Hooligan Sparrow

Grand Jury Prize ~ World Cinema: Documentary
Sundance Film Festival
A whistleblowing documentary made with fearless guerrilla cunning ...


Hooligan Sparrow

The danger is palpable as filmmaker Nanfu Wang follows maverick activist Ye Haiyan (a.k.a Hooligan Sparrow) and her band of colleagues to southern China to protest the case of six elementary school girls who were sexually abused by their principal. Marked as enemies of the state, the activists are under constant government surveillance and face interrogation, harassment, and imprisonment. Sparrow, who gained notoriety with her advocacy work for sex workers’ rights, continues to champion girls’ and women’s rights and arms herself with the power and reach of social media.

Filmmaker Wang becomes a target along with Sparrow, yet she bravely and tenaciously keeps shooting, guerrilla-style, with secret recording devices and hidden-camera glasses, and in the process, she exposes a startling number of undercover security agents on the streets. Eventually, through smuggling footage out of the country, Wang is able tell the story of her journey with the extraordinary revolutionary Sparrow, her fellow activists, and their seemingly impossible battle for human rights.

LA Asian-Pacific Film Festival Grand Jury Prize
Dallas Film Festival Silver Heart Award
Sheffield Doc/Fest Special Jury Prize
International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights Youth Prize AND Jury Prize
Movies that Matter Golden Butterfly AND Human Rights Award
Nashville Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Badass Filmmaking
Ashland Independent Best Documentary
Greenwich Film Festival Best Documentary AND Best Social Impact Film
Human Rights Watch NY Nestor Almendros Award for Courage in Filmmaking
Northwest Fest Best International Feature
Not Rated
Documentary, Crime, Drama
Chinese, English
Nanfu Wang
Nominee, Grand Jury Prize ~ World Cinema: Documentary, Sundance Film Festival
Katie Walsh, The Playlist

Nanfu Wang’s “Hooligan Sparrow” is a film that documents just how dangerous it is to be a women’s rights activist in China, observing the life of Ye Haiyan, a.k.a. Sparrow, but it also reveals the danger and difficulty in making a film on this topic. Freedom to make the kind of art you want to make ...

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