Smog Town


* IDFA First Appearance


We would like to award the Green Dox Prize to Smog Town, by Meng Han. Taking a difficult topic at hand, the bureaucracy of environmental protection in China; Han manages to create a complex and multi-perspective portrait of the various actors and stakes involved: state employees, small and large business and its impacts on individuals and family relations. Her film shows the shortsightedness of the government and its structures, failing to protect the most vulnerable, even while attempting positive change. Han presents individual and systemic dilemmas without ever undermining the intelligence of the viewers. In a time of reckoning with the ecological imbalance of the world and the failures and limitations of governmental leadership, Smog Town offers a thoughtful view onto one city’s institutional negotiations and power relations.

* The Silver Goal - International Competition
   - Millenium Documentary Film Festival
Jury's note :
"This well-documented, constructed and edited film is awarded the Sustainable development Award, for illustrating in depth how complicated, frustrating but also urgent and necessary is to fight against climate change and unhealthy quality of life in an urbanizing world.
The film "says" more than it shows, and induces thoughts on the resistance to changes, on our individual responsibility, our common future and on our planet sustainability. It has therefore been awarded the Sustainable Development Prize. »

Smog Town

Category |Current Affairs, Ecology, Environment, Health, Human Interest, Politics, Pollution, Social Issues
Year | 2019
Country | China, South Korea, Netherlands
Running time | 89’&52’
Format | HD
Production | DuGood Productions, SonaFilm, MF Production
Director | Meng Han

Langfang, about 40 kilometers from Beijing, is one of the most air-polluted cities in China. But at the local environmental protection bureau, deputy chief Li and his assistant Hu are working hard to change this. There’s intense pressure from the leadership in Beijing, and far-reaching measures are needed to combat the fog laced with smoke and exhaust fumes that regularly blankets the city. The steel mill has to close down, teams of inspectors visit environmental offenders, and spray trucks attempt to curb the smog.

This observational bureaucratic drama highlights a situation that parallels the global environmental crisis: the urgency to tackle the problem is obvious, but who will pick up the tab? The Chinese government’s strict environmental policy, which includes imposing sanctions on the mayors who are responsible, puts the employees of the environmental protection bureau in a difficult position.

How do you navigate between the divergent interests of government, industry and employees affected by the policy?