vietnam, Trinh T. Minh-ha trained as a composer before turning to other pursuits, establishing herself as a filmmaker, literary theorist, writer, and educator. She is a professor in the departments of Gender and Women’s Studies and of Rhetoric at UC Berkeley. Among her films are Reassemblage (1982), Naked Spaces: Living is Round (Festival 1986), Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989), Shoot for the Contents (1991), A Tale of Love (1995), The Fourth Dimension (2001), Night Passage (2004), Forgetting Vietnam (2014), and What About China? (2021).

Film Details

Language English, Some Chinese

Year 2021

Premiere North American

Runtime 135

Country USA, China

Director Trinh T. Minh-ha

Executive Producer Trinh T. Minh-ha

Producer Jean-Paul Bourdier

Writer Trinh T. Minh-ha

Editor Trinh T. Minh-ha

Cinematographer Trinh T. Minh-ha

Music Wu Wei, Cao Xiyun, Liz Liu, Ming Bo, Qin E

Closed Captions Closed captions are not available for this screening.

Audio Description Audio description is not available for this screening.

American Sign Language (ASL) Interpretation American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation is not currently scheduled for this event. For more information about ASL interpretation at our events, e-mail ADA@SFFilm.org.