DG - High Tech, Low Life

Read what critics and journalists have to say about the POV film that will be streaming for free online until August 21, 2013.

High Tech Low Life follows two of China’s first citizen-reporters as they document the underside of the country’s rapid economic development. A search for truth and fame inspires young vegetable seller “Zola” to report on censored news stories from the cities, while retired businessman “Tiger Temple” makes sense of the past by chronicling the struggles of rural villagers. Land grabs, pollution, rising poverty, local corruption and the growing willingness of ordinary people to speak out are grist for these two bloggers who navigate China’s evolving censorship regulations and challenge the boundaries of free speech. A co-production of ITVS and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM). A co-presentation with CAAM.

“Maing’s camera captures the busy, rich and revealing life around [the protagonists] with interested openness and visual intelligence—a consistent quality of the films presented by POV, which has been rocking my summer weekly.”
Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times

“A wonderful subject and sublime execution. . . . Maing’s narrative instincts are also superb. . . . As soon as we have asked the question, the film gives us a satisfactory answer. . . . This documentary needs to be seen, globally, by as many individuals as possible. .”
Nathan Southern, TV Guide

“Profiling two of China’s . . . citizen reporters, Stephen Maing’s High Tech, Low Life offers an inside look at an outsider vocation.”
Jeanette Catsoulis, The New York Times

“A delightful surprise. . . . Dynamic, highly entertaining.”
Ronnie Scheib, Variety

“Its poetry- stunning visuals, intimate encounters with the personal lives of two traveling bloggers—Zola and Tiger Temple—kept me intrigued. . . . China is in the process of reinventing itself. And that’s precisely what makes this film so fascinating.”
Luisa Beck, NPR “On the Media”

“High Tech, Low Life chronicles life on the edge. . . . This powerful film reveals a slice of China’s state-controlled life never before seen by Western audiences.”
Violet Blue, ZDNet

“A devastating portrait of life in an authoritarian society. What makes the documentary all the more moving is how it reveals that no matter how powerful the Chinese government may seem to be, there are always Chinese citizens willing to risk their lives to speak out for freedom.”
Govindini Murty, The Huffington Post

Visit High Tech Low Life‘s POV companion site to view a video interview with the director, download a discussion guide and other viewing resources, navigate the Great Firewall of China, and find out what’s happened to the bloggers since the cameras stopped rolling.

For updates on the 2013 season of POV, subscribe to POV’s documentary blog, like POV on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @povdocs.

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POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.