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Documentary screening + Photo Exhibit + Panel Discussion

  • UBC Asian Centre 1871 West Mall Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z2 Canada (map)

Check out photos from our March 9th event!

Event Timeline

6pm  |  Registration & Photo Exhibit

Come mingle with students and individuals from all corners of the community interested in this same topic. A photo exhibit showcasing works of photographers such as Jesse Ding (小野杰西)will tell you a visual story of the lives of left-behind children through their unique lenses.

Refreshments will be provided during this part of this event.

6:30 – 8:30 pm |  Screening & Panel Discussion

Learn more about left-behind children by watching documentaries by two award-winning filmmaker and journalist, When I Grow Up by Jiang Nengjie (蒋能杰), and Generation Left Behind by Matthew Carney

Participate in a discussion and Q&A on the social impact of this issue and how the rest of the world can help with experts from Asia studies, international relations, psychology, and child development, etc. 

Documentary 1: When I Grow Up (《打工梦》)

Director: Jiang Nengjie, Running Time: 4′, Year: 2012
Language: Chinese                  Subtitle: Chinese and English

When I Grow Up, a short but moving film by Jiang Nengjie, focuses on ‘left behind children’ in a remote village in Hunan Province, whose parents have headed to the cities in search of work, leaving them to be raised by grandparents. The short is a follow-up companion piece to his acclaimed 2009 micro-film Road, and sees him returning to Hunan, where he was born himself, to check on the progress of the children. Although they have grown up in the years since, their classroom is still shabby, and their dreams of love still unfulfilled.

The film screened in competition at the 2012 Guangzhou International Documentary Festival in China.

About Jiang Nengjie (蒋能杰)


Jiang Nengjie was born in Hunan in 1985, and graduated from university in 2008. In 2009 he established Mian Hua Sha Film Studio and has since worked as an independent documentary film maker, producer and editor. Several of his films, including Groom in High Mountain and Road have been shortlisted at a variety of competitions and festivals in China.

Follow Jiang on WeChat (499088756) or via Film Workshop of Mian Hua Sha (棉花沙影像工作室)'s Douban site.

Source: Chinese Visual Festival

Documentary 2: Generation Left Behind

Reporter: Matthew Carney, Running Time: 28′08", Year: 2016
Language: English and Chinese                  Subtitle: English

About Matthew Carney

Matthew Carney is based in Beijing, China. He has 26 years experience as a reporter and producer in all forms of journalism and has reported from all the corners of the world. Carney has won 4 Walkley awards and been a finalist 14 times. He has also won a Logie Award and a host of international awards.

Over his career he has reported from the most dangerous and difficult locations including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, West Bank and Gaza, Libya, East Timor, West Papua, North Korea, Sierra Leone, Burma, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Source: Foreign Correspondent

Photo Exhibit

Fan Li (李泛)

Fan Li is one of China's most prominent photographers.  Winner of 2015's Sony World Photography Awards, his series, Left-behind Children in Western China, was also shortlisted in 2016's same Award.

Learn more about Fan Li and his work here.

Jesse Ding (小野杰西)

Jesse, originally named Ding Guoliang, is a photographer and fashion designer. He started studying fine arts as a child and founded his own photography studio after graduating from university. Jesse came to fame thanks to a “high-fashion” photography series featuring his 85-year-old grandfather which became viral.

Follow Jesse on Instagram (xyjee), Facebook (, WeChat (XYJE-1).

Nengjie Jiang (蒋能杰)

See above for bio.


Donna Seto

Donna Seto is an instructor in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia. Her research explores the complexity of intersectional violence during armed conflict and how the repercussions of sexual violence impact subsequent generations. Her book No Place for a War Baby: The Global Politics of Children Born of Wartime Sexual Violence (Routledge, 2013) engages in the subfields of global politics while examining a range of international conflicts, children’s rights literature, and gender theory. She has published in the areas of humanitarian organizations, visual images of war-affected children, and refugee policy. Donna holds a doctorate in Politics and International Relations from the Australian National University, MA Political Science from York University, and BA Hons Political Science from Simon Fraser University. Prior to returning to Vancouver, she taught in the School of Politics and International Relations at the Australian National University. Donna is currently working on her first creative fiction piece on war-affected children. 

Yushu Zhu

Yushu-Profile pic.jpg

Yushu is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow for the next two years with Professor Tim Cheek as supervisor/mentor. Zhu’s research is on neighbourhood governance and community participation in Chinese urban communities in a comparative perspective. The study will be situated in Guangzhou, China, and Vancouver, Canada. Zhu completed her Ph. D. in Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Marlyn Chisholm

Marlyn is the Secretary of the Board of Directors for Half the Sky Foundation Canada, the Canadian arm of OneSky. As a mother of an adopted Chinese daughter and someone who has travelled to China several times, she is passionate about child and family welfare in that country. Marlyn is also involved in other family and children-focused charities in such as MomtoMom, which provides mentoring and support to impoverished families in Vancouver.

Marlyn is also an economist and principal of Chisholm Consulting, with 30 years of experience working for public and private sector clients throughout BC.  She has successfully served as lead consultant and/or project manager on over 100 economic, social and market analyses in a variety of industries including transportation, forestry, tourism, hydro-electric energy, and civil projects. She has also studied Mandarin for years, and can assure you that it is almost impossible to learn it as an adult, but she keeps trying!