|Birth Day:||May 24, 1970|
|Birth Place:||Fenyang, China|
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He majored in Film Theory at the Beijing Film Academy and created a trilogy of films based in his home province of Shanxi.
Jia Zhangke was born in Fenyang, Shanxi, China. His interest in film began in the early 1990s, as an art student at the Shanxi University in Taiyuan. On a lark, Jia attended a screening of Chen Kaige's masterpiece, Yellow Earth. The film, according to Jia, was life changing, and convinced the young man that he wanted to be a director. Jia would eventually make it to China's prestigious Beijing Film Academy in 1993, as a film theory major, giving him access to both western and eastern classics, as well as an extensive film library.
While a student at the Beijing Film Academy, Jia would make three short films to hone his skills. The first, a ten-minute short documentary on tourists in Tiananmen Square entitled One Day in Beijing, was made in 1994 on self-raised funds. Though Jia has referred to his first directorial effort as inconsequential and "naive", he also described the short day and a half shoot as "excitement...difficult to express in words." But it was Jia's second directorial effort, the short film Xiao Shan Going Home (1995), that would bring him to the attention of the film world. It was a film that helped establish Jia's style and thematic interests and, in Jia's words, was a film that "truly marks the beginning of my career as a filmmaker." Xiao Shan would eventually screen abroad where it won a top prize at the 1997 Hong Kong Independent Short Film & Video Awards. More significantly, the film's success brought Jia in contact with cinematographer Yu Lik-wai and producer Li Kit Ming, two men who along with producer/editor Chow Keung would come to form Jia Zhangke's "core...creative team." With their support, Jia was able to begin work on Xiao Wu, which would become his first feature film. Before graduating, however, Jia would make one more short film, Du Du (1996), a film about a female college student faced with several life-changing decisions. The film, little seen and rarely available, was for Jia an exercise of experimentation and technique, as it was filmed without a script. For Jia, the film was an important learning experience, even if he was "not terribly proud" of the end result.
Jia capitalized on his success with Xiao Wu with a two internationally acclaimed independent features. The first, Platform, was partially funded in 1998 through the Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) of the Busan (Pusan) International Film Festival when Jia received the Hubert Bals Fund Award (HBF) for his project. (Ahn, Soo Jeong, The Pusan Film Festival, South Korean Cinema and Globalization, 2012, 104-105). Platform was a three-hour epic about a provincial dance and music troupe transitioning from the 1970s to the early 1990s. The film has been called the masterpiece of the entire sixth generation movement. Starring Wang Hongwei, Jia's classmate and star of Xiao Shan Going Home and Xiao Wu, Platform was also the first of Jia's films to star actress Zhao Tao, a former dance teacher. Zhao would go on to serve as Jia's muse as the lead female role in Unknown Pleasures, The World, and Still Life, as well as acting in 24 City and the short film Cry Me a River (both in 2008).
In 2006, Jia returned to his experimentation with digital film with his film Still Life. The film would see Jia's status both at home and abroad raised when it won the coveted Golden Lion in the 2006 Venice Film Festival. The film, a diptych film about two people searching for their spouses in the backdrop of the Three Gorges Dam, was accompanied by the companion documentary Dong, about artist Liu Xiaodong.
The 2000s have seen Jia at a prolific period of his career. Following the success of Still Life, Jia was reported to be working on a gangster film, The Age of Tattoo ("Ciqing shidai"). Originally planned to be released in 2007, production on The Age of Tattoo was delayed after lead Jay Chou pulled out of the project, with Jia moving on to other films. These included a second documentary, Useless, about China's clothing manufacturing business, which garnered the director the Orizzonti Doc Prize at Venice in 2008, and 24 City, an ambitious work that conveys the historic changes that have swept across China in the last half-century through the lens of a single factory and the people connected to it by labor and blood. At the London Film Festival, 24 City was accompanied by another Jia short film, Cry Me a River, a romance starring Summer Palace actors, Hao Lei and Guo Xiaodong, and Jia regulars Zhao Tao and Wang Hongwei.
I Wish I Knew is a documentary exploring the changing face of Shanghai. I Wish I Knew debuted in the Un certain regard competition in the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.
During the press conference of 18 April 2013, Jia's film Tian Zhu Ding (A Touch of Sin) was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. He won the award for Best Screenplay. In April 2014, he was announced as a member of the main competition jury at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
His 2015 film Mountains May Depart was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
In October 2017, Jia announced the establishment of the Pingyao International Film Festival (PYIFF) in Shanxi.
Currently, Jia Zhangke is 51 years, 2 months and 12 days old. Jia Zhangke will celebrate 52nd birthday on a Tuesday 24th of May 2022.
Find out about Jia Zhangke birthday activities in timeline view here.