ASCENSION is an impressionistic portrait of China’s industrial supply chain that reveals the country’s growing class divide through staggering observations of labor, consumerism and wealth. The documentary portrays capitalism in China across the levels of its operation, from the crudest mine to the most rarefied forms of leisure. Accordingly, the film is structured in three parts, ascending through the levels of the capitalist structure: workers running factory production, the middle class training for and selling to aspirational consumers, and the elites reveling in a new level of hedonistic enjoyment. In traveling up the rungs of China’s social ladder, we see how each level supports and makes possible the next while recognizing the contemporary “Chinese Dream” remains an elusive fantasy for most.
Jessica Kingdon is a Chinese-American director/producer named one of “25 New Faces ofIndependent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine and selected for the 2020 DOC NYC “40 Under 40” list. Her first documentary feature, ASCENSION (2021), won awards for Best Documentary at the Tribeca Festival and Hamptons International Film Festival as well as Best Editing at DOC NYC. The film has received nominations from the Academy Awards, Spirit Awards, the Gotham and the International Documentary Association along with five Cinema Eye nominations and six Critic’s Choice nominations.
Presented by the Graduate Certificate in Documentary Media Studies
School of Media Studies
The New School