Producer: S. Louisa Wei, Peng Xiaolian
Writer/Director: Peng Xiaolian, S. Louisa Wei
Editor: S. Louisa Wei, Dong Ran
Camera: S. Louisa Wei, Peng Xiaolian, Dong Ran, Jong Lin, Situ Zhixia
Art Direction: Max Willis
Animation: Max Willis, Zhang Shuyi, Karen McCann, Chen Lei, Siu-tan Fong
Composer: Robert Ellis-Geiger
Sound Design: Charles C. W. Chan
Package Design: Chen Lei
Production Manager: Wifried B. Lu
Editing Consultant: Robert C. Jones, Patrick Tam, Jimmy Choi, Situ Zhaodun
Running Time: 137 minutes
Screening Formats: BetaSP, DVD
World Distribution: Blue Queen Cultural Communication Ltd.
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This is the first feature documentary concerning Mao’s purge of writers and focuses on the 1955 Anti-Hu Feng Campaign, where set a precedent for larger scale and better known persecution of intellectuals in 1957 (Anti-Rightist Campaign). The film’s intriguing plot spans the period from 1929 to 2009 and offers an in-depth look at the tumultuous changes in recent Chinese history. The film’s first English version was made in 2007 and is 156 minutes long. A newly revised 139-minute version is currently available in both English and Chinese. At the request of a Japanese sinologist and NHK, a Japanese version, which runs 20 minutes longer than the 2009 version and includes interviews with four Japanese sinologists, was completed in 2012. It will be screened in Tokyo in December 2012.
While alive, Chairman Mao Zedong was looked upon as “the Red Sun” in China. Many regarded him as the “God” who saved the Chinese people from years of war and suffering, while remaining ignorant of that fact that his god-like position was achieved in part by destroying the autonomy of Chinese intellectuals through the implementation of a series of violent and tumultuous political campaigns. Storm under the Sun follows the persecution of Hu Feng, a renowned writer and literary theorist of the 1930s who founded the magazines July and Hope and nurtured a generation of talented poets and writers. Hu Feng was the first intellectual to be singled and directly condemned by Mao. He suffered several rounds of harsh criticisms from 1944 to 1955, followed by 24 years of imprisonment. Mao personally initiated the “Anti Hu Feng Counter-Revolutionary Group Campaign” in May 1955, which resulted in the imprisonment of 78 Chinese intellectuals, mostly poets and writers, and led to the incrimination of more than 2,100 people. This documentary is the first to revisit these events after half a century, inviting survivors of the “storm” to reveal the cruel truths that lie beneath China’s official history.