Headline: Big Brother Documentary Highlights American Filmmaker’s Frustrations in China
Inspired by a Youtube video that went viral, Gil Kofman decided to make a movie about a lonely girl trapped in a basement. The L.A. director subsequently contracted to shoot the thriller, Case Sensitive, in China, the nation now with the third largest film industry behind the United States and India.
Unfortunately, Gil forgot to factor into the equation that not only is the government there thoroughly corrupt, but dissent is not allowed. Consequently, the production would be plagued by delays due to bureaucratic red tape and the presence on the set of government censors who demanded everything from seven, politically and cultural-correct rewrites of the script to the replacement of cast members with actors approved by the Communist Party.
Worse, Gil’s complaints about any of the above only fell on deaf ears, and he was even warned that he would lose should he try to assert any legal rights. The frustrated filmmaker failed to find any sympathetic shoulder among the locals since, as he puts it, “The whole country has been benevolently brainwashed.”
In the end, however, the picture was a hit, at least in China, where it was released on 2,000 screens. But Gil never saw a dime of that money. And to add insult to injury, bootleg copies of the film were being sold in Asian bodegas all over the U.S. within a few months, rendering it worthless theatrically upon his return to the States.
His anguish as a result of the extended nightmare is carefully captured in Unmade in China, a flick which is a horrible advertisement for entering any business enterprise with the Communists. Still, while watching this gullible American get rolled for his work product, you can’t help but wonder why he didn’t cut his losses and give up after the first week of being given so much grief.
A comical account of a year-long, money-burning party which ought to serve as a sobering warning for any equally-naïve entrepreneur considering investing in China.
Excellent (3.5 stars)
In English and Mandarin with subtitles
Running time: 90 minutes
Distributor: 7th Art Releasing / Antidote Films
To see a trailer for Unmade in China, visit: