You are here

"The Colony" and "The Women's Kingdom"

The U.S.-China Institute presents a screening of two short
films, The Colony and The Women's Kingdom, as part of the documentary series. Join both directors for Q&A following the screening.

February 10, 2010 6:00pm to 8:00pm

The Colony:

"The trade between China and Africa developed rapidly with an annual increase rate of 30 percent in the past eight years, and the trade volume exceeded 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2008."  -- Xinhua News Agency, Nov. 11, 2009.

The Colony is a short documentary about China’s aggressive economic role in Africa, which many compare to colonization. It is one of the first films that provide a close-up view of the Chinese who are working and living in Africa. Through the personal stories of several Chinese entrepreneurs in Dakar, the capital city of Senegal, The Colony examines the trend of China's expansion in Africa as well as the relationship between Chinese and African people.    


Brent E. Huffman
Documentary Filmmaker and Assistant Professor at Northwestern University 

Brent E. Huffman is an award-winning director, writer, and cinematographer of  documentaries and television programs. His work ranges from documentaries aired on The Discovery Channel and The National Geographic Channel, to Sundance Film Festival  winners, to films made for FRONTLINE/World on PBS.  Huffman has been making social issue documentaries and environmental films for more than 12 years in Afghanistan, China, Africa, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. These films have gone on to win numerous awards including a Primetime Emmy, Best Conservation Film, two Cine Golden Eagle Awards, a College Emmy, a Student Academy Award, and a Grand Jury Award at  AFI’s SILVERDOCS 2004 in Washington DC.  Huffman was also an editor and shooter of Julia Reichert's and Steven Bognar's Primetime Emmy winning PBS documentary series "A Lion in the House" about children battling cancer.  Huffman is also a writer whose work has been featured in Bust Magazine, The Wilson Quarterly, Frontline/World’s website, and The China Digital Times. He recently completed a book about his experiences in China called "Life in the Heart of China: Diary from a Forbidden World."  Huffman recently covered Vortex 2, the world's largest tornado research project for NBC.


The Women's Kingdom:

Keepers of one of the last matriarchal societies in the world, Mosuo women in a remote area of southwest China live beyond the strictures of mainstream Chinese culture – enjoying great freedoms and carrying heavy responsibilities.

Beautifully shot and featuring intimate interviews, this short documentary offers a rare glimpse into a society virtually unheard of 10 years ago and now often misrepresented in the media. Mosuo women control their own finances and do not marry or live with partners; they practice what they call "walking marriage." A man may be invited into a woman’s hut to spend a "sweet night," but must leave by daybreak. While tourism has brought wealth and 21st century conveniences to this remote area, it has also introduced difficult challenges to the Mosuo culture – from pollution in the lake, to the establishment of brothels, to mainstream ideas about women, beauty and family. This finely wrought film is a sensitive portrayal of extraordinary women struggling to hold on to their extraordinary society.


Xiaoli Zhou

Xiaoli Zhou is an award-winning documentary filmmaker with a strong journalism background. As a native Chinese and a graduate of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, Zhou specializes in international reporting and making documentaries about Asian cultures.

Zhou's work has aired on The Discovery Channel, PBS and Al Jazeera International, among others. Her documentaries have screened at various film festivals around the world. For the past few years, she has been honored by the Foreign Press Association, American Women in Radio and Television, Asian American Journalists Association and Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Zhou's film The Women's Kingdom received a silver medal in the documentary category of 2006 Student Academy Awards and won the Best Editing Award from San Francisco Women's Film Festival.

The documentary short Utopia 3: The World's Largest Shopping Mall produced by Zhou has recently premiered in the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

Zhou also translated former Vice President Al Gore's global warming presentation, featured in the documentary film An Inconvenient Truth, for a Chinese audience.

Zhou started a production company, German Camera Productions, with her husband, Brent E. Huffman. She lives in Ojai, California. 

Anna Wang is a bilingual producer specializing in US-China film/TV co-productions. In her most recent position with The Weinstein Company, she acted as the manager for its Asian division and worked on physical production and development of Asian-themed feature films. She started her journalism training in China and finished her BA in Journalism in the US before gaining an MA in Communication Management from USC. After graduation, she served in different positions in the entertainment industry, including as the representative of Variety China for the trade magazine Variety. In 2004, she produced a documentary in China which was later showcased at the 6th San Diego Asian Film Festival and aired on PBS.



March 27, 2019 - 4:30pm
Los Angeles, California

Michael Dunne, author of American Wheels: Chinese Roads, will focus on General Motors in China since 1989. The discussion will be followed by a short introduction to the Mark L. Moody collection at the USC East Asian Library. 

April 9, 2019 - 4:00pm
Los Angeles, California

Please join the USC U.S.-China Institute for a screening of an episode of the Assignment: China series on American media coverage of China. This episode focuses on the work of journalists covering the massive demonstrations that rocked Beijing in spring 1989. Followed by a Q&A with USCI's Mike Chinoy, who covered the demonstrations for CNN.