"Kingdon confidently allows the images to tell a fascinating, universal story of inequality and class division, revealing a country that feels more like a capitalist society than anyone’s idea of a Communist state." - Allan Hunter, Screen Daily

"In humanizing Chinese people and bringing light to the most pressing issues facing Chinese society, Kingdon has also drawn a connection between the American experience and the Chinese one." - Noah Schwartz, Film Threat

Like Godfrey Reggio's KOYAANISQATSI and Ron Fricke's BARAKA, ASCENSION is an evocative, impressionistic portrait of a place, with filmmaker Jessica Kingdon fixing her lens on the industrial supply chain of China, revealing the country's stark divisions of class and lifestyle. Through staggering observations of labor, consumerism and wealth, ASCENSION explores capitalism in China - from the factory floor to poolside selfies. The film is cleverly and naturally structured in three parts, ascending through the levels of capitalist structures: laborers - making everything from blue jeans to sex dolls; hopeful middle class strivers - taking courses on self improvement and endeavoring to make it big on social media; and the elite - dining, lounging and celebrating their success. ASCENSION is a methodical and hypnotic visual essay, and a cinematic poem that illustrates how each level of China's social ladder supports and makes possible the next, with the "Chinese Dream" always out of reach for most. (RF)

Festivals, Awards & Nominations
Winner - Best Documentary Feature; Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award, Tribeca Film Festival
Nominee - Best International Documentary Film, Zurich Film Festival
Nominee - Best International Film, DocAviv Film Festival

Updated COVID-19 Protocols

Dear Friends,

We care deeply about the well-being and safety of our audiences and staff. With the recent rise of COVID-19 cases, we are updating our health and safety procedures to require proof of full vaccination* or a negative result on a COVID PCR test for all screenings and events at the Film Center. 

We know it can be hard to enjoy a movie without knowing the status of the folks sitting close to you.  Our hope is that these new procedures will allow you to relax and view our films in the way they’re meant to be seen--with your undivided attention to the screen.

Beginning on Friday, September 10, you will need a valid photo ID and one of the following items to gain entry to the Film Center:

  • Physical vaccination card
  • A legible photo, copy, or scan of your card; an image on your phone will be acceptable provided that it is legible 
  • Proof of a negative result on a COVID PCR test conducted within 72 hours of the film or event start time

*Full vaccination means any vaccine for COVID-19 which has received full or emergency use approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or World Health Organization (WHO). Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series or a single dose from a one-dose series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use by the FDA or WHO.

You will need to show proof of vaccination status or a negative PCR test result as you enter the theater. 

Children under 12 will not be permitted in the theater, since they are not yet eligible to receive a vaccine. 

In addition, the Film Center will continue to implement the following safety protocols:

  • In accordance with the Governor's recent Executive Order, all patrons and staff will be required to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth at all times while in the theater
  • Staggered showtimes and ample time between shows to mitigate crowds
  • Ticket pre-orders for films encouraged to reduce lines and guarantee seats
  • Hand sanitizer and disposable face masks available for patrons
  • Only 80% of our tickets will be available for sale
  • No eating or drinking will be permitted in the theater; no concessions will be sold

The Film Center reserves the right to require patrons who do not follow these procedures to leave the theater immediately.

As always, if you are feeling unwell for any reason, please stay home and stream films instead of joining us at the theater. We are happy to refund or exchange your ticket for another time.  In addition, please understand that while these updated procedures are intended to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19, there is nonetheless inherent risk to exposure in any indoor space where others are present.  Those entering the theater do so at their own risk to such exposure.  

If you have already purchased a ticket for a screening on Friday, September 10 (or beyond) but are unable to comply with these new procedures, please contact us at filmcenter@saic.edu for a refund. 

We appreciate your cooperation and support as we continue to navigate the ever-changing COVID landscape.

See you at the movies!

--Your Friends at the Film Center