In 1980 Shanghai had no skyscrapers. It now has at least 4,000 — more than twice as many as New York. ‘This is Shanghai’ explores the diversities and eccentricities of the metropolis that is Shanghai going beyond the famous skyline.
Photographer Rob Whitworth and urban identity expert JT Singh joined forces combining deep city exploration and pioneering filmmaking. ‘This is Shanghai’ is a roller coaster ride seamlessly weaving between the iconic, sparkling and mismatched buildings of the financial district travelling by boat and taxi touring Shanghai’s impressive infrastructure whilst glimpsing some of the lesser-known aspects of Shanghai life such as the lower stratum areas or the stunning graffiti of Moganshan road. And of course there is the opportunity to try some of the vast variety of street food and Shanghai’s most popular homegrown delicacy, the pan-fried pork dumplings, the shengjian bao.
Wherever you travel in Shanghai the cities skyline is always present. The looming silhouette of the almost constructed Shanghai Tower now dominates and perfectly encapsulates the new heights this city is yet to reach. Once completed, in 2014, it will be the tallest building in China and the second tallest in the world after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
To understand the city, the team carried out rigorous urban exploration. In the words of JT “we walked, walked and walked, the Jane Jacobs way”. Weibo, China’s main social media platform was used to ask local Shanghainese people to share ideas of different vantage points and what they thought were the over-riding characteristics of the city. Stealth and curiosity were required to find and gain access to rooftops and locations. It became addictive for the team discovering breath-taking vantage points of the city. There was always an adrenaline rush upon reaching the top of a different building to see the vast urban jungle of Shanghai.
Rob Whitworth (robwhitworth.co.uk/) is a creative time lapse photographer from the UK based in Asia. His previous videos, ‘Traffic in Frenetic HCMC’ and ‘Kuala Lumpur DAY-NIGHT’ have received international attention including being short listed for 7 film festivals, and have had received well over 2 million online views.
JT Singh (jtsingh.com/) has explored hundreds of emerging cities around the world and is a next generation thinker about the value and impact of 21st century cities. Having grown up in Toronto JT is now based in China. He explains:
“The over-riding reason we made this video was to creatively show the world visually how China is rising, in particular Chinese cities. Just as New York City exemplified the strengths and ambitions of emerging America in the 20th century, Shanghai, perhaps more than any old or emerging rival, will personify the power and dreams of rising Asia in the 21st century.”
Check out our upcoming feature-length documentary film: moses.movie
A short documentary about the taste of immigration in California. Directed by Fran Guijarro.
- Best Documentary. Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente de La Plata, Argentina
- Best Cinematography. New York Digital Short Film Festival
- Best Short Film. MalagaCrea Film Festival
- Best Short Film. IMAF (International Migration Film Festival), Milan, Italy
- Best Super Short Film. NYC Food Film Festival.
- Best Super Short Film. Chicago Food Film Festival.
- Silver Palm Award. Mexico International Film Festival
- Silver CLIO Award
- Special Jury Award. Nevada Film Festival
- Audience Award for Best Documentary. NorCal International Film Festival
- Award of Merit. Best Shorts Competition
- Award of Merit. The Indie Fest
- Special Jury Mention & Distribution Award. The Short Film of the Year contest
- Semi-Finalist at the 2011 Action/Cut Short Film Competition
- Special Mention. Jameson Notodofilmfest - Nominee for Best Editing. Kino Awards. University of Navarra (Spain)
- Official Selection. Short Film Corner. Festival de Cannes
- Official Selection. AFI Fest
- Official Selection. 43th Nashville Film Festival
- Official Selection. 36th Atlanta Film Festival
- Official Selection. Cinequest Film Festival
- Official Selection. Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara, Mexico
- Official Selection. Miami International Film Festival
- Official Selection. 44th Humboldt International Film Festival
- Official Selection. Manhattan Film Festival
- Official Selection. Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival in Montreal, Canada
- Official Selection. FILMETS Badalona International Film Festival
- Official Selection. 25th Wine Country International Film Festival
- Official Selection. Phoenix Christian Film Festival
- Official Selection. Festival de Cine Solidario de Guadalajara, Spain
- Official Selection. DOC Miami International Film Festival
- Official Selection. Chagrin Documentary Film Festival
- Official Selection. 18th CineSol Film Festival, Texas
- Official Selection. 12th Ojai Film Festival, California
- Official Selection. San Diego Latino Film Festival
- Official Selection. 9th International Student Film Festival Hollywood
- Official Selection. Jersey City Powerhouse Short Film Festival
- Official Selection. Silicon Valley Film Festival
- Official Selection. 20th St. Louis International Film Festival
- Official Selection. Indie Spirit Film Festival
- Official Selection. Festival Iberoamericano de Cortometrajes ABC
- Official Selection. Catalina Film Festival
- Official Selection. Muestra de Documental Antropológico y Social (Docant), Argentina
- Official Selection. Festival de Cortos en HD No es largo todo lo que reluce, Valladolid (Spain)
- Official Selection. Seattle Latino Film Festival
- Official Selection. Festival de Cine Migratorio, Santander (Spain)
- Official Selection. UNAFF (United Nations Association Film Festival), Stanford University
- Official Selection. NYC Food Film Festival
- Official Selection. Chicago Food Film Festival
- Official Selection. San Francisco Immigration Film Festival
- Official Selection. Feast for the Eyes Food Film Festival
- Official Selection. Cinameriche Film Festival- Festival Internazionale della Riviera Di Levante (Italy)
- Official Selection. Mostra DOC Gastronômica, Brazil
- Official Selection. Muestra de Videocreación. Festival de Cine de Málaga
- Official Selection. Food Justice Program. Disposable Film Festival (San Francisco)
- Official Selection. Sacramento Film Festival.
- Cortos de Yahoo.
Written & directed by Fran Guijarro (@franguijarro)
Produced by Fran Guijarro & Juli López
Cinematography by Juli López/ Edited by Carl Cordova
Music by Marc Bonet/ Sound Design by Craig Helmholz
Narration by Pepe González/Titles & Graphic Design by Daniel Pradilla