Women of LAAPFF: Nanfu Wang, Director of HOOLIGAN SPARROW

by Reynaldo Culannay

For Women's History Month, we will be acknowledging the different women who have been featured in the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. This year's Festival will run from April 27th to May 4th, 2017, so stay tuned for the lineup!

Nanfu Wang is an independent filmmaker based in New York City. Wang’s upbringing with her family in a remote farming village in Jiangxi Province, China propelled her to obtain formal education. Throughout Wang’s academic career, her experience led her to getting fellowships, participating in various graduate programs, and earning three degrees from New York University, Ohio University, and Shanghai University. Wang’s work highlights similar hardships she overcame through the voices of communities that are mistreated and marginalized. Wang is a recipient of the Sundance Documentary Fund and the Bertha Britdoc Journalism Fund, and is a Sundance and IFP-supported filmmaker. HOOLIGAN SPARROW is Wang’s feature debut that screened at the 2016 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

HOOLIGAN SPARROW captures Ye Haiyan’s (aka Sparrow) journey and her activism that brings attention to womens' rights, child abuse, and sex work in China. The film follows Haiyan and her fellow activists fighting for justice for six elementary school girls who were sexually abused by their principal. Haiyan’s activism attracted the Chinese government’s attention and the activists were marked enemies of the state. The film not only symbolizes Haiyan’s strength and resilience but also filmmaker Wang’s bravery in enduring backlash by accompanying Haiyan. Haiyan and Wang's collective endeavor to smuggle footage out of China allows the voices that are battling for human rights to be seen and heard.

Reynaldo Culannay is a college student graduating from Pitzer College in May 2017 with a BA in Media Studies and Asian American Studies. With interests in community activism, media, and arts, Reynaldo works towards utilizing the power of storytelling to create difficult yet necessary dialogues within his communities. His goal is to work on projects that address the following: the Filipino diaspora in America, queer identity, class issues, and intergenerational trauma.