With a population of around 20 million and growing, Beijing’s residents produce unfathomable amounts of waste every day. Between 2008 and 2010, photographer and filmmaker Wang Jiuliang traveled to hundreds of legal and illegal landfills around the capital city to document the less considered side of China’s economic ascent. He shows the mounting piles of garbage accumulating in the shadow of China’s sparkling skyscrapers and high speed trains, and the scavengers, mostly migrant workers, who struggle to support themselves with this bleakest of occupations -  garbage-picking. Wang includes observational visits with these scavengers who have made their homes and livings from these garbage heaps, wearing discarded clothing and bringing livestock to consume organic waste. The film illustrates the mentality and life cycle of consumption that accompanies China’s rise, juxtaposing degraded farmlands and rivers with rapid the urbanization in the nearby city. Wang, who began with the idea of photographing landfills for a project, was so shocked at what he discovered that he developed the idea into a full length documentary.  

*This is a first-come, first-serve event. No RSVPs necessary. 


  • Brenda Platt

    Co-Director, Institute for Local Self-Reliance
  • Scott Tong

    Sustainability Correspondent, Marketplace