Leftover Women
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Leftover Women

  • BY Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia | IN Women & Girls
    Premiered February 10, 2020

About the Film

Leftover Women follows three successful Chinese women -- Qiu Hua Mei, a 34-year-old lawyer; Xu Min, 28, who works in public radio; and Gai Qi, 36, an assistant college professor in Beijing -- who, despite thriving careers, are still labeled "leftover women," or sheng nu, a derogatory term used in China to describe educated, professional women in their mid-20s and '30s who are not married.  MORE

With 30 million more men than women in China, a severe demographic imbalance resulting from the One-Child Policy, social stability is under threat. As single women search for “Mr. Right,” they struggle to stay true to their personal and professional ambitions, while dealing with pressure from their families, friends, and a government that launched a state-sponsored campaign to stigmatize unwed women. Though methods may differ, societal pressure for women to marry exists in every culture. From awkward singles mixers to marriage markets for parents, as well as dealing with differing views of marriage and relationships within families and from potential partners, the struggle for these women to find true love and true happiness seems more elusive than ever.

The Filmmakers

Shosh Shlam's Last Journey into Silence (2003) won Best Documentary at the Lublin Film Festival. Her next film, Be Fruitful and Multiply (2005), broadcast on Channel 2 in Israel, ZDF and other European TV channels. Good Garbage (2008) won Best Documentary at the Shanghai Film Festival in China, FICA Film Festival in Brazil, while Web Junkie won Best Documentary Honorable Mention at the Jerusalem Film Festival and Best Documentary in TRT Turkey. It premiered at Sundance Film Festival (2014) and was theatrically released in NY, LA, and Toronto, while airing on BBC, ARTE, PBS and on many other networks. Shosh holds an MA in Comparative Literature from Bar Ilan University. She also graduated from the Theatre Department at Tel Aviv University, and studied at New York’s School of Visual Arts.

Hilla Medalia is a Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and producer who has also received three Emmy® nominations. Her projects have garnered critical acclaim and screened internationally in theaters and on television including HBO, MTV, BBC and ARTE. Her range of titles include To Die in Jerusalem (2007; HBO), After the Storm (2009; MTV), Numbered (2012; ARTE), Dancing in Jaffa (2013; Tribeca, IFC Sundance selects), Web Junkie (2014; Sundance Film Festival, POV, BBC), The Go-Go Boys (2014; Cannes Film Festival), Censored Voices (2015; Sundance Film Festival and Berlinale), Muhi - Generally Temporary (2017; San Francisco FIlm Festival, Hot Docs), and The Oslo Diaries (2018; Sundance, HBO). Hilla is a board member of The Israeli Director's Guild and a member of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. Hilla holds an M.A. from Southern Illinois University. LESS

Film Credits

Directed By
Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia

Produced by 
Hilla Medalia and Shosh Shlam

Executive Producers
Vesna Cudic
Mati Kochavi
Maya Kochavi
Adi Kochavi
Yona Wiesenthal
Guy Lavie

Edited by
Joelle Alexis

Original Score
Ran Bagno

Directors of Photography
Shen Mi
Fan Jian

Sound Recordist
Zhang Nan

Sound Design and Mix
Rotem Dror

Color Grading
Aharon Peer

Associate Producer China 
Ma Shanshan

Associate Producers
Ronny Merdinger
Mariel Ostrower

Local Producers 
Jialing Zhang
Cindy Zeng Xin

Featuring (in order of appearance)
Qiu HauMei
Xu Min
Gai Qi
Ai Lu-Ming
Hailan X. X. Guo, PhD
Han Cai-Wen
Dr. Jin Guihua
Li Wudai
Qiu Guirong
Qiu Jingzeng
Qiu Xiufang
Xu Leiting

Additional Cinematography
Ren Jie
Sun Shaoguang
Wong Kei Cheong
Jia Li

Additional Sound
Chen Yaming
Li Zhengyang
Qian Guangzheng

Strassburg Crew
Gregory Rodriguez
Jérémie Vernerey

Wu Meifen

Development Reel
Enat Sidi
Michael Mevorach

Additional Editing
Bracha Zisman-Cohen
Miri Laufer

Ye Mimi
Suzy De Lowe

Additional Translation
Jia-Jen Lin
Jia-Ling Hsu

Online Studios
RGB Post Production TLV

Technical Support
Joshua Peer

Graphic Design and After Effects
Eran Muskatel

Dialogues Editor
Idan Rabed

Daniel Hofmann - Violin
Yaakov Hoter - Guitars

Post Producer
Leeya Mor

Geula Bonfil
Hanan Grinfeld

Shmuel Shtainmetz

Yoni Abadi
Tony Greenman

World Sales

Special Thanks
Dudi Abadi
Zhao Chunmei
CoPro - Documentary and Animation Marketing Foundation
Dok Leipzig Co-Pro Market
Great Leap Brewing
Guangzhou Shuter Home
Hailan Family Well-Being
Shang Hao
Leta Hong Fincher
Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum
I Love Pretty
Independent Filmmaker Project
Jürgen Kleinig
Roseann Lake
Erez Laufer
Tina Leeb
Li Maizi
Ora and Abraham Medalia
Dr. Orna Naftali
Nail Wish Salon Studios
Ni Cai Salon
OASIS International Hospital
PLA Army General Hospital
Play Lounge
Prof. Tao Ran
Dagan Shani
Xu Qing
Shi Shan Restaurant Beijing
Hemi Shlam
Shui Ping Ti Yu
Tang Guo Guo Elite Club
Voice of Feminism
Han Yi
Li Yinhe
Feng Yuan

Commissioning Editor
Sabine Bubeck-Paaz

For yesDocu
Chief Content Officer
Koby Gal Raday
Managing Director, yes Studios
Danna Stern
Commissioning Editor
Adi Tal
Docu Producer
Liz Shrem
PR Israel
Shlomi Bidani
Head of productions- yes
Ofir Rabinovich

Commissioning Editor
Axel Arno

For DR
Commissioning Editor
Anders Bruus

Commissioning Editor
Nathalie Windhorst

Commissioning Editors
Carina Bordewich and Fredrik Farden

Commissioning Editor
Erkko Lyytinen

Production Support Provided by
The New Fund for Cinema and TV (Israel)

Funding Provided by
K’s Galleries
Fork Films
European Women’s Audiovisual Network

Original Series Funding Provided by
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Wyncote Foundation
The National Endowment for the Arts

Leftover Women is a presentation of Medalia Productions and Shlam Productions in association with yesDocu, ZDF / ARTE, SVT, DR, VPRO, NRK and YLE.

This program was produced by Medalia Productions and Shlam Productions which are solely responsible for its content.

@ 2019 Medalia Productions and Shlam Productions. All rights reserved.

What do you relate to about the stories of these single women in China? Are there ways that Western society puts pressure on unmarried women that are similar to China?


    Documentary Feature Award & Jury Award
    Best Director Award
    Best Documentary Feature (Nominee)
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What do you relate to about the stories of these single women in China? Are there ways that Western society puts pressure on unmarried women that are similar to China?