Yu Guangyi was born in 1961 in China's northeastern Heilongjiang Province. A childhood love of drawing and painting led him to the southern city of Hangzhou, where he attended the China Academy of Art. Upon graduation, he embarked on a successful career as a wood-block print artist. Many of his best-known works are simple, moving, black and white depictions of rural life in the Changbai mountains, where he was born and raised. In 2004, after an absence of nearly two decades, Yu Guangyi returned to these mountains and began a series of documentary films about local residents struggling to maintain their traditional way of life amidst the pressures of urbanization, environmental degradation, social change and outward migration. Thus far, he has completed two films, The Last Lumberjacks (2004) and Survival Song (2008) which received notable international acclamation, and is at work on two new projects, tentatively titled Bachelor Mountain and Shaman. Yu Guangyi divides his time between Datong city, Heilongjiang, and a cabin he built in the Changbai mountains.
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