Johnny Ma's Old Stone Opens at IFC

October 27, 2016

Film alumnus Johnny Ma’s ‘14 new feature Old Stone will premiere at the IFC Center on November 30, 2016, followed by a national rollout campaign. The film has played at festivals around the world, including the 2016 Berlin Film Festival and the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, where it took home the prize for Best Canadian First Feature Film.

The film stars Chen Gang, Nai An (Suzhou River, When Night Falls), and Wang Hongwei (Platform, Unknown Pleasures, Still Life), and tells the story of taxi driver Lao Shi (Chen) whose drunken passenger causes him to swerve and hit a motorcyclist. When no police or ambulance arrive to help the injured man, Lao drives the victim to the hospital, checks him in and finds himself liable for the man’s medical bills. The repercussions of his selfless act expose a society rife with bone-chilling callousness and bureaucratic indifference. On the verge of losing his taxi, his job and his family, Lao Shi resorts to desperate measures in order to survive. Both a gritty social-realist drama and a blood-drenched noir, Old Stone exposes a society where life is cheap, and compassion is ruinously expensive.

Writer-director Ma was born in Shanghai, China, and immigrated to Toronto at the age of ten. After a career in mergers and acquisitions in business and fashion, he turned to documentary filmmaking in 2008. A graduate of the School of the Arts MFA Film Program and a recent alumnus of the 2014 Sundance Institute Screenwriting/Directing Lab, Ma's short films have screened at TIFF, the Aspen Shortsfest and other international festivals, garnering him a DGA Student Award and a nomination for Best Live Action Short Drama at the 2014 Genie Awards. He is currently developing his second feature project, also set in China.