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 of Independent Film by Filmmaker Magazine in 2017. She is currently a Firelight Media Documentary Lab fellow. Her upcoming feature documentary UNTITLED PRC PROJECT is supported by organizations including SFFILM, Chicken & Egg, Cinereach, Sundance, Field of Vision and Film Independent. Her award-winning short COMMODITY CITY (2017) was shot in Yiwu, China and is an observational documentary about the world’s largest wholesale mall. It was shortlisted for a Cinema Eye Honor and has played at over 50 film festivals including Rotterdam, True/False and Sheffield. Recently she co-directed the short IT'S COMING! (2020) which is currently playing festivals and ROUTINE ISLAND (2019) which is included in The Eyeslicer Season 2. Her producer credits include Tania Cypriano’s BORN TO BE (NYFF 2019), Ian Bell’s 808: HOW WE RESPOND (Sheffield 2019), Nathan Truesdell’s THE WATER SLIDE (True/False 2018) and Johnny Ma’s OLD STONE (Berlinale 2016). She is a member of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective.