A True Story


Film Credits

Director and Editor      

Song Jichang


Li Xiao


Bill Rogers

Television Adaptation

Ayal Nitzan

Screen Writers

Clarissa Dong

Ayal Nitzan

Bill Rogers

Post-Production Director

Ayal Nitzan

Non-Linear Editor

Luis Aldana

Located in a mountainous region in northwest Hunan Province (map), the town of Dayong could be described as remote and "economically backward."

There is a swift river in the mountainous area of Hunan Province in the central part of China, the Mao Yan River. The Boatmen portrays the conflict of generations, as the father plies his trade of transporting sand along this remote river on his pole driven boat.

The son sees no future in continuing his father's occupation and dreams of going
to the big city, to make money, and experience an exciting life.

This film won the Best Short Documentary Film Award at the 1993 International Television and Film Festival in Sichuan, China.

Boatman on the Mao Yan River is about the breakdown of the centuries-old tradition in filial piety
(respect for the elderly, and support of their old age).

*Air rights purchased by Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) 2000-2002.

(TRT: 27 minutes, English subtitles, 1998)

Executive Producers

John David Rees,Clarissa Dong

Shanghai International

Film Exchange

Los Angeles



Shanghai Television Station


Special Thanks

Amy C. Munthe-kaas and
the late Harold Munthe-kaas

Shanghai International Film Exchange/Boatman on the Mao Yan River 1998.

All Rights Reserved. Orignal footage produced by the Shanghai Television Station.


Coming Soon

Dayong lies near the origin of the Liushi River, the largest river in Hunan Province.The upper reaches of the Luishi is a 50 kilometer stretch known as the Mao Yan River, characterized by dangerous rapids and reefs. 

Jin Zhenju (Old Jin), 50, was born along the Mao Yan River to a poor family of Tujia minority. 

At three years old, his father passed away and his mother remarried. When he was 17, Old Jin began to make his own way, first by cutting timber from the surrounding mountains and selling bundles of the wood up and down the river. Four years later, a highway was built, enabling timber to be transported by trucks. From then on, Old Jin had to find other means of making a living.  He went into fishing and firewood-collecting. In recent years, tourism has grown in the town of Dayong, causing an increase in demand for construction materials. This led Old Jin to build a pole-driven wooden boat for him and his son to transport people and materials up and down river.

On July 23, 1993, severe floods struck the region around Dayong. Within hours, tens of thousands of people were left homeless. The central government mobilized the People's Liberation Army to go into the disaster area to aid the people—followed closely by teams of reporters and television crews. This is how the story of Old Jin, and his only son, Young Jin, living in the remote mountains of northweest Hunan Province, was captured on film.