Villagers in central China confront a chemical company that is poisoning their land and water in this rare portrait of grassroots activism in contemporary China. When his own fields could no longer be farmed, Zhang Gongli filed a lawsuit against the polluting factory. After he lost, he initiated a stubborn, and often dangerous, campaign for justice. The Warriors of Qiugang follows Zhang and his allies in the village as they petition Beijing, recruit support from the local media, reach out for help from a local NGO and make contact with environmental activists from across China. The film’s intimacy leads us beyond the headlines and clichés about modern China and offer a memorable portrait of villagers wrestling with, and transformed by, China’s headlong rush into modernity. In Chinese, with English subtitles, the movie was directed by Ruby Yang and produced by Thomas Lennon. It was the 2011 Academy Award Nominee for Documentary Short Film.

Introduced and moderated by Dr. Jennifer Turner, Director of the China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Discussion with Kristen McDonald follows screening.