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[liberationtech] Lessons in Dissent: Film Screening at Stanford FSI | CDDRL

Yosem Companys companys at
Sun Feb 15 18:22:24 PST 2015

Film Screening: Lessons in Dissent

Speaker: Matthew Torne
Date and Time: February 17, 2015 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Availability: Open to the public. No RSVP required.
Location: William R Hewlett Teaching Center, Room 201, 370 Serra Mall

Watch the Trailer:


Filmed over 18 months, Lessons in Dissent is a kaleidoscopic, visceral
portrait of a new generation of Hong Kong democracy activists.

School boy JOSHUA WONG dedicates himself to stopping the introduction
of National Education. His campaign begins to snowball when an
interview goes viral on YouTube, with the new school year fast
approaching, a showdown with the government seems inevitable.
Microphone in hand, and still in his school uniform, he leads 120,000
protesters into battle.

Meanwhile, former classmate Ma Jai fights against political oppression
on the streets and in the courts. Having dropped out of school and
dedicated himself to the social movement, he endures the persecution
suffered by those not lucky enough to be protected by the media’s

Lessons in Dissent catapults the viewer on to the streets of Hong Kong
and into the heart of the action: confronting the viewer with Hong
Kong’s oppressive heat, stifling humidity and air thick with dissent.

Filmmaker Bio

Matthew Torne, born 1980, was educated at the University of Kent and
Oxford University, UK, and studied film production at the Hong Kong
Film Academy. In 2002 Matthew Torne went to Beijing to teach English
at China University of Political Science and Law.

When SARS broke out in 2003, in a matter of days the university
administration went from denying there was a problem to closing the
university and strongly recommending he left China. Panic gripped
Beijing when rumours began circulating that rather than close the
airports the government would ban the sale of airline tickets. Using
all the money he had, he bought a ticket out of Beijing to go to Hong
Kong, starting a relationship with all things Hong Kong.

Fascinated by the July 1st 2003 protest he began to read voraciously
on Article 23 and Hong Kong’s political system. Returning to the UK
two years later to work in the media industry his love of all things
Hong Kong never diminished; he took Cantonese evening classes and he
continued to read up on Hong Kong’s history and political development,
eventually culminating in a Masters degree in Modern Chinese studies
at Oxford University, for which he wrote his dissertation on Hong
Kong’s post-1997 political development and the possible options for
democratic reform.

Wanting to reach a much wider audience than the readership of academic
papers and realising that 2012 would be a unique year in Hong Kong,
with both the Chief Executive and Legislative Council elections taking
place, in 2011 he came to Hong Kong to begin researching a possible
documentary. After meeting Ma Jai and Joshua, he knew he had two
interesting characters and all he could do was hope that 2012 would be
an eventful year.

He embarked on filming Lessons in Dissent without funding in place,
after all historical events do not wait for funding partners, the film
was funded bit by bit; often with only just enough to cover the up
coming expenses as funders came on board. Money spent on accommodation
and subsistence was money that could not be spent on the film, thus
Matthew spent much of 2012 living in a sub-divided flat in Sham Shui
Po and eating congee. Luckily he developed a healthy taste for ngau
yuk cheuk (beef congee).

*This event is co-sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies,
Stanford Global Studies Division, and the Taiwan Democracy Program at

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