The Chinese Mayor

The Chinese Mayor (Chinese: 中国市长), original title Datong (大同), is a 2015 documentary[1] that follows Datong mayor Geng Yanbo's efforts to transform one of the China's most polluted cities into a cultural destination, in large part by displacing 500,000 residents (about 200,000 homes demolished) to reconstruct the 14th century Ming Dynasty walls of the Old City.

The Chinese Mayor
Directed byZhou Hao
Written byZhou Hao, Zhao Qi
Produced byZhao Qi
StarringGeng Yanbo
CinematographyZhou Hao, Zhang Tianhui
Edited byYu Xiaochuan, Tom Lin
Release date
  • January 28, 2015 (2015-01-28) (Sundance)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryPeople's Republic of China
LanguagesChinese (Mandarin), with English subtitles


The film's American premiere occurred at the Sundance Festival,[2] where it was awarded a "Special Jury Award for Unparalleled Access" [3]


Date of ceremony Award Category Recipient(s) Result
2015 Sundance Film Festival[4] Special Jury Prize – Documentary Zhou Hao Won
Grand Jury Prize – Documentary Zhou Hao Nominated
2015 Asia Pacific Screen Awards[5] Best Documentary Feature Film Zhao Qi Won
2015 Golden Horse Film Festival[6] Best Documentary Won
2015 Little Rock Film Festival[7] Jury Prize – Cinematic Non-fiction Zhou Hao Nominated
2015 RiverRun International Film Festival[8] Best Documentary Feature Zhou Hao Won


The film received favorable reviews,[9][10] but as of the summer of 2015 the film was still seeking an American distribution partner. In the US, the film can be rented on YouTube. On 10 February 2019, BBC World News televised the documentary.[11]


  1. ^ "The Chinese Mayor". IMDb. 26 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Sundance Institute The Chinese Mayor". Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Sundance Institute Awards". Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Sundance Film Festival (2015)". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-08-08.
  5. ^ "Asia Pacific Screen Awards (2015)". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-08-08.
  6. ^ "Golden Horse Film Festival (2015)". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-08-08.
  7. ^ "Little Rock Film Festival (2015)". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-08-08.
  8. ^ "RiverRun International Film Festival (2015)". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-08-08.
  9. ^ "The Chinese Mayor' ('Datong'): Sundance Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 5 February 2015. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Sundance Film Review: 'The Chinese Mayor'". 31 January 2015. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  11. ^ "BBC Four - Storyville, Bulldozers, Paving Stones and Power: The Chinese Mayor".