When a City Rises


MICA Brown Falvey Hall Sat, Apr 30, 2022 6:15 PM
Film Info
Event Type:Feature
Runtime:103 min
Production Country:Hong Kong SAR China
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Iris Kwong, Ip Kar Man, Cathy Chu, Han Yan Yuen, Huang Yuk-kwok, Jenn Lee, Evie Cheung
Produced By:Han Yan Yuen, Sinead Kirwan,
Cinematographer:Yuling Chow, Amy Ip, Cathy Chu, Sharon Yeung, Han Yan Yuen
Editor:Huang Yuk-kwok, Jenn Lee
Sound Design:Claire Asenova


Hong Kong 2019 - The world has seen the iconic images of protestors covered in black, tossing back tear gas, waving black flags, demonstrating against the authoritarian superpower that is China to fight for a democratic future. It is easy to be caught up in the action, in the glorification of bravery and sacrifice. But away from the limelight, who are these hidden people concealed underneath their masks? What are the protestors really fighting for? What is at stake for them?

Narrated by Eve, a student, When a City Rises follows a teenage couple in love, a student leader, and a father, as they navigate the protest movement, each taking different kinds of action to strike back against the superpower overshadowing their lives. Using direct action, guerrilla tactics, technology, social media, memes and graffiti they try to challenge the status quo. This film captures three characters and a year of their struggle within the movement, in thrilling detail.

Each must confront their own fears and find out exactly how much they are willing to risk for change. Relationships break and form amidst tear gas and rubber bullets, and across the border, China’s People Liberation Army awaits. With a global pandemic driving protests inside and the new even more repressive National Security Law introduced, the stakes have never been higher.


Following the screening, Baltimore-based healer Makayla Gilliam-Price will lead a virtual audience Q&A with co-director, Han Yan Yuen. 

All Festival attendees must follow our COVID-19 health and safety protocols at ALL MdFF venues. These policies are subject to change based on local and regional metrics.

  • NEW in 2022: You must reserve your seats in advance for all film screenings and premium events at this year’s festival.
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