Scene from the film On the Rim of the Sky
Scene from the film On the Rim of the Sky
Scene from the film On the Rim of the Sky
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On the Rim of the Sky

  • Germany
  • China
Audio Tracks 

Gulu is an idyllic village perched precariously on the edge of a cliff in China’s Sichuan province. Isolated and without electricity or contact to the outside world until a track is built in 2004, it is heaven on earth to its inhabitants.
For over 26 years, substitute teacher Shen has happily presided over the village’s primary school – that is, until a young, idealistic volunteer teacher named Bao appears on the scene. Bao is full of utopian visions, Che Guevara-inspired revolutionary ideas and Don Quixote fantasies. The teachers clash almost immediately over proposed improvements to the town and funds earmarked to build a new school. They force parents and students to choose sides, all in the name of pride.
A “first contact” story about intergenerational misunderstanding and disrespect, On the Rim of the Sky is an epic take on the problems of outsider versus insider, youth versus experience and trust versus suspicion. This film documents the changes that take place in Gulu over a period of four years and describes the people’s spiritual needs and material requirements. The changes in Gulu village reflect the larger changes that are taking place in China as a whole.


  • Original Title
    On the Rim of the Sky
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
    Hongjie Xu
  • Cinematography
    Mincheol Wang
  • Editing
    Rainer Nigrelli, Xu Hongjie
  • Music
    Frank Schreiber
  • Sound
    Christoph Német
  • Runtime
    52 min (46-90 min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • Germany
    • China
  • Format
    • Colour
  • Distribution
  • Festivals
    • World Film Festival of Bangkok, Thailand, 2015
    • DOC NYC, USA, 2015
    • Cork Film Festival, Ireland, 2015
    • Anthropological Filmfestival in Jerusalem, Israel, 2015
    • Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, 2015
    • Hot Docs, Canada 2015
    • Sydney Film Festival, Australia 2015
    • DMZ International Documentary Film Festival, 2015
    • Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland 2014
  • Awards
    • Open City Documentary Festival, UK 2015 (International Emerging Filmmaker Award)
    • China Academy Awards of Documentary Film, China 2014 (Best Chinese Theme) is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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