High Tech / Low Life: Overcoming Internet Censorship


New York, January 9--High Tech, Low Life, an award-winning documentary by Stephen Maing about Chinese bloggers Zola and Tiger Temple, opens today at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village. " For Maing, the contrast between the bloggers' public and private personae is as important as the politics behind their reporting. The film was screened earlier this year at the Tribeca International Film Festival, where this interview took place. Maing lives in Brooklyn and studied film at Boston University. This is his first feature, for which he travelled to China; it was four years, on and off, in the making. "It's important to realize," says Maing, " that Zola and Tiger are not hardcore political dissidents but see themselves as citizen journalists working within the law," picking up the threads of stories not fully covered by the mainstream media. "What Zola and Tiger are doing," Maing says , "is highly performative. It's such an improvisational act and there's no road map for it.. They have unique ways of presenting ideas and of shaping their own public identities......Tiger lived through the Cultural Revolution and Zola is a product of the 80s. That generational contrast between Zola and Tiger Temple really excited me once it started coming to life.....Tiger comes up with a cute workaround censorship and the evolution of the firewall...Zola has specialized in circumventing these censorship barriers, known as "leaping the wall...." Filmed by Liza Béar lizajbear@gmail.com